Making an axe handle

Discussion in 'D.I.Y.' started by barney, May 4, 2017.

  1. barney

    barney 12 pointer

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    Thanks, guys!
     
  2. Powerstro284

    Powerstro284 6 pointer

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    Jun 12, 2014
    Rough river
    Great looking axe
     
    barney likes this.
  3. barney

    barney 12 pointer

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    Thanks!
     
  4. Gioacchino

    Gioacchino 6 pointer

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    Northern Kentucky
    Not sure if you've heard of him, but check out Wranglerstar on YouTube. Good stuff.
     
  5. barney

    barney 12 pointer

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    No offense to you sir, but I cringe when I try to watch his videos.

    Wranglerstar tries to act like an expert on subjects he is clearly not. He is promoting his channel with secondhand knowledge he gleans from the internet, and acts as if it comes from his experience, and wisdom.
     
  6. barney

    barney 12 pointer

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    A few other axes I've recently rehung with handles I made from premium, hand riven, and air-dried all white hickory staves.
    A True Temper Flint Edge 2 1/4 lb. Boys axe.
    Before:
    [​IMG]
    After:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    A 3 lb. western pattern Kelly Perfect double bit before:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    After:
    [​IMG]
    True Temper Tommy Axe.
    Before:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Hair poppin' sharp, and these old axes stay that way.
    [​IMG]
    After:
    [​IMG]
    Old 2 lb. Craftsman hewing hatchet, with the wavey "sing song" oval stamp.
    Before:
    [​IMG]
    After:
    [​IMG]
     
    bondhu likes this.
  7. Dark Cloud

    Dark Cloud 8 pointer

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    Lawrence Co.
    Good looking and very workable tools,lot of people just don't understand the time and skill it takes to do these kind of projects.Makes you feel proud when it's accomplished.Big difference in hand made and so called custom made.
     
  8. barney

    barney 12 pointer

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    Thanks!
    I like good stuff, sometimes there's only one way to get it. Store bought handles are made from kiln dried hickory, the heat from the kiln destroys the integrity of the wood. That's why so many handles break or split. Hand riven air-dried hickory handles are unbreakable for purpose intended. Another thing that is not known these days is proper grain alignment. The old-timers understood the shock absorbing, and extra chip popping advantage of having horizontal grained handles in a felling axe. Now horizontal grain in a handle is considered bad.
     
  9. Dark Cloud

    Dark Cloud 8 pointer

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    Aug 14, 2009
    Lawrence Co.
    Old people didn't have the money to run down to the hardware,so they done it their self,with little time to play,they knew it had to last so they done it the right way the first time.
     
    barney likes this.
  10. jfiscus

    jfiscus 6 pointer

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    Nov 19, 2013
    Kenton County
    Barney, that is really great work. I enjoy seeing and learning these dying skills and doing what I can to pass them on to my children. Is there any where you know of (not online) that you can go to get started learning handles? I have collected a decent amount of old heads with broken handles and would love to be able to make them some new handles.
     
  11. barney

    barney 12 pointer

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    Thank you, sir.

    I'm glad to see your interest in learning the old ways and trying to pass it on. As far as a place to go see something like making a handle I don't know.

    I got interested in preserving axes and other essential tools early on, and I'm glad I did. Back then the guys that made a living with these tools were still around using them, and were always willing to share the wisdom, and knowledge that they had gained through the years. The knowledge I gleaned from them by watching and listening was priceless! Sadly, not many people around anymore that made a living by hewing railroad cross ties with only a team of mules, a crosscut saw, and an axe.

    While not suitable for any handle, practicing with a section of 2x4 is where I would start. The most important tool in handle making is a hatchet to remove the bulk of material, a rasp to get the shape, and a scraper to smooth and finish it.
     
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  12. richief

    richief 10 pointer

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    down a holler SE KY
    Good stuff. how long do you need to air dry hickory before making a handle?
     
  13. barney

    barney 12 pointer

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    I cut the tree in the early winter when the sap is down. That eliminates quite a bit of moisture in the wood. The staves are then placed in a greenhouse to dry for at least a year before I use them. By drying slowly through the winter to remove the bulk of the remaining moisture, I have very little checking or cracking.

    The handles I'm making now are from staves cut and split in 2015.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Farrier85

    Farrier85 10 pointer

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    All these axes and hatchets for your own collection or you do it for side job? If for your own collection how many do you have?
     
  15. barney

    barney 12 pointer

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    I have been collecting, and restoring good vintage axes, hoes, and shovels since I was a teenager for myself. My son's started collecting axes a few years ago, so now I restore a few for them as well. As far as numbers go, I don't have an exact figure, but it's in the hundreds.
     

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