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Vintage Axes and Garden Equipment


spudulike
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10 hours ago, shavey said:

Double bits have that long slender cutting edge 

especially the Puget heads like the one you quoted

nearly 14” from edge too edge on some of them 

so they dont usually get jammed in the cut when your felling 

so basically when you have climbed up the tree 

you’ve got two sharp edges too fell the top out of the big trees 

and the weight and good balance gets it done 

 

 

 

Cheers.

I love these old films, proper man's work, no messing around. That tree seemed to go on and on, with barely any taper on the trunk.

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/t-d/pubs/pdfpubs/pdf18232812P/Part05_Types.pdf

 

 

 

Axmen will probably always debate the proper sharp-
ening techniques for a double-bit ax. The Forest
Service’s preferred method is to leave one edge thin-
ner and sharper and the other edge thicker so that it
doesn’t have as sharp a cutting angle. Ax nomencla-
ture refers to the thinner, sharper edge as the “keen”
edge and the thicker edge as the “stunt” edge. The
difference in cutting edges allows axmen to use the
proper edge for the type of wood they cut. The keen
edge sinks deeper into wood that is free of knots and
allows the axman to remove bigger chips. The stunt
edge is better in harder, dense wood, such as tree
limbs or knots, and allows the axman to work without
bending, chipping, or otherwise damaging the cutting
edge of the ax.
The visual differences between the keen and stunt
edges can be subtle. Many experienced axmen rely
on other visual indicators to identify the cutting edge
they wish to use. These visual indicators could corre-
spond with the side of the ax that has the manufac-
turer’s mark or may be a mark the axmen place on
the side of the ax or ax handle (figure 5–7). Personal-
izing the ax handle is a good way to identify which is
the stunt edge and which is the keen edge.

 

About axe grinds for different woods uses etc:

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/t-d/pubs/pdfpubs/pdf18232812P/Part08_Sharpening.pdf:

 

 

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So, the last one is finished. The handle is a Stihl unit and came with a red end, lots of warning shyte and a big Stihl logo. On the plus side, it is ash and had a very straight and nice looking grain. The handle was stripped, cleaned, sanded, stained and the end matched with the eye of the Brades head which I believe to be manufactured toward the end of WW1 so 106 years old.

The securing wedge went nicely on this one - very tight fit on the handle and a nice tightly fitting wedge, very satisfying.

I was reading an article online waxing lyrically about a 1.5lb head on a 17" handle...this is a 500mm handle pared down to 18" and actually works really well, light but powerful, ideal for whacking big logs down to big kindling.

IMG_20240128_172357732.thumb.jpg.931364b5dd7fc6d9a5a85980c8c6344b.jpgIMG_20240128_172420125.thumb.jpg.b045ce6df889d1977f5a20f5e2d866bf.jpg

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24 minutes ago, spudulike said:

So, the last one is finished. The handle is a Stihl unit and came with a red end, lots of warning shyte and a big Stihl logo. On the plus side, it is ash and had a very straight and nice looking grain. The handle was stripped, cleaned, sanded, stained and the end matched with the eye of the Brades head which I believe to be manufactured toward the end of WW1 so 106 years old.

The securing wedge went nicely on this one - very tight fit on the handle and a nice tightly fitting wedge, very satisfying.

I was reading an article online waxing lyrically about a 1.5lb head on a 17" handle...this is a 500mm handle pared down to 18" and actually works really well, light but powerful, ideal for whacking big logs down to big kindling.

IMG_20240128_172357732.thumb.jpg.931364b5dd7fc6d9a5a85980c8c6344b.jpgIMG_20240128_172420125.thumb.jpg.b045ce6df889d1977f5a20f5e2d866bf.jpg

 

Nice.

I find that the process of paring the handle down to match the head can be long and tedious, if you're looking for a nice snug fit, (same with hammers). Lots of trial and error. I generally go at it with a Stanley knife, sometimes a spokeshave as well, then a bit of sanding. Wedged with elm, oak or similar hardwood, then a small steel one.

