ArboristSite.com Sponsors
 
 


New Look for Old Axe

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Wilson_tree, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. Wilson_tree

    Wilson_tree ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Keene, NY
    Here is an axe I restored. It is a 3.5 lbs Collins double bit that my grandfather used, then my dad used, and my brothers and I limbed and cleared trails with it. It sat in a bucket in the barn for many years until I decided to bring it back. I cleaned the corrosion, filed the edge to get past a few chips, polished it up, and then reshaped and sharpened it. It cuts like a champ now and looks pretty good. BTW, it is hard to find an axe handle less than 36 inches long, so I shortened this one to 30. I am restoring another double bit, a 3.5 lbs Homesteader, for one of my brothers, since I had so much fun doing this one. I also found a source of axe handles, so that will be a lot easier. The same bucket in the barn still has some old single bit axeheads, but they are pretty damaged. Can you hammer a blade back into shape when it has been deformed? Can you just file the heck out of a badly chipped poll, or is the axe too far gone to use? I think some of these axes made it into the bucket in the barn for a reason.

    View attachment 208202 View attachment 208203
     
    EXCALIBER, Ductape, dancan and 3 others like this.
  2. Eric Modell

    Eric Modell ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Squires.mo
    Beautiful ax I like to keep a few of my favorites in good shape.
     
  3. Chris-PA

    Chris-PA Where the Wild Things Are

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Messages:
    6,356
    Likes Received:
    2,805
    Location:
    PA
    Very nice, I like the look of that axe head.

    BTW, I've found that for splitting work it helps a lot to coat the axe handle with Gorilla Glue where it slides into the head. It helps absorb the shock and I've never had one loosen up that way.
     
  4. XTROOPER

    XTROOPER ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2011
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Beach Lake, PA
    Nice Job

    Very nice job, how did you get all the rust off?

    XTROOPER
     
  5. Rudedog

    Rudedog Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2010
    Messages:
    2,841
    Likes Received:
    802
    Location:
    Brunswick, Maryland
    Nice. Wish you had done before and after. I love drama.
     
  6. Eric Modell

    Eric Modell ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Squires.mo
    Do you dip the handle in the glue when you install it, I have several tools with loose handles.
     
  7. Chris-PA

    Chris-PA Where the Wild Things Are

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Messages:
    6,356
    Likes Received:
    2,805
    Location:
    PA
    I just smear a relatively thin layer of Gorilla Glue on the part of the handle that slides into the head, and try to keep it out of the wedge area. I put the wedge in and hammer it tight before the glue sets up. It's an expanding urethane glue and it doesn't get real hard, so it doesn't crack out like the epoxy stuff so many come with. I break handles and have them abrade away, but they've never come loose.
     
  8. Eric Modell

    Eric Modell ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2008
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Squires.mo
    Thanks warrior

    I have tried epoxy before , but like you said it gets brittle and does not work.

    Do yo dry the handle before you set it .

    I have heard antifreeze will swell the handle but have not tried it before.
     
  9. Chris-PA

    Chris-PA Where the Wild Things Are

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Messages:
    6,356
    Likes Received:
    2,805
    Location:
    PA
    No, I'm just using Link handles from TSC as-is. The only prep I do is to test fit it and make sure it's fits well. A lot of times I have to do a bit of filing to get them to match well. Then I glue and wedge 'em and let them set up. Usually some of the expanded glue foam squirts out and it's kind of ugly, so sometimes I trim that back with a knife.
     
    CWME likes this.
  10. meadowsuper

    meadowsuper ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Rhode Island
    Wilson,
    I believe that it is probably possible to save your other axe heads. no matter how badly they may be damaged, they can be brought back to life. I make knives as a hobby, and have learned a fair amount of the heat treating process necessary to produce a quality edge. You can file away any unwanted metal, if it is beyond filing alone, you will need to heat it up in order to work it back into shape. This is not an easy task, but can be done.
    If however you need to heat it up to hammer on it, you will need to heat treat, and anneal it when you are finished or it will dull out immediately, due to the metal being to soft.
    Good luck, I am an older tool fanatic and love to see them brought back to use again.
     
