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Thread: Camp Axe

  1. #1
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    Default Camp Axe

    Not long ago I contacted Lisa and we began discussing what I wanted. Not a full size axe, and not one of those mini-hatchets either. I've owned a few of those and ended up giving them away. I wanted something longer than the Small Hunter's Axe from Wetterlings that has an overall length of 15". While that 'camp axe' as I call it has served adequately over the past couple years it just didn't ring with me the way I like my gear to do. Guess that sounds odd but to me it isn't. I can try three or four items, closely matched to one another and all service the same role, and find that there's always just something about one of them that 'rings'.

    A camp axe to me means it's packable but still of sufficient length to be used as an axe. While no 'camp axe' is going to be a full time feller or forest axe, the size has proved to me that it can serve as needed, when needed. In this case the axe I commissioned came out with an overall length of 17". I've owned the large hunter's axe, at 19" and the small that had an overall length of 15", one too long and one too short. 17" was the Goldilocks size for me, for my particular packs and uses this size is ideal, it probably sounds crazy that 2" of length can make that much difference, to me it does. For longer periods of time in a static camp I do make use of a 31" axe, but for the most part it is seldom used. I've found for my fire wood needs a bucksaw and a 'camp axe' are more than adequate.

    The camp axe that Lisa worked up is a rather elegant and robust version of my vision of a packable camp axe. Execution is terrific, the steel excellent, and out of the box had one of the sharpest edges I've received in any blade in the past five years. The edge is truly fine and polished to mirror like luster. She took the following photographs before shipping the axe to me.





    The ash haft was hand shaped, a lot of time went into that and the tooled mask. From the pictures I knew I was going to like it, when I got it I was quite surprised at just how much. I spent some time on it with a leather dye and some pure beeswax. After a time, this is the result.







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    I did not want the typical handle, I am not a fan of modern axe handles. I despise the overly aggressive curve in the grip, it is entirely over exaggerated in most modern handles. I don't find them comfortable and I know they cause accuracy issues. Every one is entitled to their own opinion and observations, these are mine, though I'm not the only one, in from "Keeping Warm with an Ax, A Woodcutter's Manual", by D. Cook, 1981 similar observations are noted, to include:

    The most baneful defect of the modern single-bitted ax handle is its short bottom curve. The lower end is the grip where the chopper guides the ax. The grip portion bends from the adjoining shaft of the handle by about 10 degrees. Unfortunately, this pretty little curve magnifies the effect of wrist pivoting..."









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    I'm thrilled with the way the axe turned out.





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    The General Ramblings of a Backwoods Bum...American Grouch


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    That is one fine looking axe!!!! I like everything about it!! Outstanding!!!
    Wayne
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    Man that is sweet. You're not making it easy to for a guy to keep on a budget. Nice post!
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    My oh my .........love the head

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    Thats a nice one!

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    That is not just an axe but a work of art, and an instant family heirloom... just beautiful, almost too pretty to get dirty, almost.

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    That's a beautiful custom. Lisa's got mad smithing skills.

    Have you ever taken the same axe and done a side by side comparison of a straight versus faun's foot handle? I'm asking because I honestly don't get what that dude's talking about at all...

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    That is beautiful! That's officially what I want for Christmas.
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