Bernard Ten Bears' Link of the Day: http://www.shawandtenney.com/ (Old Town, Maine...paddles, baskets, etc.-pricey but nice.) [Editor's note - I have lusted over their stuff myself, with no result yet - M.O.H.]
Belt Axe, Part 2
Well, I kept my word. I hacked and rasped and whittled until I got the head on the hammer handle. I'm not completely satisfied with the results, but it will definitely work and will fit well in the pack basket.
I didn't document everything in the process, mostly because I was in a hurry and most of you have seen it all before. One thing that I DID do was something I saw on a USFS video that both Ross and I posted a month or two back. In the video, the man tightened the head into place by giving the bottom of the handle a whack with a hammer whilst the whole outfit was hung upside down. Hello, WINNING! I tried it and it is a very good method of setting the head down deeper onto the haft. I'll get a picture of it next time, but I was a little blown away at how well it worked. I thought that if you held an axe upside down and gave it a whack without a wedge in place that the head would fall of. No deal. It set it further in on the wood and made it very stable.
I've been meaning to leave a little of the haft out the top of the eye like a Gransfors, but I tend to get carried away with the hack saw.
Not bad. Actually fits very comfortable in the hand. I don't think it is hickory. I couldn't find anything to prove otherwise, but it carved much too easily, in my opinion. Seems solid overall and the grain is right.
I did a few tests with it just to see about the feel. Nothing bends me out of shape more than when I spend a lot of time on a project and it doesn't work out. Axes are no exception. When a small axe is too cheeky, it drives me nuts. I mostly craft and carve with my small axes, so I need zero cheek to get in on the piece of wood to make fine cuts.
First test, bark skinning:
Result: A+ ( it is a live tree, but it is on the snuff list for the summer.)
Second test: Feather Sticks
Result: A +++
I'm very pleased with the results of this test. The feathers were pretty fine and the axe didn't skip on the wood.
On the top, you can see that I tried the same with my other S&N HB axe. Not as fine.
Third test: Give it a whack!
On the left, one whack from my modern S&N HB axe. On the right, a whack from the old pitted S&N head. Advantage - older head!
I'm pleased. I hope it works out as well in the field as it did around the house. We'll see. Part 3 will come soon. I need to make a sheath - hopefully it will attach to my belt.
Pax Domini Sit Semper Voiscum,
Mike, Oscar, Hotel......out.