Epic Bushcraft Blade Battles

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by MJGEGB, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Spawning from a discussion here on BCUSA @Birdman and I are starting a new challenge for the edge tool users here on BCUSA. We will be doing a comparison between two tool options that we each enjoy and we both thought it would be great to get other members involved too. The objective is to see which tool(s) can process wood the fastest. If we can get other members to participate we will have a resource for comparing different edge tool options for new members, or members considering a different option. This also can serve as an excuse to get outside and put those blades to use. And finally, so long as everyone who participates shows good sportsmanship it is an opportunity for some comradery and maybe even some bragging rights. At the end of the day it beats the paints off a table top review, right?

    So for anyone who would like to participate post up what you would like to enter into a challenge. You can specify tool(s) you would like to compete against or just see who chimes in to accept the challenge. Challenges require a minimum of two members, and at the moment I see no reason to restrict the number of people able to participate. The rules below should be followed, noting that some of the specifics are left up the participants of the particular challenge to determine.

    1. The same or similar wood type and size must be used and agreed upon by participants.

    2. Wood must be cut, chopped or bucked into three sections. All three sections must be processed into three different diameters. Number of splits or diameter of finished material to be agreed upon by participants.

    3. Same or similar weight for tool(s) to keep the playing field somewhat level with weights documented. Sheaths must be included in weights.

    4. Time to complete must be documented using either uncut video or a stopwatch using and honor system.

    5. Tools found or made from common natural materials are allowed. For example, a stick can be used as a baton. Wedges or mallets or other tools used within the challenge are allowed. Time to produce the tools used in the challenge must count towards the time to complete the entire task. So, if using a wedge, it must be carved with the stopwatch or video rolling.

    6. A log may be used as a chopping block, but flat stumps and readymade chopping blocks are not allowed. This is to level the playing field since nice flat uniform surfaces are rarely available in the field.
     
  2. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    To Start things off @Birdman and I will be comparing a 12oz hatchet to a knife and saw combo of a similar weight.

    We will be cutting 3’ sections of 2*4 into 3X 1’ sections. Then splitting the sections 2X, 5X, and finally 11X

    MJGEGB

    Vaughan Sportsman’s Axe (Modified) 8oz head, 12.5” handle, 2.25” blade

    Mods

    · Paint stripped from head
    · Sanded axe head surface smooth
    · Profiled the bit to thin convex profile
    · Enlarged and straightened eye using chain saw files for stronger handle and ease of hafting
    · Hand shaped 12.5 handle made from a 14” scout hatchet handle
    · Home brew aluminum and chopstick light weight sheath made from an old crawl space vent cover, bamboo chopstick, and blind cord. The blind cord is awesome stuff with a single strand inner and outer sheath it’s like micro paracord.



    Screenshot_20170212-094618~2.png
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
  3. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

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    Edited:
    Got to my challenge late today. Will get video up soon. I copied @MJGEGB tactic of cutting about half way through then breaking the board.
    Tools used were a Mora, Silky Pocketboy, and a 16" length of fresh cut maple about 1.5" diameter.
    From start to finish, bucked and split, took me 2 minutes 52 seconds.
    So looks like both ways are about equally as fast. The next thing that would be interesting to know, would be caloric output required for both methods.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
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  4. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Keeper of the T.Darrah Tenkara Pass-Around Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Hardwoodsman Bushclass II

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    I get, and like the idea of comparisons, but I won't ever do something with and edged tool that involves being timed. Just to dangerous in my opinion. I'm not a trained and practiced timbersports competitor..
     
  5. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Well there had to be an attribute that was easily measurable in order to select a "winner" in reality time to complete the task isn't everything. I went as fast as I was comfortable, I hope others will do the same. The bigger picture is actually showing tools in use, and giving folks a place to see how different options compare. In reality time to complete is secondary. I can't stress enough that this is all for fun.
     
  6. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Keeper of the T.Darrah Tenkara Pass-Around Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Hardwoodsman Bushclass II

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    That's the ticket right there!
     
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  7. Keyser Söze

    Keyser Söze Usual Suspecto Lifetime Supporter

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    I have watched the whole video, good stuff, and of course you baton a mini hatchet even a bigger hatchet , they are sharp wedges on a stick
    But I wouldn't hurry with any sharp tool, hatchet , saw or knife , I put a hatchet heel in my kneecap 22 years ago not deep but enough, then I punctured myself with saw teeth ...even through leather work gloves...and I sliced myself with knives....like right now I got a cut on my finger from a knife I touched by mistake in a trift store knife bin....
    So yall , take it easy , is really not a competition. ...
    BTW. A bucksaw and a 5 lb double bit always wins :59:
     
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  8. GunGoBoom

    GunGoBoom I'm not lost, I've just misplaced myself. Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Good stuff
     
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  9. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    Great video MJ! You certainly show what that little Hatchet is capable of!
     
