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Growing your own axe handle.

Discussion in 'Farming and Gardening Forum' started by Del_, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. Del_

    Del_ Get outside.

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    I set up this axe handle on a pencil sized hickory tree six or seven years ago. I don't remember exactly how long ago it was. I just cut the hickory the other day and here are photos of the handle that grew inside of the axe head.

    002.JPG 003.JPG 006.JPG 008.JPG 009.JPG 014.JPG 015.JPG 016.JPG 017.JPG
     
  2. old guy

    old guy Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Heh, never thought a that.
     
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  3. WRW

    WRW Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I wonder if a little paint on the head before setting it out would have been a good idea.
     
  4. Del_

    Del_ Get outside.

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    Should I be soaking the wood in something beneficial?
     
  5. WRW

    WRW Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I'd debarked it to rid it of any bugs. Paint the ends to slow drying. Plan on the wood shrinking with drying. It'll need a wedge to keep the head tight.

    We used boiled linseed oil on wooden handled implements, but I just read that in has some undesirable chemicals in it. My next finish to research would be a spar varnish.
     
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  6. Del_

    Del_ Get outside.

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    Thanks Bill.

    I feared that there would be some shrinkage.

    I'll paint the ends, debark and then spar varnish it.
     
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  7. WRW

    WRW Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Best of luck. I've got to say that that is the most interesting project I've seen in quite a while.
     
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  8. Del_

    Del_ Get outside.

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    Thanks Bill.

    I've found six or seven axe heads here on the property, some are double bit. The house is 150 years old. Some are in really bad shape and rusted. Also a few 'homemade' wedges. All kinds of metal parts tractor/plow parts are spread around the property.

    I wish I'd set up more heads on hickories back when I did this one. Maybe I'll do it this winter.

    Is hickory best?

    I've got lots of red oak saplings and wild cherry, too.

    Do you think I may have 'picked' it a little early?

    The tree was starting to look unhealthy I think due to be girdled.
     
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  9. Flint Mitch

    Flint Mitch ArboristSite Guru

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    Very cool!! I'm going to try this myself. I have a few shag bark babies around to pick from

    Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
     
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  10. WRW

    WRW Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Hickory has a good reputation. I have seen ash used, but I've seen it split. I'd guess oak would share that tendency and cherry would not stand up well at all.

    Never having seen this technique, I couldn't pass judgement on any aspect other than admiration for trying.
     
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  11. WRW

    WRW Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Well, shrinkage may be a problem. Time will tell on that. Any thoughts on making a kerf for a wedge to tighten the handle in the head?
     
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  12. Del_

    Del_ Get outside.

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    I will have to look into how making a kerf is done. I don't want to remove the handle from the head if I don't have to.

    Does it need the kerf cut before it seasons?
     
  13. WRW

    WRW Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Should be no rush on creating a kerf. I would think it best to wait, and I'd like to see if the wood above the head is beneficial.
     
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  14. WRW

    WRW Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Got a friend with an oscillating tool?
     
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  15. Del_

    Del_ Get outside.

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    I might but I don't know what an oscillating tool is. I'll google it.
     
  16. Atean

    Atean ArboristSite Lurker

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    I think the most I would add is a iron or steel wedge after much drying, if and when needed. Handle may be smoothed with spud and shave. Don't trust my memory but hackmatock best handle,after what ash definitely works. Beech for mallethead I believe.
     
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  17. sb47

    sb47 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Now that's amusing indeed. I'm sure it's gonna be weak and break if you try and use it but it's a ingenious idea.I would hang it on the wall for a conversation piece.
     
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  18. ray benson

    ray benson Tree Freak

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    Update? How did it work out. Years ago I hand split all my firewood and my dad's firewood. Made handles out of White Oak saplings for 8 and 10 pound sledge hammers and a 6 pound maul. They never lasted as good as the store bought hickory handles.
     
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  19. Del_

    Del_ Get outside.

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    I haven't used it yet. Still in the living room!
     
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  20. ray benson

    ray benson Tree Freak

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    Did the wood shrink or is the head still tight?
     
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