Author Topic: Axes  (Read 8158 times)

Offline headush

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Axes
« on: July 20, 2015, 02:27:38 PM »
Hey Folks!
I don't see a lot on here about Axes. Maybe I missed something.
I know a bit about Axes and their uses. I'm not an expert but I believe I can help anyone who has questions about Axes.
Let me know how I can help.
Thanks!

Offline SuperDuty

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Re: Axes
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2015, 02:36:35 PM »
Hi,
I would like to know what types and brands of axes to keep an eye out for, on the used market.  I frequent garage and estate sales, on the hunt for old woodworking tools, but I don't know what to look for in an axe and/or hatchet.
Thanks

Offline Mountain State Prepper

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Re: Axes
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2015, 02:42:07 PM »
I would also like to know what to look for at yard sales etc etc.

Further, what would you consider the cheapest axe worth the money?   I recently bought a milsurp tool rack and would like buy an new axe for it.   I don't want something cheap, but also can't reason spending a lot of money.
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Offline David in MN

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Re: Axes
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2015, 09:03:40 PM »
I have several...

https://www.lie-nielsen.com/nodes/4085/wetterlings-axes

Not a bad idea to get a Wetterling.

Of course I have "cheap" axes as well. Look down the blade to make sure the handle is in line, buy extra handles, re-sand, re-oil...

I've got a throwing axe I'd really like identified so I could buy more from the maker. I'll put up a pic if I remember.

FWIW many axes in my family came from the farm (50+ years old) A file, oil, and time are the only requirements to rehab an old one.
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Offline eternal_pupil

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Re: Axes
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2015, 04:06:35 AM »
Speaking of axes, I keep seeing splitting mauls pop up when i do a search. Are these really necessary as they seem to cost quite a bit more than a normal ax.
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Offline David in MN

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Re: Axes
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2015, 06:29:10 AM »
Speaking of axes, I keep seeing splitting mauls pop up when i do a search. Are these really necessary as they seem to cost quite a bit more than a normal ax.

Yes/no. Splitting mauls (generally) are hardened to work with a wedge. "Axes" are not. So if you want to do a lot of splitting with a wedge, you want a maul. If you just want a camp axe or something to break apart firewood you likely just need an axe.
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Axes
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2015, 08:36:05 AM »
I like hickory handled axes, not fiberglass handles.

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Offline David in MN

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Re: Axes
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2015, 09:28:15 AM »
I like hickory handled axes, not fiberglass handles.

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Rubbed with linseed oil. Totally agree.
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Offline Beetle

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Re: Axes
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2015, 07:18:56 PM »
I like fiberglass I break wood handles to much. Sears had great axes.

Offline SloSheepdog

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Re: Axes
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2015, 11:40:27 AM »
FiskasX7 is what I have - not a piece of art but it cuts well. Fiberglass handle. Made in China. But it works.

http://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-78506935-X7-Hatchet-14-Inch/dp/B0002YTO7E/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1438277812&sr=8-2&keywords=fiskars+axe
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Offline r_w

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Re: Axes
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2015, 11:45:53 AM »
There are lots of good old brands, and some real junk, to be found in garage or estate sales.  Many have no markings, you just have to know how to judge the quality of the steel and the care given to it. 

I have a gransfors splitting maul, probably the most expensive hand tool I will ever buy.  And I will buy another one when my son leaves home because he has already claimed it.  It will outsplit a twenty ton hydraulic splitter and sounds much better while doing it.

Offline 16onRockandRoll

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Re: Axes
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2015, 03:35:52 PM »
I have a nice Craftsman axe with what I thought was a fiber handle, but it flexes more than I am used to. I think it's polymer. I'm probably going to pick up a hickory handle as a spare. Ever since I started using linseed oil, I like wood handles more.

Thinking back to growing up though, any axes or sledges my kids use will probably be fiberglass. I broke a couple of wood handles because I missed a piece of wood or a splitting wedge, but never broke a fiber handle like that.
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Offline OhCanada

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Re: Axes
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2015, 11:18:46 PM »
Axes are pretty basic and not much to talk about after you get one in working condition. There is a Axe Junkie forum on Facebook that is pretty good.

Some topics for here: places to buy new handles, carving your own handles, hanging your head ;), sharpening your axes, making axe sheaths, and taking care of your handles.

As for brands (new or old) you are looking on the head for: Made in Sweden, Made in Finland, Made in USA, and Made in Canada; stay away from anything else. I have a few Hults Bruks to hang when I can find the right handles; I got them at flea markets for 1/10 the cost of new made in Sweden axes.

Oh, speaking of hanging heads, it is also nice to take about head weight to handle length ratio. I like 1 1/4# to 1 1/2# hachets to have 14"-19" handles, 2 1/2# to 2 3/4# axes to have 21" handles, and 3+# axes to have 26" handles.

PS, it is almost a thing of the past now, but keep an eye out for the older made in USA Nicolson axe files, they come with their own handle as part of the file and say AXE on them.

