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Thread: Carpenters Hatchet

  1. #21
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    No, carpenters hatchets are GENERALLY the same head on a shorter handle than a riggers axe, roofing hatchets are usually lighter weight heads (and shaped differently) on shorter handles and drywall hammers are lighter still.

    Riggers axe, Carpenters axe and Roofing Axe examples
    http://www.estwing.com/category.php?category_id=6

    Drywall hammer/hatchet examples
    http://www.estwing.com/category.php?category_id=5
    Last edited by Hawkcreek; 06-25-2012 at 10:28 PM.
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  2. #22
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    hawkcreek is correct.

    supposedly the rigger part of the name came from the guys building wooden oil derricks.
    it seems to be primarily a western usa tool.

    legend has it the guys who became house framers had the blade removed and claws welded on the poll. thus the 22 ounce california (special) framing hammers was born.

    i've seen railroad carpenters using the long handled axe as a fine-adjusting tool.

    i picked up an estwing carpenter's axe decades ago because it was a handsome tool. it's sharp and makes an excellent paring tool. whacks nails with authority as well.

    to be honest i'm more likely to use a hammer and carry a sheathed chisel than drag out the axe.

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    I find the Rigger's Axe great for when I'm out bracing old fences. I can chop one end of the board I'm using into a point on one end then drive it into the ground at an angle before nailing it in place.

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    I do. It was my grandfather's before he passed away. Given the type of person he was, my guess is that the thing is somehow engineered to never break, be waterproof, and self-sharpening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flag_Mtn_Hkrs View Post
    My dad was a carpenter and always brought his out camping. He always called it a "rigging axe". I guess he used it for framing out houses and for splitting shingles on roof work. It sure did split the kindlin in camp.
    That's right. When I was just out'a high school in the '70's, everybody used rigging axes to frame with. We used them for adjusting seating notches on rafters when walking the top plates. Actually, the axes were more of a status symbol then because all the old timers used them. I remember the throwing contests during lunch was the best use for mine. LOL

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    I use one quite a bit around the acreage for fixing fences etc also. Very handy as opposed to mushrooming the head of a regular hatchet.

  7. #27
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    If my memory serves, Humphrey Bogart uses a riggers axe early in the movie 'Treasure of the Sierra Madre', building oil rigs in Mexico. It's been a while since I've seen the movie, but I remember noticing it.

    I like 'em - I spent some time in the late 60's remodeling a home in the Missouri ozarks, it was built w/white oak lumber milled from the farm 40 years earlier. That oak was hard to nail, so a heavy riggers axe was useful. That summer gave me pretty good forearms.

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    When I was framing, a lot of framers used the hatchets (80's). Even those of us who used claw hammers never pulled nails with them, we used a catspaw instead to save the handles.

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    Very interesting thread. After 60 cycles around the Sun, I've just now begun to learn about the different patterns of Axes and their intended purposes. I've seen numerous styles and never really understood why some had little notches on the bottom of the Head (nail puller) or why some had a hammer on the back (Shingle Axe or Carpenter's Axe). The large 'Gull Wing' hewing Axes are a good example. If there weren't a resurgence in hand crafted log homes, no one would know what a 'Hewing Axe' is. This is all fascinating to me.

    I'm a life-long knife guy. Ever since my Boy Scout days Axes have always been a utility tool for splitting kindling, making a tent peg or felling the occasional tree. Nothing too specialized. Boy was I wrong.

    Recently, I began to get interested in Bowl and spoon carving in the old Scandinavian method. During my research I discovered just how diverse a class of tool Axes really are. Each culture added their unique style to what is essentially a sharpened wedge on a stick.

    The history of the Axe is also intriguing. Historians and Archaeologists are still split (pun intended) as to whether or not the Axe began as a weapon or a utility tool around the campfire. Regardless of the original intent, it evolved into both. And here we are today, tens of thousands of years later, the Axe is still in it's same basic form. Design perfection.

    Sorry for the long-winded response.

    BTW, this is my 10th response.

    RB

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    I have a "carpenters" hatchet that has been used for camping for around 30yrs. Great all in one tool. One thing I did that makes it work better for me is replacing the shorter handle with an 18" to 20" handle. It splits small wood great and can be used as a wedge for larger stuff. The only negative is the handle can't easily be replaced in the field. Otherwise its worth the extra weigh. I strap mine to a day pack for hunting trips and day hikes..

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