Axe mod and question

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Hammock Hamster

Full Member
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
Hi guys,

I recently picked up an old Kent pattern head from a member here as a base for a bit of a project.
I have always fancied a nice lightweight bearded carving axe but funds haven't been forthcoming for a custom job or commission so I figured I would try to make my own.

I meant to do a photo dairy of the process but only ended up taking a few for YouTube titles instead but here is the process as far as I managed to photograph it.

The axe im modding is the smaller of the two here


Removed handle and found suitable billet (cleft not sawn)


Marked out rough shape and cut out with hacksaw


Finished shaping with files and gave it a preliminary regrind and sharpen


Marked out handle and roughed out with axe and draw knife


Tidied and shaped with knife and push knife


Sanded down


Final shaping to hang the head


Now all that's left is to saw in a kerf, apply the wooden wedge and then a smaller metal one.

All in all in really pleased with it though I know some will cringe at the butchering of a perfectly good axe to begin with.
My question is would I be better off applying a boiled linseed finish to the haft before or after securing the head?

Cheers, Hamster


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Hammock Hamster

Full Member
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
I caved in and oiled the handle yesterday and fitted the head this afternoon.
Reprofiled the edge to a flatter but still slightly convex grind, got it up to shaving sharp but want to spend some time on the stones to work the rest of the tool marks out.

Never made a handle or hung an axe head before so the wedges (wood then metal) are untidy to say the least but it feels rock solid - time will tell through use I guess.







Cheers, Hamster


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Hammock Hamster

Full Member
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
That is a great job you have done there, it seems to be a popular mod for a kent pattern axe/hatchet.
I saw a few other modded kents which is where I got my inspiration.

I wonder whether it is a combination of their cheap availability and the large amount of material that lends Kent patterns to modding.
I did look at a number of cheapy hatchet heads as there is something slightly sacrilegious about butchering a good old tool but nothing else was large enough to let me make my chosen design.


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MilkTheFrog

Tenderfoot
Nov 10, 2015
55
0
United Kingdom
Very nice project! Been meaning to try something similar but old axe heads seem to be surprisingly hard to track down. Apologies if it's already been answered somewhere, but what kind of wood did you use for the handle? Something from a shop or something that you found yourself?

Also, kind of off topic but do you know what's going on with the wall in the background to all of your pictures? I don't think i've ever seen a mortar that dark :eek:
 

Hammock Hamster

Full Member
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
Very nice project! Been meaning to try something similar but old axe heads seem to be surprisingly hard to track down. Apologies if it's already been answered somewhere, but what kind of wood did you use for the handle? Something from a shop or something that you found yourself?

Also, kind of off topic but do you know what's going on with the wall in the background to all of your pictures? I don't think i've ever seen a mortar that dark :eek:
The wood is birch which is a first for me as an axe haft but it's what I had laying about the workshop.
I cut it about two years back from a fallen tree and didn't used it old so had a seasoned piece for the handle - time will tell if birch is up to the job.

No idea why the mortar is so dark, it's a garage that had some damp issues before I came to use it so may have something mixed in to help fight that?


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mrcharly

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 25, 2011
3,246
33
North Yorkshire, UK
I think your mortar darkness is for damp-proofing.

Made a haft from birch for an old, heavy axe head and it is fine. Not had any problems with splitting or stability.
 

Hammock Hamster

Full Member
Feb 17, 2012
1,061
77
Surbiton, Surrey
I think your mortar darkness is for damp-proofing.

Made a haft from birch for an old, heavy axe head and it is fine. Not had any problems with splitting or stability.
That was my thought, I use birch for a lot of my carving needs as it's the most abundant wood in my area and it quite nice to carve with.
Never had an issue with anything once dried (can split like crazy if not kept an eye on though during the drying process) and it won't be seeing any heavy use as it will be a dedicated carved.
I do have some seasoned oak logs kicking about but didn't relish the idea of trying to work them into a haft nor the inevitable staining I would get on my hands when using it, I assume this comes from tannin in the wood?


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Macaroon

A bemused & bewildered
Jan 5, 2013
7,115
270
70
SE Wales
There are a lot of buildings around here with dark mortar like that, because they sometimes used crushed cinder instead of sand in the mortar mix. Most, but not all, of these buildings date from the 1930's.....
 

Brizzlebush

Full Member
Feb 9, 2019
136
64
Bristol
That's a really interesting mod, and a great job.

I have an old Kent pattern hatchet that I need to re-handle. I've already reground the bevels for carving (flatter now), and it works pretty good. I tried securing the handle, but it's come loose after some heavy-duty splitting, now I can't get the handle out! Brute force and ignorance may be the way to go.
Thinking about mine, and looking at yours, I could probably shorten my handle (cut off under the head) and still have a usable handle. Although I might have a go at making a new one. I've got some Ash poles kicking about I could use.

How does it, ahem, handle? In use I mean, for the intended use of carving? I'm guessing you took a fair bit of weight out of it too? Too much to give it heft? I'm guessing there's enough weight in the poll. I would imagine it's nice to choke up the handle and get some more dexterity in there?
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,656
1,619
McBride, BC
That's a fine piece of hand-work. I appreciate the effort.
Birch is the foundation for the First Nations cultures of the entire eastern part of North America.
From canoes and paddles to snowshoes and pack frames = birch.