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Hand Making Axe Handles

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

  1. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Don’t blame ya. I would be nervous working with top shelf wood like that too. I’m no pro, still learning A LOT.
     
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  2. heritageguy20051

    heritageguy20051 Well-Known OPE Member

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    Get yourself a few scrap pieces of whatever wood you like and give it a whirl. You'll get the feel of how that particular wood works and if you mess up, no big deal. XP gave us all a great thread to follow here.

    Sent from my E6782 using Tapatalk
     
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  3. dustinwilt68

    dustinwilt68 The PSP Guy From PA

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    Beautiful handles there! I would have to swing it and break 1, maybe hang it as the 1 fellas girlfriend does with his tools.lol
     
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  4. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Next one is going to be made of heart wood. Dammit it’s pretty.
    4B124AEA-FFF0-4D6C-A54E-3E2C301F3E9F.jpeg
     
  5. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Less than an hour later.
    EAF1BA15-3B8E-498E-8D5E-2FC1DF638BF2.jpeg
     
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  6. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Little bonus. The shavings dry out really quick and are excellent tinder for getting the wood stove going. Or, you can use it as antique pilgrim toilet paper, your choice. Lol!
     
  7. ajschainsaws

    ajschainsaws Old enough to know better too old too care

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    Is that hickory heartwood I’ve never seen hickory over here unless it’s handles
     
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  8. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Yup it’s hickory heart wood, Bitternut hickory to be more specific.
     
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  9. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    This took about 2.5 hours of patient draw shaving. When getting a handle to this point you have to take your time because if you go too deep it could cause a pull out that will make you start over. This one is going inside to dry with the other one.
    A36DD30E-8A26-499D-8B5E-D757AA2862B7.jpeg
     
  10. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    I got my hatchet handles finished today. Unfortunately due to a crack I had to drastically shorten the fawns foot on the one I made out of heart wood. Very frustrating as it would’ve had a nice shape to it. I blame myself for the mistake because the crack developed while hanging the head several times in the fitting process and I don’t think I left enough flat area on the end for it to take that kind of abuse. But anyway, let’s go through fitting the head.

    First step is set the head on the handle and eyeball where it’s straight with the handle. Once it’s straight, trace the eye from the inside. Now that you have the eye traced start shaving it down to shape. And a heads up, the eye is smaller on the bottom then the top. Some of you may know this but I didn’t until I fitted my first axe.
    A97A2276-8BD7-4364-B644-98ECC55DC952.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017 at 5:35 PM
  11. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Once you get close to your eye outline start fit checking it periodically. I keep shaving fine layers off until the head just fits. Once it goes on a 1/8” I check to make sure my alignment still looks good. Don’t let your eye chase varying thickness in the handle. I know there are times where the head looks off center because of a high spot in the handle that hasn’t been sanded away.
    056096B0-35B7-4531-ACB0-0D93DFE38E30.jpeg D012BE09-061F-4EDC-81EF-8A092793AFF9.jpeg 0FD326BF-9668-4491-8A0D-95B8EE51EE4A.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017 at 5:36 PM
  12. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Now hang the handle in your hand with the head down. Give the end of the handle a couple sharp whacks with preferably a wooden mallet. The head will draw up the handle and when you remove it, the curls show you where you need to remove more material. I usually do this several times to ensure a nice tight fit.
    94D97F69-4D40-4B2D-A303-3C917941790B.jpeg B330DD11-6396-4CE9-A40C-5C7ECDF43EAE.jpeg D34B0F50-D880-46FF-AD88-BECFC3813809.jpeg EB0251C8-371B-4321-968A-616E95A2D35F.jpeg
     
  13. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Once I get down to near full seating depth I switch out the draw shave for a rasp. Some use a rasp for the whole process but I do most of it with the shave. At his point small adjustments go a long way. You want I nice tight fit on the final seating to ensure a strong pinch when you set the wedge on the top. In this process I also did a lot of shaping of the handle just below the head.
    F94699FD-D5AD-455D-BAA5-1D815E66F19C.jpeg 028D7DE6-5FA5-47BF-B3A8-501CDDE2DEC4.jpeg F7A5CD43-C60A-4C2D-98F3-1DCCC99E8186.jpeg
     
  14. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Here it is only needing some fine adjustment to the handle near the base of the head. Oh no! Loose fit up top! No need to panic, remember the eye is bigger on the top than the bottom.
    BE39386A-7ADE-4723-91F9-BC3486224F8A.jpeg 83BCE324-B6C2-412D-89F1-E99842FD08C8.jpeg
     
  15. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Let’s see how she tightens up. Nice.
    786E821C-0EA1-4EE4-B4A5-374C72A89F93.jpeg F5D70733-0257-4478-B4D4-FA746D322289.jpeg
     
  16. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    So in this process here’s where things went bad. I had to trim this crack off the fawns foot and now the handle looks goofy. It feels great in the hand and there’s enough swell left for a controlled grip but it just doesn’t look right.
    437BCEAA-FDB4-45E2-822C-CCBFF1C46907.jpeg 58A2501A-E300-480F-859C-B1BC0C017BDB.jpeg
     
  17. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    The other one I finished today came out much better. This is the one I did for a friend that gave me an axe in exchange for rehandling this hatchet. My better work goes to someone else, rightfully so. This one feels great in the hand.
    A4BA0959-056A-490E-AB7D-F60FFFA4E5C1.jpeg 81292F1F-179E-4AD1-A628-F5BA314ED18B.jpeg 79335E44-CAE7-46BE-8F5C-ACB895AAAC74.jpeg 1FE9E6AF-D7AB-45CB-B5AA-DB89C749720F.jpeg
     

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    Last edited: Dec 10, 2017 at 3:47 PM
  18. ajschainsaws

    ajschainsaws Old enough to know better too old too care

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    Thanks is there any strengths and weaknesses between the different hickories
     
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  19. ajschainsaws

    ajschainsaws Old enough to know better too old too care

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    Nice job that wood is nice the rasp is a good tool
    one day I couldn’t lay my hands on my carpenters half round rasp
    So I used a blacksmiths rasp for shoeing horses it is coarse one side and medium the other side one edge is coarse and one is fine and a bonus it’s nearly 2” wide
    So haven’t gone back to the small rasp
     
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  20. XP_Slinger

    XP_Slinger Pinnacle OPE Member

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    Yes, per that link you posted regarding breaking strength. I believe shag bark hickory is the best one for handles
     
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