Hafting... a different type of axe

Discussion in 'Other Tools' started by Hawkcreek, Mar 31, 2019.

  1. Hawkcreek

    Hawkcreek Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I know this isn't a bushcrafty axe but I use a rig axe pretty much daily at work. Vaughn makes a good one but it's near impossible to find a replacement handle these days. I've had my favorite axe several years now, I've taken it apart and with new wedges tightened up the handle a couple times but it got to the point of begin dangerous. I needed a new handle!

    I got one from the hardware store, was close but I thought poorly done. So I bought two from House Handle, they did not fit (to small) and then they wouldn't answer my emails. So now I'm out $30 and have three hickory handles I can't use... Well I've always thought the standard 18" handle on a rig axe was a bit too short so what the heck lets get to work. Walking through a big box hardware store the other day I spied a straight grained axe handle for less than a fiver. I've never "made" a handle before but what the heck for $5 I could try.

    Disclaimer: I know I could have just bought another rig axe. I did in fact but it costs another $30-$40 and they come out of the wrapper with loose handles. If I can find a cheap source for handles I'll be well ahead rather than buying a new hammer all the time.

    24" seemed a bit too much so lets try 22" for the new handle.
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    Juussstttt enough room to fit the head.
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    This is where the but of the work was done. Forgive me but when I get going I don't think to stop and take pictures. A little drawknife work, some bastard file work and lots of fine tooth file work.

    It's pretty snug when you get curls on both sides of your wedge!
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    Looks like it'll do nicely!
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    I picked up a package of round wedges from Beaver Tooth (I may try their handles next anybody have experience with them?)
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    Old vs Newer, another 4" of reach on a 28oz hammer... Ready for BLO treatment
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  2. bluecow

    bluecow Scout

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    Love it. years ago added a hawk handle to a broad hatchet head. it has become my most used hatchet/hawk. been thinking of doing much the same as you have done to another old hatchet head now you have pushed me to get started.
     
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  3. UAHiker

    UAHiker Guide

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    nice, just curious how did you transfer the eye pattern to the handle?
     
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  4. Hawkcreek

    Hawkcreek Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    I sharpened a pencil to have a flat edge and a very fine tip. Set the head on top of the handle and carefully trace inside the head to the top of the handle using the flat edge of the pencil agains the inside of the eye.
     
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  5. Hawkcreek

    Hawkcreek Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    So a bit of an update though pictures will have to wait. My new handle is decent but not perfect. It puts way to much torque on the handle where it meets the eye if you try to pull nails with this long handle but it is GREAT for driving in 6" spikes.
    I didn't have a perfect fit up and I've had to reset the steel wedges a few times now but it seems to have stopped moving. I always heard how great the round wedges were, frankly I don't agree. They seem much harder to set and come loose easier than the flat wedges.
     
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  6. Hawkcreek

    Hawkcreek Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    This was the last picture I got before I left that job. The "new" longer handled axe was wonderful here. A whole lot of 6" spikes were driven and that extra few inches of handle was a real help! 4 spikes per end of each truss for 8 per truss. 11 lines of posts at 2 truss' per post except the ends for 20 truss plus another 40 for the shed addition each side. Thats two days worth of truss setting due to equipment failure but it sure helped my arm! By the end my hammer swings were getting pretty feeble but it was MUCH easier than with a standard framing hammer or axe.

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    ETA: This is why I am not a fan of the round wedges. That is as far as I can drive that wedge down into the eye (using a 4 pound hammer).

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    Last edited: Jun 14, 2019
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