What's your method?

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I use a plane and then a rasping file, that takes a fair bit of wood off but is very controllable. I get the end of the handle to fit then work it down the handle, bit by bit and leave the last part tight so the head needs a real good belt to get it bedded.

The rest is just fitting a well shaped wedge. I also use a god dollop of PVA wood glue over the handle and the wedge to bond it all together.

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1 hour ago, spudulike said:

I use a plane and then a rasping file, that takes a fair bit of wood off but is very controllable. I get the end of the handle to fit then work it down the handle, bit by bit and leave the last part tight so the head needs a real good belt to get it bedded.

The rest is just fitting a well shaped wedge. I also use a god dollop of PVA wood glue over the handle and the wedge to bond it all together.


absolutely spot on not much more too say 

 

just one thing too add if you can get hold of them 

is some used farriers Rasps they change them quite often 

and there fantastic for thinning down handles 

with a coarse side and a smoother side

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  • 2 weeks later...

 

I guess the market for decent no nonsense  good quality axes and the like is pretty minimal these days in the UK – whatever demand there is for new axes   being easily met by the usual suspects from  Germany, Austria and Italy plus Sweden - if you want something a bit more bling – and expensive. So what was a large industry has long ago gone down the pan but the English made stuff was great- like most people who have  spent a long time around wood I have gathered a rogues gallery of axes of various weights and lengths.

 Here’s a photo of a Skelton no7 , Sheffield. This thing weighs a ton, I was told  this type of axe was used in short intense bursts for notching and rounding trees out  before going at it with a two man cross cut saw.  I couldn’t imagine it being used for day long felling.

 Next up is a Whitehouse ( Cannock ) miners axe , stamped  “ Ty Gwyn”- i.e. Whitehouse in Welsh. Another monster , these were not used for felling timber but were supplied with  short- 2 ft handle with a distinct curve , used down the mine for notching round timber for pit props and collars. This photo was taken in Wales about 1900, showing the thing in use.  If you reckon you’ve had a crap day at work- maybe dropped the butties in the sh*t or a bit of drizzle has blown in, then think on! A crap day for these lads was the roof caving in or a gas explosion…PPE uh ?

This particular axe came from my grandfather in Accrington- he wasn’t a miner ,but there was , until the early 60 ‘s a pit right in the centre of  town behind  the railway station – Scaitcliffe Colliery. This axe somehow found its way from the mine to him, its obviously seen a bit of action. A massive amount  of timber was used way back for props, before steel came in. In  North East Lancs much of it came down from Scotland, although in the major mining areas it was mostly imported , there wasn’t enough produced in the UK.

Among the heavier axes  I own is a Wetterlings 4 1/2 lb- made in the 70 ‘s  before they concentrated on the more artisan  Gransfors style axes they became  known for.

I still use a variety of mid weight axes and billhooks for snedding and trimming work- if it’s a decent sunny day and I’m working on my own account for an afternoon or so sorting out windblowns for firewood. ( otherwise it’s chainsaw only …)  The billhooks are a Whitehouse no 6, red handle  and a much heavier Brades- both take a cracking edge.  Finding a 2 ½ - 3 lb English axe at a good price is not so easy ,so at risk of sounding unpatriotic,  my go to axes are a 2 1/2 lb Weibelhaus ( long dead German make, great piece of steel ) plus a couple of newer Oschenkopf Iltis  axes – 800  and 1000 gram heads.  I’ve got various Ewell and Gilpin hatchets, and a collection of no name small  DIY axes mostly handed on to me but they don’t get out much.

The last stamp is from a 610081826_WhatsAppImage2024-02-12at21_42.05_548b3d73.thumb.jpg.6914f63a7df875d9360da876269c23f8.jpgSkinner and Johnson slasher ( Retford ) which still gets used. 

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