Looking for a 26" handle for a mattock...

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Pete E

Forager
Dec 1, 2004
166
0
North Wales
Hi Folks,

I have just purchased a vintage Morris No 1 mattock head and was wondering if anybody can suggest a source for a handle?

The head weighs about 3lb and is sized between a standard full sized 5lb mattock and the various mini mattocks, so a standard 5lb mattock handle will be much too big..

Ideally I would like to find a handle around 26" long to match a 58 pattern pick I already have..

I confess not being very handy at woodwork so would ideally like to buy something with minimum fitting required.

Thanks in advance,

Peter
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
4,095
3,262
Mid Wales
Farm supplies shops sell axe and pickaxe handles - even Wickes and Amazon have them - however, as I'm sure you've found, they are usually 36". I don't think I've ever seen a short pickaxe handle TBH.

I suspect the smaller head wouldn't go all the way down the handle any way so you'll be able to cut a few inches off the head end and you'll probably be able to get away with cutting a few inches off the other end as well depending on the shape.
 

bushwacker bob

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 22, 2003
3,816
11
STRANGEUS PLACEUS
Mattock handles are like pick handles and slip down a shaft the same. My mattocks are always mounted on pick handles as they are the same. You dont even need to be able to use a knife or sandpaper. If 36'' is too long get a friend to use a saw to shorten it.
 

Pete E

Forager
Dec 1, 2004
166
0
North Wales
Thanks folks, I was in the local farm supply today, but they did not have a huge range...I intended to return once I have got the head so I can see what exactly is required..

As this has a 3lb head, I think the eye will be quite a bit smaller than the one on a 5lb head....it will be interesting to see how it compares to the eye on my pioneer pick...it would be great if it fitted but I am never that lucky lol

Regards Peter
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,114
2,113
S. Lanarkshire
We used mini mattocks for digging at times. Very useful tools in the right situation. I'm pretty sure we just used an axe handle to replace a broken (thinking on it, I think it was lost) one. Bill's Tool Store, in Glasgow, supplied the new one.
I think taking your mattock head with you to the farm supply shop is a good idea.
We can recommend loads of replacement handles, but I think in this case you've the right idea on it and making sure it fits. Besides, this way you get to pick through what's on offer and find the best grain, etc.,
 

Pete E

Forager
Dec 1, 2004
166
0
North Wales
Thanks Toddy, hopefully the head will arrive tomorrow or Friday so I can have a much what's available over the weekend...

I have just watched a video on YouTube showing an American re hanging a miners pick...I was surprised to see he did it like a hammer, ie the head fitting down from the top and then being held on by a wooden wedge....

Is there a reason why picks are usually hung differently to an axe or hammer?
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
4,095
3,262
Mid Wales
I think Toddy's got it - you often use a pickaxe and a mattock as a lever; I suspect that could pull a head off a wedged handle whereas it only tightens a pickaxe handle.
 
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Pete E

Forager
Dec 1, 2004
166
0
North Wales
Thanks again...that was my assumption but just want to make sure I wasn't missing anything....I think the pick restoration I saw was for a "wall hanger" so it probably didn't matter, but my mattock is going to be used in the garden so needs to be done correctly..
 

Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,905
194
Knowhere
Why not make your own, it is what bushcrafting is all about. I have handled hammers, hoes, axes and hand picks with willow. If it breaks then you just make another. Of course if you have access to ash or oak then all the better, but for me willow really is an all purpose and magical wood, if it is good for cricket bats then it is good for anything. If that is a problem though just get something oversize from Wickes and whittle it down to size with a spokeshave. You might not be much good with woodwork to begin with but just have a go and practice.
 
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Nice65

Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
4,985
1,540
W.Sussex
Why not make your own, it is what bushcrafting is all about. I have handled hammers, hoes, axes and hand picks with willow. If it breaks then you just make another. Of course if you have access to ash or oak then all the better, but for me willow really is an all purpose and magical wood, if it is good for cricket bats then it is good for anything. If that is a problem though just get something oversize from Wickes and whittle it down to size with a spokeshave. You might not be much good with woodwork to begin with but just have a go and practice.
Best of luck building your ark from Willow. :lmao:

I like the post, but it’s worth pointing out that the willow for cricket bats is specifically Cricket Bat Willow, a variant of White Willow, Salix alba ’Caerulea’. Annoyingly the English growers of such a specialist species still cannot get the way of presenting it in Latin without using capitals for each word.


It’s not the nature of this wood to make a good and solid handle for a work tool, the cricket bat is spliced to the handle, the nature of the wood is to absorb shock to the flat surface as it connects to a cricket ball at 90mph and bounce it back out with minimal vibration or damage. It’s a shock absorber wood, but not strong.

Ash and Maple make good handles for longer pick and mattocks because they have strength and elasticity that helps dull vibration if you wallop a chunk of stone. For the shorter handle needed here, and dependant on the eye size, I’d buy a manufactured but preferably hand picked traditional handle.


 

Pete E

Forager
Dec 1, 2004
166
0
North Wales
Well the mattock head turned up today and I am very pleased. Size wise, it sits along side the 58 pattern pick to make a nicely matched pair so to speak..

The eye of the mattock is slightly larger than the one on the pick. The pick handle is just about useable as it just goes down a bit further till the taper engages, but there is no margin to spare..

Will see what else is available locally, but at least I have a working solution to get by...
 

Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,905
194
Knowhere
Best of luck building your ark from Willow. :lmao:

I like the post, but it’s worth pointing out that the willow for cricket bats is specifically Cricket Bat Willow, a variant of White Willow, Salix alba ’Caerulea’. Annoyingly the English growers of such a specialist species still cannot get the way of presenting it in Latin without using capitals for each word.


It’s not the nature of this wood to make a good and solid handle for a work tool, the cricket bat is spliced to the handle, the nature of the wood is to absorb shock to the flat surface as it connects to a cricket ball at 90mph and bounce it back out with minimal vibration or damage. It’s a shock absorber wood, but not strong.

Ash and Maple make good handles for longer pick and mattocks because they have strength and elasticity that helps dull vibration if you wallop a chunk of stone. For the shorter handle needed here, and dependant on the eye size, I’d buy a manufactured but preferably hand picked traditional handle.


I use willow because I have lots of it, I don't have access to growing Maple and Ash.
 

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