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How to re-handle an Axe

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Oregonhunter5, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    So I have grandpas old axe. It's not ancient, but maybe 30-40 years old. The handle got weak so I cut it off. Let me say this. Getting the wood and wedges out of the hole SUCKED. Took about an hour of work.
    So I've heard placing the new handle in the head, and let sit in water, or linseed oil. But I get confused there. Does the whole axe need to submerged to be able to treat the all of the wood?
    In time, I'd like that Stihl Axe. It's wrapped with metal below the head. That way, you don't hammer that area. Like I do!
    Thoughts?
     
  2. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Just the head in a bucket of water. Linseed oil is a good treatment for handle.
     
  3. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    So the head in the water, so it expands and I drive the wedges in easier?
     
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  4. oli700

    oli700 Rogue Valley Well-Known Member

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    stand by , no need for water to properly hang an axe. This video is lengthy because it goes through most hand tools, even some on sharpening cross cut saws.
    But if you like, use or work with hand tool on a regular basis then this video is chalk full of a fast disappearing art.

     
  5. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    Thanks.
    Let me ask this.
    You see axes out there, that have a long handle, but a tomahawk look to the head. Doesn't seem like it would have the weight to split wood.
    I was planning on getting a wood splitter. I've used those a bit and they are nice. But slow. And I'm still young and can handle the work.
     
  6. oli700

    oli700 Rogue Valley Well-Known Member

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    hard to say, there are a great many axes specific for many jobs.
    Nuances like a double bit head traditionally is sharpened at a steep tough angle on one blade or "bit" to be the all purpose side for chopping at brush, grubbing and the other bit is sharpened at a real slight razor sharp edge to be used on clean bole wood only that has little chance to roll the edge to a bur .
    Some people think the got an axe with a bowed handle and change it when a lot of the time if it has age to it, it was built with the bow in the handle to hue beams, the bow is so you can get a nice close flat cut without the handle being in the way and less of a chance to rake your knuckles when you choke up on the handle.
     
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  7. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    You are smart with this stuff. You a logger?
     
  8. billcoe

    billcoe PDX Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Water is your enemy for wood. It will expand it, and when it drys it will be loose. You don't say what was wrong to start with, but what happens to axes if people cut some wood, put them head down in the dewy grass and walk off to carry and stack the wood etc. The wood in the axe head gets wet, expands, then contracts and the head is loose. Some folks will dive a wedge or spike into it (or lord forbid a nail) to make it tight. Sometimes that works, for a while. What you want to do it just put a some drops of Chair Lok on it. Wiggle the head and get the Lok in as many places under the axe head as possible, some drops on top, some from underneath. That's all. Tightens the wood up permanently and will also keep it drier next time your kid borrows it and leaves it laying in the rain.

    B2389_zoom.jpg

    Cheap old boiled linseed oil is also great stuff to keep wood conditioned and lasting for years as said. It needs to be reapplied periodically. But it won't, by itself, tighten a loose head up like Chair Lok.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
    MikeE and BoonDocks36 like this.
  9. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    Couple of drops where?
     
  10. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    My handle was toast, so I'm replacing it.
     
  11. oli700

    oli700 Rogue Valley Well-Known Member

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    wildland firefighter 25 years
     
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  12. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    NO WATER......You'll dry rot the handle right off it. And if you want to split rounds get yourself a 6#-8# maul, with a fiberglass handle preferably. I use ann 8 lber. If the rounds are large diameter then get a splitting wedge and use the back of the maul for the first split on a large round.

    The hole through the ax head is tapered. The new handle is inserted from the small side. You may need to do some trimming with a grinder to get the handle to go all the way into the hole, it should be tight. After the handle has been fully inserted/pounded in the ax head, [you'll most likely have some shaving of the wood on the under side of the ax head], pound the wedges into the groove in the top of the handle. That will spread the end of the handle out to fill the larger end of the hole in the ax head. I did my maul once the other way around...DUH! It didn't last long to say the least. The best way I found to get the right sized new handle was to take the head to the local True Value, or farm store, or whatever you got in you area and find what'll work.

    If you decide to use boiled linseed oil, heed the caution on the label...DO NOT TOSS A RAG WITH BOILED LINSEED OIL ON IT IN A CORNER OR A GARBAGE CAN! Linseed oil produces heat when it dries and a rag soaked with it can start on fire, all by it's self!

    Happy choppin'/splitten'

    Mike
     
  13. billcoe

    billcoe PDX Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    Changed post. The Lok swells the wood, forever, so get as much of it under the head as you can and as much coverage as possible.
     
  14. BoonDocks36

    BoonDocks36 Oregon, in the boondocks Christian. Conservative. Male.

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    Well linseed oil is what I used on my First Hammer, a Monkey Wards "Lakeside" .... Era, 1957. My Uncle Bill (RIP) said soak it in linseed oil.

    I still own that Hammer, with the Original Handle, AND use IT!

    Nuff Said!

    philipINtheBoonDocks
     
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  15. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    Did you warm up the oil, or just do it cold? Soaking seems challenging considering tye size of a axe handle.
     
  16. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I knew an old guy that drilled a small hole down into the middle of the handle through the wedge about 6" deep.
    He then used an oil can to squirt linseed oil into the hole and corked it with a small brass screw.
    He said that it kept the wood supple. He did the same to his hammers.
     
  17. albin25

    albin25 Lewiston Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I inherited an axe from my grandfather.
    It's been in the family for over a hundred years.
    He told me it was from Germany and came over with his father.
    Over the years, the handle was replaced three times,
    and the head was replaced once.
     
  18. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    OK I ain't no fire fighting logger,just plenty of experience breaking axe and sledge hammer handles and hence,having to replace them.
    You can soak,put spuge etc on or just fit the handle tight and put a wedge in it.
    No soaking needed. As stated,when it dries out then the wood shrinks and you have a loose head .

    Now the shape of the axe is different for each use ,also stated.
    A thin axe is for cutting and a fat taper would be for splitting. If you buy an axe for splitting smaller fire wood,get one with a fatter taper.Otherwise it sticks in the wood.
    If you are splitting lots of firewood,then get a splitting maul.You will be much happier. The added weight helps with the splitting as does the wide back.
    Wasn't the double bit for trimming branches off fallen trees? That's about all I used it for.Maybe a couple falling a smaller tree.
    wranglestar has some decent info about axes, https://www.youtube.com/user/wranglerstar,but some of the other channels are some kids who are trying to figure it out and act like they have done more than cut a 2X4 in the garage.
    Wide taper and some weight for splitting narrow for chopping.
    Long handle for bigger jobs and short for kindling type work.
    Tomahawks for scalps
    Knives for scalps and cooking...NOT FOR WOOD PROCESSING,sorry wrong thread,lol
     
  19. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    I'm having a hard time finding a new handle that's oversized. Meaning all the ones I have found, slide in without a ton of muscle. There not loose, but snug. And everyone says that's bad. Feels like a hard search.
     
  20. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Get one too big and sand it down to fit.Slowly if you use a belt sander