Monday, January 13, 2014

Time to hang an old Jersey Axe

Well I had acquired this old Council Tools Jersey axe head awhile back in a trade with a friend and it was finally time to get around to hanging it.  Size of this head is in the 3.5-4lb range.  I didn't weigh it.  Edge is almost 5.5 inches.

Here is how it started

I wanted to leave as much of the dark patina on as I could.  So I removed the paint and rust carefully with sandpaper, water and WD-40.  I ordered a 32" handle from House Handle and had requested handpicked axes (meaning good grain, straight shaping, no defects) and they delivered.  This handle was excellent as the other handle with the order.  I'll be using them in the future.  Well here's how the hand started.

Starting out the head would not go on the handle at all.  Fitting was all done with hand tools consisting of a rasp, a knife, and sandpaper.  First was going to work with the rasp.

I always let the handle show you where to remove wood.  You can always take more off but you can't put it back on.  So I just work the thick spots down as needed. 

That's getting just about right.  At this point I like to use a knife to carefully remove the last bits of wood on the bottom.  Basically I make the tiniest curls I can.  Then I like to take the shoulder down so it's not sticking out a lot.  Once you have the place where the head will set you know whereabouts to stop removing wood. 

Final sanding where the head well set.

Just where I wanted it!

I heavily coated the wedge in boiled linseed oil before driving it home.

Here I had an unfortunate mishap.  The vice I use is a clamp vice and when I was using a jigsaw to cut off the excess the board the clamp was on came loose and the whole thing shifted so the cut when offline.  I cut the rest off from the other side but you can see the uneven edge it left.  Nothing that will effect function but still was a small bummer.

Now for oiling up the handle and we're done

Grain was great on this handle

Fit was pretty good.  The handle wasn't quite long enough to fill the eye but it's solid and I really don't expect any slippage

I like it!  It'll be one mean chopper.  I'll do an update as I get to use it some.

Thanks for looking

Friday, January 10, 2014

More Axe restore projects coming

Hey folks,
     I have a few axe projects coming up including one that has long been my coveted axe design I have been wanting for awhile.  I'll give you a sneak peak at that one

It's a 1.75lb Plumb Cedar patten axe.

Others include another Plumb, and an old Council Tool of a felling design you'll have to wait and see on.

I'm excited!  :)

It's gonna a be a good weekend, Stay tuned....

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Boy's Axe project - Merry Christmas Bro!

Well leading up to Christmas I was wanting to give something useful and meaningful to my brother.  So what better gift than an axe I thought.

So let's get this started.  Here's the axe I picked out.  A nice old Collins boy's axe that was hardly used in it's prior life.  Here's how I received it

As you can tell it's final edge was never put on.  So that was the first step.  Putting a nice convex on it with the file

I've had this handle a couple years now.  It had pretty good grain and at the time I just bought few of them.  As most hardware store handles the shoulder area is very clublike.  Way too thick

I like getting the head set where I like it.  Then working down the shoulder and sides.  Once you have the spot you know where to start removing wood.  Here's a few shots showing the fitting and thinning work

 I used a rasp on the side

now sanding it down

setting the head.  Since this won't be my axe and I know my brother doesn't know much about hanging axes.  I decided to take every extra precaution to ensure the head doesn't come loose.  I left a good 1/3" sticking out the top and I put a little wood glue on the wedge, and got a very tight fit

This True Temper hewing hatchet is the best tool I have for setting metal wedges.  It weighs over 2lbs and the flat square poll is perfect for driving it in even.

That head won't be coming loose or off anytime soon

Now for my favorite part.  Linseed oil :)  I love watching the wood come to life

a good fit, no gaps

here you can see how the thinning worked out.  Right where it should be

Once it was hung I grabbed a piece of seasoned elm to see how it would curl.  It did pretty good for only having a file edge on it

Well I eventually took out to the woods to do a little work just to make sure the edge profile was where it needs to be.  This was a tree I previously felled in the year.  I limbed it and then bucked out a log, and then continued to split it down. 

It worked pretty good.  I'd be pleased to carry this as my own so it should serve him well.  Last bit was to make a sheath for it.  

Thanks for looking