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  10. WILL

    WILL Guide

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    That little Vaughan was pretty impressive MGEGB! I'm following this! This is going to be a great learning thread.
     
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  11. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Thanks, I'd like to think it does pretty well for its size.

    That's certainly the idea behind the thread. @Birdman and I started talking about the idea for this thread after I accepted his challenge in your thread. Both of us were excited about the possibility for this to turn into something fun for participants, and informative for the whole community. Of course that will require participation from other members. I'm hopeful, there used to be all sorts of challenges like this on the forum I'd like to see more of it again personally.

    This is the hatchet you handled at the last VA meet up. Still thrilled with how the handle turned out. It's been working well as you can see.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
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  12. Madwell

    Madwell Supporter Supporter

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    Great idea thanks for sharing.
     
  13. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    I like this one! :54:
     
  14. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

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    Edited post ;)

    One thing that I will nod to a hatchet over the saw, is getting gummed up with sap. Earlier today we were cleaning up some storm debris and cutting up a bunch of pine. Wasn't long and my saw wad goofed and sticky. Not as much of an issue with an axe/hatchet.
    Nothing is perfect...
     
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  15. Area FiftyOne

    Area FiftyOne Tracker

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    Try spraying WD40 on your saw when sawing pine. Use PLENTY of WD40 and the sap will not gum up your saw.
     
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  16. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

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    Yeah, typically I use canola cooking spray on my saws before I cut to help prevent it. Carrying wd40 or cooking oil, or any extra solvent or oil is just an extra burden when in the bush.
     
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  17. Crooked Penguin

    Crooked Penguin Scout

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    I'm a little late to the party, things have been pretty crazy here lately. Cool video nevertheless @MJGEGB (diggin the shirt!) [​IMG]

    You're pretty handy with that little hatchet. Truth to be told I'm a little scared to pound on my GB mini hatchet like that, according to them (GB) it isn't meant for that kind of use (batoning) although they do seem to honor their warranty when people break it.

    I doubt I'd be much quicker with my slightly heavier GB Outdoor Axe though.

    But I'm almost done modifying my Junglas, I'll throw your challenge at her as soon as she's done. I think she'll do pretty good.
     
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  18. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Haha I was wondering if anyone would notice the shirt. You should be fine to baton your Gransfors. They advise against striking it with a metal tool such as a sledge hammer which is great advice. Hitting it with a wooden baton won't cause any damage to the axe though. In fact I'm pretty sure I batoned the one I had in my possession for a bit, if not I certainly used it to drive wooden wedges which is basically the same. I certainly won't hesitate to baton my Small Forest Axe ;-)

    It'd be cool to see how the Junglas does. I don't think this tread will ever get off the ground however.
     
  19. Crooked Penguin

    Crooked Penguin Scout

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    According to Gransfors the poll on the mini is just to hit fish over the head with, lol

    Even using it as a hammer to pound in stakes isn't advised.

    The smith who originally designed it was an avid fisherman and he developed it as a belt tool to go with his hobby.

    Supposedly the sidewalls along the eye are too thin to take much force. As far as I can tell they look about the same thickness as on the Outdoor Axe though, and I have pounded on that one quite a bit. But I've always been a bit gentle with the mini because of how Gransfors advertises it.

    Yeah, I'm still waiting for @Birdman 's video.. ;)

    Maybe things will pick up once a few more active members notice the thread. But it is still winter time in many places around the world which might not help the thread neither. I know I didn't feel like going outdoors much until a few weeks ago personally anyways, and we don't even get that much winter over here.. [​IMG]
     
  20. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

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    I tried uploading it from my phone about half a dozen times and gave up. I don't know if it's timing out or what. I live up on Mt Hood, off grid with weak cell service at best.
     
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  21. Crooked Penguin

    Crooked Penguin Scout

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    That's too bad. I wouldn't even know how to upload pics or video's from a phone though, I'm already having a hard enough time working a regular computer :)

    I just looked up some pics by the way, what a beautiful place to live just from the looks of it!
     
  22. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

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    It's pretty nice up here. Wouldn't trade it for anything. Losing true Internet access kinda sucked, but not enough to care haha. Haven't been up here a full year yet, so still transitioning.
     
  23. Murman

    Murman Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    @MJGEGB ok with you if me move discussion to this post so they can get back to hawks?
     
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  24. Murman

    Murman Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    Interesting post. Looks like youve thought about this before

    I watched a bit of video. I was thinking this morning about how to go about this. Id thinm since were testing tools with wood as close as possible we should cut the same way too - against a log or stump or chopping block, ect. take out variables other than tools.
     
