Monday, March 14, 2011

Belt Axe, Part 2

Today in the News:  This week is shaping up to be a good 'un.  Yesterday, the B&A Stowaway made his debut.  Today, I'm back with Part 2 of the belt axe.  Tomorrow, I'll grumble and snarl a bit about an axe that I once loved and by the end of the week, bmatt will return with a double-bit.  Exciting stuff!

Bernard Ten Bears' Link of the Day: (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.


  1. I wouldn't know my ash from a hole in the ground.

  2. Heh heh heh:-) Nice work! I think dad might still have the ax with the Grampy Bernard handle, want me to see?

  3. That is nice work, I like that style of head.