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Hand Making Axe Handles

Discussion in 'Hand Helds' started by XP_Slinger, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. ajschainsaws

    ajschainsaws Axes never run out of Gas

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    Thanks they’ve been fInishing up well so far
     
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  2. Junior Samples

    Junior Samples Super OPE Member

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    I have been away for a while but years ago when I was growing up in Pa, there were a group of men that got together and we would throw Tomohawks like they throw darts and sometime axes, but my question is we would soak our hawk heads in water over night and they would swell up and make the handles tight. Was that bad? PS we had a game called handles and so the handles would not last long anyway.
     
  3. RI Chevy

    RI Chevy Stihl Runner

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    An old timer once told me to hang the handle to the head, and then soak in a bucket of water for a day or so.
    I tried it once. I didn't care for that. The heads obviously rust badly. Lol
    Good thing it was just a cheap handle and head.
     
  4. Wilhelm

    Wilhelm Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Each time You soak the ax/handle eye the wooden handle swells, problem is once the wood starts drying the head will be more loose than before soaking it.

    I was taught to soak wooden handled tools, it never worked for me.
     
  5. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger I like saws...sometimes

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    My dad told me that trick too. I tried it when I was young and it tightened up but loosened up again only to be worse than before soaking. I think the soak method is good so long as you're soaking it in some sort of oil that won't evaporate and/or damage the wood like water does. I soaked one in diesel fuel as an experiment 5 months ago, still tight so far
     
  6. RI Chevy

    RI Chevy Stihl Runner

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    Just asking. Has anyone made a handle out if a round branch? I know grain orientation might not be the best, but some round branches cut to 48" lengths seem pretty strong.
    Just trying to get a better understanding of the ins and outs of building a strong handle.
     
  7. ajschainsaws

    ajschainsaws Axes never run out of Gas

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    The soaking of the handle method seems to be a worldwide thing these ole timers where telling us all a bit of a yarn I think these loose handles where Down too folks who couldn’t be bothered or had time too fix the handle and it was easier to put it In the bucket after work and pick it up In the morning :):)
     
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  8. ajschainsaws

    ajschainsaws Axes never run out of Gas

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    I’ve been eyeing up a couple of nice lower Douglas fir branches they’ve taken all the wind and shake for many a year they’ve also held all that weight from the foliage , only problem the pith grain probably won’t be in the centre

    @RI Chevy it gotta be worth having a go
     
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  9. jakethesnake

    jakethesnake I Am The Snake

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    It won’t be as strong. Not trying to be a know it all. That’s the reason you want the grain to run with the edge of the axe. Not saying it wouldn’t work. There’s a method to the madness. Good looking work fellas. I’ve not made any progress just yet. I’m gonna try maple. The log is laying out back but I haven’t gotten to it yet it was five million below and covered in snow. I can see it out there now. I’m gonna make an effort soon
     
  10. RI Chevy

    RI Chevy Stihl Runner

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    I have 3 nice maple branches that I will try and make something with.
    But I do understand the grain will be circular vs. Straight stacked. I may try and make some smaller hammer handles.
     
  11. stikine

    stikine Well-Known OPE Member

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    As mentioned earlier, soaking your axe head / handle in water is only a temporary fix to tighten things up because the water will swell the wood cells but when it evaporates you will have an even looser head. Instead of water soak the head and handle in boiled or raw linseed oil. Not only does the linseed oil swell the wood cells it doesn't evaporate afterwards and makes a great handle finish. I soak the head in a tray with an inch or so of linseed oil and let it wick into the wood. Once or twice a day I'll use a rag and coat the entire handle until the wood won't soak up anymore oil...this can take several days.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  12. ajschainsaws

    ajschainsaws Axes never run out of Gas

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    Great information well worth doing
     
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  13. ajschainsaws

    ajschainsaws Axes never run out of Gas

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    Done a couple more oak handles made them a bit more meatier this time
    and I’ve got a nice piece of holly roughed out

    A11D883B-065B-4EA9-9416-5F1D2A23B189.jpeg
     
  14. Philbert

    Philbert Chainsaw Enthusiast

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    You make it look easy!

    Philbert
     
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  15. RI Chevy

    RI Chevy Stihl Runner

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    Very nice. What handle length are you using? 36"
     
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  16. ajschainsaws

    ajschainsaws Axes never run out of Gas

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    Yes spot on I start the blanks at 42” then end up with a 36” too finish gives
    you a bit of room for over doing the shaving
     
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  17. ajschainsaws

    ajschainsaws Axes never run out of Gas

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    Thanks there’s hours of work gone into them not profitable at all but after seeing the finish you can get on the oak it’s well worth it
    The holly hasn’t got much character too Work with its having a another night or two in the house too dry a little and hopefully will see a bit of colour come through
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
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  18. ajschainsaws

    ajschainsaws Axes never run out of Gas

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  19. jakethesnake

    jakethesnake I Am The Snake

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  20. ajschainsaws

    ajschainsaws Axes never run out of Gas

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    that was a hedge grown holly it came down in the storm it had root rot
     
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