Camp Axe

Discussion in 'Wolf Creek Forge' started by Cro, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    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.

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    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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    Continued
     
  2. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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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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  3. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. KA-BAR USMC

    KA-BAR USMC Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

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    That is one fine looking axe!!!! I like everything about it!! Outstanding!!!
     
  5. DCM

    DCM The more I know the less I understand Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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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!
     
  6. jimbuddy

    jimbuddy Scout

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    My oh my .........love the head
     
  7. Shnick

    Shnick Bushwhacker Bushclass II

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    Thats a nice one!
     
  8. Ahnkochee

    Ahnkochee Bushmaster

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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. :7:
     
  9. Adam B

    Adam B Guide

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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...
     
  10. Crazysanman

    Crazysanman Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

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

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    I have. I find straight handles more accurate and more comfortable to use.

    A little more explanation might help clear up what he means.

    "The axis of pivot for a straight-handled ax lies in the center of the handle throughout its entire length from end knob to top side of the eye.

    But with the curved handle, any rotation is controlled by the chopper’s hands grasping the lower curve at the grip. Therefore the real axis of pivot does not pass through the ax head at all because the 10 degree bend of the lower handgrip is not pointed in that direction. The effective and real axis lies in an extension of the grip and passes somewhere to the rear of the entire axhead.

    "The trouble-making grip with its 10 degree bend subtends an arc of 4½” at the handle's residual length of 25". That means that the curved-handle axe already has a constructive "foresection" of 4½” behind what we have hitherto termed the “axis of pivot”. But there is also an additional 4½” waiting at that point. Remember, we stated that each ax has a fore-section distance of 4½” forward of the axis of pivot (by the string-suspension method). For curved-handle ax then, the constructive fore-section length between the real axis of pivot and the bit is: 2x4½”, or 9”.

    "So the ax with a curved handle will act as if it had an imposing bit 9” long. For a rotation of only 5 degrees, its bit will swing .78”, exactly twice what that same ax would deviate if hung on a straight handle. Greater rotation would bring greater deviation in the same proportion. This is the most damning case against the curved handle. It is substantially less accurate than a straight handle.

    "However, the human body is a marvelous machine. It can adapt to nearly anything. If the handle of a golf club were shaped like a pretzel, some people would still play golf. A chopper soon adapts himself to a curved ax handle even though that handle is designed to frustrate accuracy. The chopper acts as if there were a straight axis throughout the entire length of the handle, even though there is not.

    "But this unconscious adaptation has a price. Use of the curved handle requires more practice to cut well. And even with practice, the chopper cannot attain the results possible with a straight handle. In our history, this is at least partially confirmed by the woods professionals of the era when trees were felled with axes. These men graduated from single-bitted axes on straight handles to double-bitted axes, also on straight handles. Curved ax handles do not seem to have ever attained widespread professional acceptance."
     
  12. BeerBaiter

    BeerBaiter Scout

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    She's a true beauty! Craftsman(or woman)ship like that should last generations.
     
  13. Mtnfolk Mike

    Mtnfolk Mike Supporter Supporter

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    oh man.. thats a nice axe.. i like it a lot...
     
  14. Kerri

    Kerri úlfheðnar Hobbyist Bushclass I

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    Thats awesome im getting more and more into axes and starting to figure out what i do and dont like and that one looks amazing
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  15. WILLIAM.M

    WILLIAM.M Scout

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    VERY Sweet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  16. Mr.Black

    Mr.Black WILDEROXEN Tracker Pack #1 Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Classic Goodness I Love It thats a Beut!
     
  17. Lisa West

    Lisa West Guide Vendor

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    Im very glad you like it..tose are great pics, thanks so much for posting them..Thanks for all the kind words folks..I appreciate it..
     
  18. wulfesinger67

    wulfesinger67 Guide

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    ohhh shinnnney! i like it!
     
  19. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    One brown coat to another, damn shiny!
     
  20. lowcard1

    lowcard1 Guide

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    Friend that is the coolest axe I have ever seen and I am not blowing smoke up your backside either. The shape of the head and handle and with that color and that fine leather work that bad boy is off the chain. Great job.
     
  21. Howling Dingo

    Howling Dingo Scout

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    Wow...nice!!
     
  22. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Supporter Supporter

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    handsome ...
     
  23. Adam B

    Adam B Guide

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    To me, that's useful information. I really appreciate you taking the time to add the rest of the explanation--even though I'm not sure I agree with it.
     
  24. POGEYBAIT

    POGEYBAIT Scout

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    Drool........
     