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  25. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    That works for me. This thread never went anywhere, but I thought it was a neat idea.
     
  26. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    I'm a bigger fan of just seeing what things can do rather than going all

    [​IMG]

    Personally being a bushcraft site I'm thinking realistic and avoiding stumps, chopping blocks or any type of clamps. Generally I buck on the ground.

    20190105_153546_HDR.jpg

    But dimentional lumber makes that tricky. I was planning on using two limbs to elevate the section of 2x4 to avoid hitting the dirt. I'd also propose taking a 2' section, bucking it in the center. Then rather than wasting additional lumber splitting each side once and making two stakes from the best split pieces. Then using the tool to drive the stakes tying a loop with an adjustable knot of choice between the two stakes to show they are functional. Might as well toss in a feather stick with one of the other pieces of split wood, nothing fancy just functional. After that we can slice up a food item. I can do an apple because we always have them laying around for snacks, but I think my wife would have words for me if she found me slicing up meat with one of my axes. That's a luxury item in our house, something not to be wasted. I don't want to do time as a determining factor because that seemed to cause concern so we'll just let folks decide for themselves I suppose. I don't plan on rushing.
     
  27. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Well I'll try to start things off with some Specs here so we can see how that compares with the Camp Knife @Murman posted.

    TrueTemper Camp Axe from The Camp Axe A Neverending Story thread.

    This is actually pretty much what TrueTemper Kelly sold as a No. 0 Boy's Axe once upon a time.

    Edge length 3 3/16" it's actually just shy of that but closer than not.

    Total length from top of the eye to the tip of the handle is 25" not counting the handle proud of the top of the eye. Actual grip is probably something like 23.5"

    Head weight is 1.25 lbs

    Total weight is 1 lbs 13.9 oz

    20190111_172101.jpg
     
  28. Murman

    Murman Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  29. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    I was thinking about tossing in my Rinaldi as well even though it's new, and I'm probably going to change out the handle.

    Head Weight 12.7 oz

    Total Weight 1 lbs 2.4 oz

    3.25" Blade

    22.5" length from top of the eye to the very bottom of the handle.

    Unfortunately my backyard is a lake at the moment, so I'll have to get around to the task when time and weather permits. Not in a rush though.

    Edit: might put the Vaughan mini in the running as well

    Head Weight 8oz

    Total Weight 11.7 oz

    Blade length 2.25"

    Length 12.75"
     
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  30. Murman

    Murman Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    I couldnt go get lumber yesterday. I have some old pallets and firewood is all. Ill have to go this week
     
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  31. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Pallet wood can be a number of different species of wood. Hard to say what it is generally. It can also be treated or untreated which is why I generally avoid burning it. I think they are usually hardwood. I don't have any laying around either way. I've got three trees in the bed of my truck that I took down the other weekend, but going that route we lose the consistency unless we happen to have the same spesies and diameter laying around and both are either green or seasoned. Generally I like to buck and split what I gather while green because it's easier and helps to season the wood faster with less issues with sap wood rotting out and so on.


    Edit: any of this look familiar?
    20190113_145520.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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  32. Murman

    Murman Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    Naw i was just saying nothing i have will work. I have some old mesquite and some oak logs cut in sept
     
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  33. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Alright well finally got around to making a video for this thread. Didn't bother with a food item because let's be honest if the edge is sharp enough to carve cutting some food isn't going to be a problem. I made plenty of mistakes but it's a raw uncut video so it is what it is. I took 8 swings though it was technically in 2 pieces by 7. Shouldn't have taken so many, but again that's my fault, not the tools. I need to work on my accuracy. Anyway 2' section of 2*4 bucked, split, carved two stakes, drove them into the ground, tied them together and showed that they held.



    So the balls in your court @Murman

    I'm hoping to make some more videos for fun in the future, but it's hard to find time without interruption. You might notice one of the kids coming out to ask about me putting batteries in a toy :18:
     
  34. Guillaume Longval

    Guillaume Longval Friction Fire Addict

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    sounds like fun!

    not much time to make a vid myself (although i will try,+ i need to rehandle my boys axe).

    by the way; i find it much more carving effective if i rest the sheepfoot on the ground for stability.

    if i can, (and if its not too cold for the phone), ill make a run in a 2x4 with my boys axe, and an other run (same wood) with my big boy and a batoning knife...
     
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  35. Murman

    Murman Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    You got skills! What kind of 2x4? Tell us more about your axe ive been looking at them this weekend
     
  36. Logan Woods

    Logan Woods Supporter Supporter

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    Hmmm pretty sure I know where this started ;)
    Looks like it will turn out to be a good information source, looking forward to future updates!
     
