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Restoring an old axe.

Discussion in 'Do-It-Yourself & Gear Modifications' started by graveyard, May 4, 2016.

  1. graveyard

    graveyard Loaded Pockets

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    This old axe belonged to my dad, who passed away 3 years ago. I don't know what kind it is, or for sure how old it is. I do know that it's at least 35 years old, because I remember dad using it then, but its probably much older. I do know that he chopped a whole lot of wood with it, until he got to weak to swing it anymore.

    Anyway, I thought it would be a fun project to clean it up, give it a new handle, and put it back into use.

    Here is the condition I found it in.

    [​IMG]

    Here it is after my initial cleaning.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That was 2 hours of grinding and sanding.

    I'll work on it some more Friday, and pick up a handle when I go to town this weekend.

    I don't know much about axes, and have never re-hung one. I did watch the U. S. Forest Service video, "Axe To Grind". If anyone has any tips or suggestions I would appreciate it.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. graveyard

    graveyard Loaded Pockets

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    Forgot to mention, the head weighs 3lbs 12oz. It's 7.5 inches from front to back. The edge of the blade is 4.75", and the back is 3". I don't know the terminology for all that.
     
  3. adnj

    adnj Loaded Pockets

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    That will be a great project.
     
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  4. gdwtvb

    gdwtvb Loaded Pockets

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    Just make sure you don't put it on the handle upside down, I know of what I speak. The hole in the head is smaller on the bottom and then gets larger on the top so that it won't slip off the handle once you insert the wedges into the handle. When installed upside down, Even when wedged tight, anything in front of you is in extreme peril when you swing it...again this is from personal experience. (Old axe, almost symmetrical design with the exception of the hole which, after cutting the handle down to make it fit properly, I installed upside down.)

    Grizz
     
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  5. graveyard

    graveyard Loaded Pockets

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    That's awesome and totally sounds like something I would do!
     
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  6. adnj

    adnj Loaded Pockets

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    On your axe head, the beard is on the bottom. Nothing that you should be able to get wrong! Once you clean it up, a little beeswax, turpentine and linseed oil, heated and mixed in equal parts and wiped on to the axe head will keep rust away. That's how the old timers used to do it.
     
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  7. graveyard

    graveyard Loaded Pockets

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    I got some more work done on the axe. I picked up an American Hickory handle by Baker Tool Co. Got it fitted and wedged, and started sanding the handle. I'll try today to get the handle finished.

    So far it feels super solid and looks great! I'm happy!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. adnj

    adnj Loaded Pockets

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    This project has really come along...
     
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  9. graveyard

    graveyard Loaded Pockets

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    I got the handle finished, and a little more polish work done to the head.

    I just watched a video where they said that if an axe head has convex cheeks, from top to bottom, that it was most likely made prior to the 1950s. This one is definitely convex, so that's cool info to know!
     
  10. graveyard

    graveyard Loaded Pockets

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  11. graveyard

    graveyard Loaded Pockets

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  12. Crazy Chester

    Crazy Chester Loaded Pockets

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    Just noticed your pictures of your project. Awesome job. That came out great.

    I have an old rusty axe that I found along the road a few years back that looks like it has another life left in it. Looks like a project I would enjoy.

    How did you go about finishing the handle?
     
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  13. Westerdutch

    Westerdutch Loaded Pockets

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    Very very good job! Always nice to see a tool that has a story and proper emotional value behind it, is in good working condition AND is beautiful enough to hang on your wall without looking out of place!
     
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  14. graveyard

    graveyard Loaded Pockets

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    Thanks!

    I sanded the factory finish off the handle, think I went to 400 grit paper. I thinned dark walnut stain and wiped it on lightly, and back off in about 5 minutes. The next day I thinned spar varnish about 50/50 with paint thinner and rubbed on 2 coats with about 6 hours between them. I then waited a couple of days and when the handle was nicely cured I rubbed on Birchwood Casey Gunstock Wax.
     
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  15. Foulwind

    Foulwind Loaded Pockets

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    Next rusted axe head you find, try soaking it in plain ol vinegar for a few days. The rust will dissolve off the metal and leave a clean surface to work with.
     
  16. jester8798

    jester8798 Loaded Pockets

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    Very cool project! I have a double bit axe I picked up a while back that I've been meaning to restore.
     
  17. CG92

    CG92 Loaded Pockets

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    Awesome man! I did a similar project for my dad last year. It was his grandfathers axe. I restored the head and made a new handle. The head had some deep pitting (as could be expected with a 100 year old workers axe) but i gave it days of soaking in vinegar and scrubbing with a steel wool then when i had it at the finish i wanted i gave it a rrally long polish just with some grease. Works really well to fill all the pits and provide a layer of protection. Its been restore for a year now and shows absolutely no sign of reoxidizing.

    Before and after cleaning - i didnt want a mirror finish, my great grandfather was a tree feller and i wanted it to remain looking like an axe that had been used.

    [​IMG]

    Shaping the handle

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just after i hung it. I trimmed the top off and stuck a wedge in. Very happy with the finished product. I have never done any carpentry or anything like this before.

    [​IMG]

    Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk
     
  18. Anthony Bonacci

    Anthony Bonacci Loaded Pockets

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