Saturday, 10 April 2010

Axe handle

How frustrating is it posting on Blogger! This post was originally going to be put up a couple of days ago, but after an hour or so's composition I lost the lot when I tested a web link and then pressed "back" only to find a blank page! I did write a paragraph about what it's like entering a burning building and not knowing what to expect on the other side of the door, but I won't go through it again- maybe some other time. This was prompted by the tragic deaths of 2 Hampshire Firefighters who perished in Southampton the same night I was on duty myself. My condolences go out to the friends, family and colleagues of these 2 men.
I haven't had much free time for being creative as I'm in the middle of making some built-in units for the bedroom out of Oak veneered MDF and the wife has been on my case to make some progress. Didn't take any photos of me ripping down 8ft x 4ft sheets of MDF and making cupboards as they don't exactly make eye candy: maybe I'll take a few pics when the project is finished. I did however make time to start re handling some axe heads that have been awaiting some attention.

The largest one at the top is a 31/2Lb kent pattern head that I intend grinding to make a non offset Hewing axe that can be used to square both sides of a log without having to turn round. The handle will be almost straight and about 18 to 20" long, as per the Gransfors version. I won't be detailing the process of re handling an axe as there's an excellent tutorial here
As per the advice given in the article I am using Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) for my handles, this piece was felled about 12 months ago so shouldn't take too long to dry.

I roughed out the basic shape leaving it oversize by about 20% to leave plenty of scope for refining once the blank has dried. For scale the axe to the left of the blank is my trusty Gransfors Bruks Large Carving Axe.

The blank will now be left in a warm part of the house for 2 weeks and allowed to dry before the head is fitted. Here's an update on my progress with the Sycamore kuksa I've been carving. This too is now at the stage where it needs to be left to fully dry out before it is finished. The only way to achieve the clean facetted finish is to fully dry the piece as fibres tend to pull out and leave a woolly finish if finishing cuts are attempted on wet wood.

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