AXE MOB Question. Is there a axe head weight to axe handle length ratio to go by?

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by ratherbecampin, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. ratherbecampin

    ratherbecampin Scout

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    Looked through many pages trying to make sure I am not re asking this question. Mods, do your work if need be. Is there a ratio for axe head weight to axe handle length. The reason I ask, I have a small Hudson Bay style hatchet my dad gave me when I was really young. Crazy enough I could take you directly to the spot I chopped my first tree with it. I would like to re hang the hatchet head on a longer handle, more like a 19" for my woods trips. I see it as giving it more oomph when splitting or chopping in the woods VS using the smaller handle. I don’t want to break any axe rules or possibly be laughed at it public due to my lack of knowledge. I’m always broke and would like to purchase a Wetterlings or Grans Bruks but just cant swing that kind of money right now. Just dealing with the scraps I’m giving. Any help appreciated. Hopefully this will clear up someone else’s question about it too. Trust me, it took me some time to get up the courage to ask this without being worried of scrutiny.
     
  2. wilderness

    wilderness Scout

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    The size of your axe eye is important as to what length handle you can buy.
    For instance; you probably couldn't get a full size single bit handle to work (which I no that's not what you want. It's just an example), but you possibly could get a 19" handle to work if you can find one. It depends.
    Or you could try and make your own.

    How much does the head weigh?


    Sent from my vintage rotary pay phone
     
  3. vermillion8604

    vermillion8604 Guide

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    It has a lot to do with personal preference. I have heavier 4 - 5 pound axes on 26-28" handles and I have lighter 2 - 3 1/2 on 36" handles. Same goes for double and single bit axes. Generally 3 1/2 pound and up axes you want to be on a 32-36" haft. Lighter axes you want on a 24-28" haft. But it is still personal preference. Longer handles give you more power but also wear you out faster because they are harder to swing and also harder to control. Shorter handles are easier to control and work better in dense areas but lack in power a bit. Experiment with different lengths and determine what you prefer. That's the only way you will know what's right for you.
     
  4. xRangerx

    xRangerx Woods wandering bird nerd Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Does your axe/hatchet look similar to this?
    [​IMG]

    The head on this weighs about a pound and a half. And I went with an 18 inch handle and I like it alot! Has just enough weight forward to give it the "oomph" your looking for but I can still control it.

    Here is the link to my experience :)
    http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/showthread.php/84765-Hafting-my-first-Axe-(Pic-heavy)

    PM me or post here if I can answer any questions!
     
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  5. darkwolf777

    darkwolf777 Tracker

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    No worries 'bout that here, everybody likes to help and they know this is the place to get answers.
    By the way, from a poor boy, GB's & Whetts ain't the only good axes around. Vintage steel (Plumb, Collins, True Temper and the like) are very good. May have to look for 'em and clean 'em up and hang 'em, but still cheaper and just as good. (Hey, in my mind, if they cut well, hold an edge, can be afforded by me and are in my hand......just as good or better).
     
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  6. vermillion8604

    vermillion8604 Guide

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    Old vintage axes are better than the axes nowadays.
     
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  7. ratherbecampin

    ratherbecampin Scout

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    It is exactly that. I appreciate your post and followed over to your link. More confident now to go on with it. Thanks Brother!
     
  8. ratherbecampin

    ratherbecampin Scout

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    I believe its a 1.5 lb head. I dont have a scale that will weigh that small. I would like to try my hand at making my own handle. I have just recently started looking into building myself a shaving horse. Just picked up some lumber from a trash pile to go towards building it. I bought a draw knife about a year ago at a trade show for $7 to help with this venture.
     
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  9. xRangerx

    xRangerx Woods wandering bird nerd Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    No problem at all, I'm just passin around the knowledge! I would highly recommend househandle.com I went with the scout axe handle AA grade 18". I would say that it is worth the money to have them hand pick one for you.

    Feel free to ask any questions!
     
  10. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe Tracker

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    Hello everyone.
    I've read through a bunch of threads on here and figured I'd resurrect an old, rather then start a new one.

