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Axe handle wood. What is best?

Den

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I see most people, and manufacturers, use hickory or elm for axe handle's. For example, Helko and other popular axe maker's do.
I have hickory on my double-bit axe, sledge, and hatchet.

I'm wondering what's wrong with using various type's of oak, cherry, walnut, maple, birch, or even osage orange? They are all type's of hardwoods and tight grained... especially osage. That stuff is like steel.

Are there acid's in these type's I mentioned, that cause rust on the axe head?

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Den

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I’d love to hear how Osage Orange turns out. Sounds fine, but I’m no expert.
Decade's ago, my Dad, brother, and I, used to cut at this one farm that had huge amounts of osage orange (hedgeapple, thornapple). I've never seen so many sparks flying in my life, when cutting that stuff. Man that osage was hard as Kelsey's noggin as they say. Burned forever, and man was it hot... like blue flames.
I think REj2 had a good point when he mentioned vibration. Some wood might just transmit the entire shock to your hand.
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buzz sawyer

buzz sawyer

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I’d love to hear how Osage Orange turns out. Sounds fine, but I’m no expert.
I made a replacement handle for a small felling ax with Osage Orange. It has worked very well. I also turned a couple carving mallets from it, also holding up well but only used on wooden handle gouges.
 
pioneerguy600

pioneerguy600

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It depends greatly on the intended use of the axe in question. For felling axes in this province were fitted with ash handles, ash wood is a bit flexible and does not transmit shock vibrations from the head up to the users hands as badly as more solid woods do.Yellow birch made a good handle for a splitting axe but the wood polishes up so much the hndle becomes slippery, not something good for a fellers axe. My father made handles from ash for every axe no matter its use and the handles lasted many years of heavy use, he would wind stainless wire on the handle from the head up toward the top for about 4 - 5 inches to protect the wood from getting damaged. After 50 years I still have all of them here with me.
 
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