  11. Dalmatian90

    Dalmatian90 Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    5,567
    Likes Received:
    2,942
    Location:
    Northeastern Connecticut
    Nice!
     
  12. turnkey4099

    turnkey4099 Tree Freak

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2002
    Messages:
    11,001
    Likes Received:
    1,347
    Location:
    se washington
    I've tried it a couple times. Didn't do a thing that soaking in water would have. It still dried out and I wound up with loose handles again. Did take longer to shrink up though.

    IME once a handle loosens it is on its last days. I did salvage one by removing it shving it down so I could refit it back deeper...then a week later over struck and broke it.


    Harry K
     
  13. RVALUE

    RVALUE Arboristsite.com Sponsor

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Messages:
    7,163
    Likes Received:
    2,480
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Are you serious? Would this be a properly fitted handle, or with a little slop? That would be some tough glue.
     
  14. RVALUE

    RVALUE Arboristsite.com Sponsor

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Messages:
    7,163
    Likes Received:
    2,480
    Location:
    Arkansas
    In the '60's , my Dad and I went camping in the Sierras. Part way in the trip, he remembered we forgot the ax. So we stopped and bought a double bit ax in a hardware store. (They were all old fashioned in that day). Written in indelible ink on the handle was 9.99.

    Some time in the '70's , I left that ax out overnite, which automatically meant "left it out in the rain", whether it rained or not.


    I was sharply accused of leaving the $ 20 ax. out, and asked :hmm3grin2orange::hmm3grin2orange: to pay for it. Being the astute consumer I was, I pointed out the still vibrant 9.99 on the handle, and gave my Dad $ 10. He was SO mad. My mom thought it to be funny.

    Now I have 4 boys and haven't seen that ax in years. :(
     
  15. Chris-PA

    Chris-PA Where the Wild Things Are

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2011
    Messages:
    6,356
    Likes Received:
    2,805
    Location:
    PA
    I didn't mean it as a substitute for fitting the handle properly. I do my best to get them tight, but I split entirely by hand and after a while they tend to losen up a little. You'll get a little rocking and it will start to slide out a bit - you can see a small gap open up under the handle. It's a heck of an impact when you hit, time after time. Also, when you stick it hard in a piece of wood and have to bang it out with your palm on the end of the handle it puts a slower, twisting force on the handle/head joint, and that can loosen them too. With the glue that does not happen. But I always try to fit them well, although I am not using expensive parts. My favorite axe head was found out in the woods behind my old house years ago, and I use handles from box stores. When I have to change the handle I throw the head in a fire (not too hot) and burn out the old one, and I've been doing that for years. - it still works the best.
     
  16. apattie

    apattie ArboristSite Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    New York
    Just wondering, how much rust was on it? Did you sand blast it? Looks great, wants to make me take some old axes out and try to get them back into shape.
     
  17. shane438

    shane438 ArboristSite Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Tn.
    Classy! I too restore old axes, they usually become gifts for friends of mine.
     
  18. Wilson_tree

    Wilson_tree ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Keene, NY
    Thanks for the support. I had a lot of fun restoring this and I am going to do a few more. This axe started out with a nice even layer of rust, but no pitting. I started with 80 grit on an orbital sander and then went through 220, 320, 400, 600. It left a little patina and a nice shine. The handle on it was still from my grandfather, and it was great to feel. It was very thin and probably gave a lot of whip action and good shock absorption. The guys who used an axe everyday really knew how to make them perform. I am going to tackle one of the single bits that are pretty beat up. I will file and file until I get the shape back and see how it turns out. I thought about getting one of the Council Velvicut axes to compare to the old time axes I am working on. It would be interesting to see how the shape and geometry compare between a new premium axe and an old axe that was an everyday working tool. Thanks for the support.
     
  19. shane438

    shane438 ArboristSite Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2011
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Tn.
    I have to go to the hardware for some more handles, I just inherited a single and a double bit that belonger to my great, great, great grandpa. Will do some before and after pics. Gonna try to start on them this weekend.
     

Share This Page