Offline msparks

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Re: Axes
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2015, 11:10:27 AM »

Best place for handles? I inherited a couple of axes, a double bit and a 8# maul. Both need re-handled. Where is the best place to get new ones? Anything I need to look out for?
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Offline 16onRockandRoll

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Re: Axes
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2015, 10:17:37 AM »
Try to find them w/o lacquer finish. Rub in linseed oil to preserve instead. The lacquer finish will eventually crack, allowing moisture in, and I have found them to get uncomfortably rough. Not sure on where to purchase though.
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Offline Carl

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Re: Axes
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2015, 12:07:05 PM »
Best place for handles? I inherited a couple of axes, a double bit and a 8# maul. Both need re-handled. Where is the best place to get new ones? Anything I need to look out for?

I found some in the tool handle rack at ACE HARDWARE near my home.
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Offline Knecht

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Re: Axes
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2015, 03:40:51 AM »
The most important thing to look for is the grain on those handles. Must be as straight and lengthwise as possible.
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Offline machinisttx

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Re: Axes
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2016, 03:32:43 PM »
Before you get an axe you need to decide what you actually want to do with it. If all you want to do is split wood, then you need a splitting maul or splitting wedges and a sledgehammer. Do not use the poll of an axe to drive steel wedges/nails/tent stakes/etc.. The poll isn't hardened and you will accomplish nothing more than mushrooming and possibly(eventually) ruining it. Plastic or wooden wedges are fine. There are "splitting axes" out there, but they are single purpose tools. An axe sharpened and profiled for splitting won't work well, if at all for chopping wood, and an axe sharpened/profiled for chopping won't work well as a splitter.

Double bit axes give you two cutting edges, but no way to drive plastic or wood wedges. Not sure why, but I find a lot more double bit axes than singles. One edge is usually sharpened with a blunter angle than the other so that it's less easily chipped or damaged when cutting small stuff close to the ground. The other edge is used for chopping. IMO, they are more dangerous to work with as if you swing and it hangs a springy unseen obstruction, you now have a sharp edge being driven back toward you..rather than the flat poll of a single bit. Completely unsuitable for splitting wood as well IMO.

http://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/pdfpubs/pdf99232823/pdf99232823Pdpi300.pdf is a US forestry service publication free for download. Good info. Also explains and illustrates how the grain of the handle should be oriented.

Kelly, Collins, Snow and Nealy, Council, and Plumb are good old brands(not an exhaustive list by any means). There were many good manufacturers of axes in the U.S.. Council still makes axes, but from what I have read their quality is not what it once was. I have a recent production Council "Cruiser" double bit that is well tempered on one side and not on the other. One tip I can give you about buying old axe heads is that if you soak them in vinegar to remove rust(don't do this if it still has a good handle in it), the temper line will be exposed and you'll be able to see exactly how much hard steel is left.
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Offline trekker111

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Re: Axes
« Reply #18 on: May 22, 2016, 08:26:06 AM »
As a certified axe junkie, I want to add autine to the mix, as I haven't seen them mentioned yet or at least I missed it.

If a person is wanting to learn more about axes, I cannot recommend the Wranglerstar YouTube channel enough. I thought I knew a lot, but I still learned a few things.

Personnally, for camp and general woods use I prefer an American selling pattern, in a "boys axe" size. Properly maintained and sharpened, it is IMO the best of both worlds. Able to do much more than a hatchet, yet lighter than a full size axe.

And one day I will be able to invest in a Gransfors Bruks small forest axe.


Offline msparks

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Re: Axes
« Reply #19 on: May 22, 2016, 09:18:01 AM »
As a certified axe junkie, I want to add autine to the mix, as I haven't seen them mentioned yet or at least I missed it.

If a person is wanting to learn more about axes, I cannot recommend the Wranglerstar YouTube channel enough. I thought I knew a lot, but I still learned a few things.

Personnally, for camp and general woods use I prefer an American selling pattern, in a "boys axe" size. Properly maintained and sharpened, it is IMO the best of both worlds. Able to do much more than a hatchet, yet lighter than a full size axe.

And one day I will be able to invest in a Gransfors Bruks small forest axe.

My boys axe is my favorite, I use it for general small chopping as well as limping after felling trees. I prefer this over a saw, it saves gas as well as is more quiet and relaxing than using a saw.

It's common sense folks

Offline Carl

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Re: Axes
« Reply #20 on: May 22, 2016, 09:29:24 AM »
My boys axe is my favorite, I use it for general small chopping as well as limping after felling trees. I prefer this over a saw, it saves gas as well as is more quiet and relaxing than using a saw.

Let's hope LIMPING was a spelling error....
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Offline trekker111

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Re: Axes
« Reply #21 on: May 23, 2016, 01:29:23 PM »
I'm sure he meant to say "limbing".

99% of my internet use is through my phone, so I am always fighting autocorrect. The struggle is real.

Offline Davew223

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Re: Axes
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2016, 12:24:17 AM »
Look at the wood handled axes on http://www.husqvarna.com/us/accessories/axes/  these are unfinished hults bruk axes with a husqi stamp.  If you try one you will buy one or two or three.

Offline machinisttx

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Re: Axes
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2016, 12:51:36 PM »
I'm going to have to get my hands on the carpenter's axe and traditional axe.
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