  37. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Thanks. Being my own worst critic I made a lot of mistakes in that video. Most hits were too shallow, first especially so. They should have been closer to 45°. The first two cuts were spread too far apart. The first strike on the second side was right dead center on a knot. And the cuts on side number two were too close together.

    The 2x4 was just your standard building material. Leftover from framing in were my circuit breaker box was moved. I believe it was just one of these.

    The axe is an old TrueTemper 1.25 lbs Dayton pattern head on a trimmed and slimmed Council Tools Boys axe replacement handle. Folks have already heard enough about it here in this thread, but it's a favorite of mine. These used to be sold as a TrueTemper No. 0 Boys Axe, as well as other companies as camp axes. Unfortunately there's no manufacturer currently selling anything quite like it off the shelf. Council Tools has a very nice hatchet that would work well, and there is the vintage market. No matter how you slice it some effort will be required to put something similar together.
     
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  38. Murman

    Murman Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    I got a council tool boy's axe last summer. I have an older head to hang when I can find what I did with it, it's like 2.5 or 3 lbs. we had some old axes on the farm growing up but they were dull. thankfully I never tried to sharpen them as I probably would have used a shop grinder and destroyed them. I'm just finding out what a good one can do.

    I'll try to video sometime this week.
     
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  39. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Council Tools is a fantastic brand made not too far from me actually. It was around 2013 when I first realized what a proper axe could do, carful they are as addictive as knives.

    A good file is my personal preference for sharpening finishing up with some sandpaper backed by a strop. I've settled on bahco files, they are affordable and work very well. Every file I've purchased in store has been utter garbage, especially modern Nicolson files.

    Here's some good videos on the subject worth watching.







    And some pictures of my axe sharpening setup.

    20190102_172425.jpg

    Hole in the work bench, loop of cord around the shoulder of the axe through the hole and a foot holding it tight near the floor, some random item to wedge the gap between the bench and cheek.

    20190102_172439.jpg

    Once done filing I use sandpaper backed by a leather belt scrap glued to a piece of scrap wood. This blends the bevel together into a nice smooth convex and gives me the results I perfer.

    20190102_172727.jpg
    20190105_111001.jpg

    I need to get around to doing a comparison of the above Harbor Freight axe and my Gransfors Bruks. Been meaning to do that for a while now just to ruffle some feathers. Looking forward to seeing what the Kubo can do. Heavy convex blade should have some bite to it.
     
  40. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Wanderer Bushcraft Friend

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    Love the video on file use and care. Thanks for sharing that.
     
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  41. Murman

    Murman Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    @MJGEGB Im still working on filming. Maybe my son can do it this afternoon. I may end up owing you the best iv got so far has been about 13 stokes. Its good to test your equipment. With this edge geometry i was surprised that the sweet spot is closer to the mid point than at the end.

    20190202_125153.jpg
     
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  42. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    13 is darn good for a chopping knife IMO, but it would be nice to have other chopping knives to compare it to (hint hint other BCUSA members). The geometry looks good on that one. Bet it carves very well too. I'm a big fan of convex. Working on a convexed Mora right now as a matter of fact. The sweet spot being in the middle makes sense. You need some of the tip forward of the cut when chopping with a knife in my experience.
     
  43. Murman

    Murman Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    I can get about an inch on the first swing. Its th follow up that binds it up. Plus im wildly inaccurate
     
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  44. batmanacw

    batmanacw Bushmaster

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    You need some weight forward to help drive the edge deeper. It totally makes sense the sweet spot isn't on the end. 13 is respectable. Take your time and practice a bit. I'm happy to see people taking the challenge.
     
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  45. JD Miller

    JD Miller Scout

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  46. Murman

    Murman Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    I still need some tweeking but i got this in 7 plus breaking blow. But using a chopping block. 20190202_151612.jpg 20190202_151624.jpg
     
  47. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Yeah I'd like to beat 7 myself. I'm probably going to pick up a 2*4 or two just to mess with. Plus I'd like to add a couple more tools to the mix. The original idea in this thread was to find ways to compare edged tools so people could get an idea of how things work. But practice helps anyone improve. I'm certain others more accurate than I would be far more efficient.
     
  48. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Bushmaster

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    Alright well time to add something new to the mix. Same basic setup but this is my beater axe. What makes it a beater? The head is from a Harbor Freight hatchet which can be had for under $7 with coupon. I paid full retail for this one so it was $8 and change. To make things better it was paired with a reject handle. The handle is warped and has a worm hole. It was also fitted to a different head originally and so it doesn't have the best fit, but this axe continues to surprise me!!!!



    4 hits, but it's worth noting that only 2 were solid. Accuracy really counts, at least one hit was a complete waste and shows why I chose to back up such a narrow target with a log. I still need to work on my accuracy, especially with the added stress of being recorded it's as bad as taking a test lol.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
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