  25. adkwalker

    adkwalker Supporter Supporter

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    Man Lisa's work is top notch you got a real sweet camp axe it will serve you well.
     
  26. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

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    that's absolutely gorgeous!
    looks like it cuts nice, too!
     
  27. NJWHN95

    NJWHN95 Scout

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    That might just be one of the most beautiful axes I have ever seen. Truly a work of art, and a functional one at that!
     
  28. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    In other words, which would you rather try to hit a baseball with... a straight bat, like they make 'em, or a crooked bat with an offset handle?
     
  29. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter

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    Good looking and practical axe. The stylish touches are terrific.

    Enjoy!
     
  30. BushTramp

    BushTramp Team Canada Supporter Bushclass I

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    That's a mighty fine axe! I totally understand having kit that fits and not being happy till found
    Good work both of you
    -p.s -for me -small camp axe 20"-curved handle (I like to one hand it)
    Full sized I like straight :)
     
  31. rlh2

    rlh2 Guide Bushclass I

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    That thing is hideous!!! As a fellow bushcraft brother though I will begrudgingly take if from you. Please just send it my way and we will never speak of that ugly thing again.
     
  32. Brownie

    Brownie BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Yep. I Gotta agree. For a full motion choppin' swing, it's hard to beat the straight handle. Just feels right. Good one on ya for pickin' up that custom beauty. Very nice!
     
  33. Loogaroo

    Loogaroo BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    That. Yes indeed THAT is the axe I want. Im done shopping, that is the one. Thank you.
     
  34. Lisa West

    Lisa West Guide Vendor

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    Thank you all again. However, I can not take all the credit really. My husband Phillip has been more than patient with me with the craft. He still teaches me and helps me with the finer points. He also does some leather/wood work if I'm backed up and need help; as well as most of the shipping for me. Pretty much all the tools we have, he was the one who made them. He started our forge with a homemade coal forge built from the bottom of a metal drum and a junkyard anvil, from nothing to what we have today. When we needed a power hammer and I said I would like to have the bigger #50 LG hammer I found for sale he sold off his knife collection to get the extra money. Therefore, my small business wouldn't be at all possible without him.

    Thanks again for the vey kind words.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  35. Gav

    Gav Scout

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    Wow! That's a great axe you got there.
     
  36. MK-9

    MK-9 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    All this time and I had no idea. Outstanding show. One of my all times favs.

    Oh and really like the look of that new axe.
     
  37. Mudman

    Mudman Guide Vendor

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    Lisa does beautiful work, I plan to email her early next year to place an order.

    Thanks for sharing Croation, I always enjoy your posts and thoughts on tools.
     
  38. hitrekker

    hitrekker Tracker

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    Beauty AND brawn! Nice!
     
  39. M3mphis

    M3mphis Scout

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    Stunning. I have a piece of gear coming from Lisa. This makes me even more excited!

    Grouch, I'd love to see a top down profile picture if you have a chance. I like what you did with the handle. It looks great, which is saying something cause I normally don't like stain on an axe.
     
  40. Lisa West

    Lisa West Guide Vendor

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    Thanks for all the kind words...Thats a nice piece of Ash, great grain and all..We were lucky to find it..
     
  41. Cro

    Cro American Grouch Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    roger that M3mphis, will do when I get out again.
     
  42. Yevoc1

    Yevoc1 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Thanks for letting us have a look! Very Nice!
     
  43. Keyser Söze

    Keyser Söze Usual Suspecto Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I'm so jealous that i don't even know what to say, so i'll just put in 3 smileys

    :dblthumb::35::dblthumb:
     
  44. The Warrior

    The Warrior Guide

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    That thing looks awesome!
     
  45. TLewallen

    TLewallen Guide Bushclass I

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    So beautiful. The coloring you used is what I have in mind for a restore I am doing now.

    Again, amazing work!
     
  46. Guest1450

    Guest1450 Scout

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    Just send her a PM.
     
  47. ACinSA

    ACinSA God, Glock & Tracker! Supporter

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    Abolutely gorgeous! I want one!

    Thanks for sharing Croatoan and beatiful work Lisa!
     
  48. c670809

    c670809 Tinder Gatherer

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    I love this axe. It looks like a nice profile and is very pretty.

    I'm wondering the cost of something like this. I sent a PM several days ago and haven't heard anything.


    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  49. scurvy

    scurvy Tracker

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    so is it a pain to shave with that blade, and use it as a mirror at the same time?
     
  50. captainamer

    captainamer Scout

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    Wow, I am very impressed. By far the best looking axe i have seen in some time.
    :thumbup:
     

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