    A few years ago I found an old axe head in the forest while cutting firewood. From the research I've done, it's a Plumb rafting axe that weighs in at 4 lbs 6 ozs. It's in excellent shape, now that the rust is off it. There was no handle at all.
    I'd like to use it for my rehaft for the bushclass. I will get some pictures going.
    Anyway, here's my question.
    How long should I make the handle? Curved, or straight?
    And the biggest,of all is... Osage orange? I ask that because I've got a lot of it around me, and I'd prefer to make my own.
    I'd be grateful for any advice on the matter.
     
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  11. pipehand

    pipehand Tracker

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    If a rafting pattern, with a hardened poll for hammering, I would hang it on a 36" straight handle. I have 2 set up that way and they are used mostly as mauls for splitting. They will fell, limb or buck, just not the best at it. Much better than a maul though.
     
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  12. 62flint

    62flint Scout

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    Osage orange is stronger than hickory! I might be inclined to try it myself if I had access to some.
     
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  13. GKiT

    GKiT Supporter Supporter

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    Historically the Hudson Bay axes with 1 1/2, 1 3/4 and 2 pound heads would have been sold on handles in the range of 23"-27". The heavier the Hudson Bay head, the longer the handle typically. A happy midpoint is right around 25 1/2 or so but an inch or two doesn't matter much once you are used to that particular axe. Often the advertised length is a little less than the finished length in hand but early advertisements for the first ones commercially sold in the Collins HB pattern often listed handle choices of either 23" or 27".

    The Snow and Nealley Penobscot kindling axe is an exception as it was sold on a handle around 17" with a large palm swell at the end of the handle.. If you are buying a new handle, understand that with the shorter eye of the Hudson Bay you will be loosing a couple of inches from the handle length after the hang. Because of this and the difficulty of finding a decent 24" handle, a standard 28" length boys axed handle will work after it is thinned down some to match the proportion of the head. The width and scale of the handle being as important as the length in terms of a proper Hudson Bay handle in my opinion. You will end up with a handle in the neighborhood of 26" or so after the hang on a 28" handle. Likewise a 19" handle will give you a Hudson Bay around 17" which may be what you are looking for light camp chores or kindling. Anything shorter than 17" or longer than 28" would not have been anything you would have likely seen sold in the past in terms of the Hudson Bay axe of 1 1/2 to 2 pound head weight.

    Just my opinion but the small hatchet size Hudson Bays like the Norlund don't belong on handles much longer than they came with, somewhere in the neighborhood of 12".
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
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  14. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe Tracker

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    It's not a Hudson bay.
    It's a big ol' Plumb rafting axe. 4 lb 6oz on my food scale.
    I'm trying to post a picture of it, but experiencing technical difficulties...
    Please stand by...
     
  15. GKiT

    GKiT Supporter Supporter

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    Sorry, missed the date on that first post. On a Plumb rafter that size I would go for something about 29" to 32" but that is just me. I have been using shorter handles so long now that just about anything on a 36" feels weird to me.
     
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  16. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe Tracker

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    Thank you. That's what I was thinking. I've got a Pulaski I hafted with a straight 32". It's very good at felling, limbing, and splitting. Just not as heavy.
    But I've also got a 2 1/4 lb hult bruks that I put a 24" curved on that I love. It's a cutting machine.
     
  17. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe Tracker

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    That's what I'm thinking.
    I was just toying with a 36in for the added head speed, leverage I'd get.
    And being I'm 6 foot, I've read I can get away with a longer handle.
    I just measured my maul, and it's 32, the same as my Pulaski.
    Being I'm going to make it myself, I can go whatever I'd like, but that Osage is hard. I don't wanna do it twice!
     
  18. Bax 40

    Bax 40 Supporter Supporter

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    In my experience a longer handle means less work for the same outcome AND it keeps that STEEL a little further from your legs and feet.

    Osage will work fine as its very dense and rot resistant if its to be left on the woodpile.

    Hickory is prolly the most popular wood for good reasons, but many others will work fine.


    Larry


    Larry
     
  19. Derzis

    Derzis Tracker

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    Late to this, but I will say one thing: the 36" handle is what you get from the store 99.99%. After hanging the bit, you are lucky to have around 34" overall - at least this is my experience.
    For that 3lbs 6oz bit, a 34" total is sweet in my book.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2017

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