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Tractor Talk Discussion Forum

Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle.

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rdandersom

02-09-2018 10:49:12




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I have a 6 lbs axe I use for most of my splitting work and I put a new handle on last week. I thought I had done a really slick job until it broke on the sixth wheelbarrow load.
1 I brought the new handle home and put the business end close to the woodstove for 3 days to make sure it was good and dry
.2 Inspected the head and filed out old burrs in the metal. I observed that the opening was tapered.
3 Whittle a little off of the handle to make the head fit. 4Installed the axe head small side of the tapered hole first and tapped in a wooden wedge to hold it.
5 I put the axe head on the top of the woodstove with the handle propped up on a chair until the head was too hot to touch.
6 I tightened the wedge some more. I was surprised how much more it went in
7 Took the axe outside and let it cool overnight before I used it.
Did I do this wrong somehow and maybe get the head too tight? Or did I just get a bad handle?It broke cleanly with the head on one side and back about 5 inches on the other.

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mj

02-10-2018 21:56:54




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

in order to get a tight fit of handle to head you need to use a lead pencil and rub the inside of the adze's eye (the hole in the head) until some graphite is deposited on the high spots, then stick the handle in the head. Take the handle out and file the black marks from the pencil down lightly and repeat the process. It takes patience but the reward will be a good,tight fit. 8)

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Janicholson

02-10-2018 17:39:15




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
The head of almost any wood handled swinging tool, Hammer, Ax, Maul, sledge, has a tapered hole in it. The taper is usually a degree or two from small to large. The smallest hole always goes on the handle first. This allows the handle to be wedged wider away from the user with wedges. This creates a interlock that prevents the head from coming off even if loose. I watched 5 videos on line and all were as I indicate. I am just being as good as my grandpa on my moms side was to me. Jim

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GVSII

02-10-2018 08:41:57




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
Go to arboristsite.com.On the forums page scroll down to firewood burning.There is a thread on axe restoration.many,many posts on the subject with a few videos too.Very informative.Maybe I'm misreading the way you are inserting the handle.You should start the handle into the more open taper and drive it toward the more closed taper.



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rdandersom

02-10-2018 11:40:15




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to GVSII, 02-10-2018 08:41:57  
I always went open to closed taper before. I wondered if I did it the other way the wedge would work better at keeping the head tight. I guess I'll never know.



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onefarmer

02-10-2018 05:54:03




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
After several bad handles I went to using fiberglass. I haven't broke one of them yet. I have had the resin that glues the handle in let lose, but I just reglued it and been good since.



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Bret4207

02-10-2018 05:40:07




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
The soaking idea comes from the last ditch effort to keep a loose head on a handle. It's not a good idea to soak an tool handle in anything- ever. Linseed oils ad the like belong on the outside of tool handle- period. I agree that you probably got a bad handle from the start.



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Stephen Newell

02-10-2018 05:14:20




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
Get a fiberglass handle maul for splitting wood instead. You can also get a rubber bumper for the upper handle for times when you miss.

As far as the wood handle, you don't want to be heating it. Heat dries wood and the drier it is the more brittle it is. It needs the moisture content for strength.



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mjbrown

02-10-2018 05:02:05




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
Probably a bad handle not how you fitted it. Grain lines should be in line with the blade or swing. Lines too close together/ tight makes a brittle handle. Should be spaced about an eighth of an inch apart.



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carvel minne farmer

02-09-2018 20:07:27




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see that's the step you missed putting it in a pail of water to swell tight to the axe head, heating and drying it out has the opposite effect as you found out.



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Steven-id

02-09-2018 20:00:28




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
I have to agree with Tim V on this one. I was taught by a good friend that you want the grain of the wood parallel to the striking surface. If it isn't it is really weak. Look at a wooden bat, where is the label at? You want it either up or down when you swing so you don't break the bat. That puts the grain parallel to the striking point(or area in this case). At the lumber yard we got a shipment of about 20 handles and there were only 4 that were cut correct for their purpose.

Steven

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4520bw

02-09-2018 17:41:56




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
I always soak the head in linseed oil after I put the head on before I drive in the wedges.



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rustred

02-09-2018 17:18:31




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
i also meant to say that cold weather like -30 to -40 will break a handle lots easier than in warmer weather. the wood splits easier the colder it is so does the handles.



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moonlite37

02-09-2018 16:34:13




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
It seems he did a good job of fitting a defective handle. I seriously doubt you can buy a good handle. I make my own



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Russ from MN

02-09-2018 14:24:16




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
Maybe you got it so dry it became brittle? I always just use a rasp to custom fit the handle, I have never seen one that would fit right from the store. You could of just gotten a bad handle too.



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Cory Schmidt

02-09-2018 13:33:42




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
As others have said, bad handles do happen. Sometimes we go to the farm store for a new handle, full rack and we won't take any of em for the way the grain is(especially on head end).

Also is it a splitting maul(more bulky wider head), not just an axe. Yes axes can split but transfer the force different which can lead to faster handle breakage. After that the swing and removing a stuck tool can effect things too.

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jeffcat

02-09-2018 13:24:20




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
I use a carbide smoker for rifle and pistol sights. Use your acetylene torch. Tiny flame and pass it back and forth over the wood. Just a tiny bit. It will leave a soot coat. Fit the handle and where it rubs off is a high spot. Remove a little and repeat. You should end up with a very tight fitting handle.



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Dave H (MI)

02-09-2018 13:31:16




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to jeffcat, 02-09-2018 13:24:20  
Gotta admit, if you do that right it would be a clever way to fit up a handle on an older axe head that maybe is not real regular.



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jeffcat

02-09-2018 13:48:11




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-09-2018 13:31:16  
Give it a try, it is pretty slick. If you do machinest work you should know what Prussian Blue is. On a surface where paint will not soak in. On metal it makes an incredibly thin coat of color. Any high spot just jumps out at you. Today you can use a good quality black magic marker. The Prussian works better though.



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TimV

02-09-2018 13:46:25




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to Dave H (MI), 02-09-2018 13:31:16  
Carpenter's pencil, Sharpie marker, or even cheap lipstick, among many other substances, will do the same thing. In fact, you can usually tell where you need to take off material just by driving the handle on a little at a time, seeing where it's hitting by where the head marks the wood, rasping that area down and repeating the process. I've linked this video before, but it should be recommended viewing by anyone wanting to use an axe. The first 20 minutes deal with re-handling and the rest deal with sharpening and using an axe, but the same basic steps are used on most wooden-handled tools.

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Adirondack case guy

02-10-2018 08:24:37




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to TimV, 02-09-2018 13:46:25  
I like his videos and the ones that Wrangler Star makes aren't bad either. WS has gotten to the point where he gets a lot of stuff to test and evaluate for free.
Loren



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RedMF40

02-09-2018 12:21:54




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
I can't comment on your technique for installing the handle since my approach eliminates most of those steps. However, I bought a tamper few years ago, brought it home to tamp down dirt and gravel for a walkway. Tamp, tamp, CRACK! Used it for about twenty seconds. I brought it back to Ace Hardware, the store man glanced at the handle and told me it had a flaw that led to it breaking right away.



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rustred

02-09-2018 11:51:55




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
you should have soaked it overnight in a pail of water once handle was installed. you dont want the wood dryed out.



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Ian Beale

02-09-2018 12:45:16




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rustred, 02-09-2018 11:51:55  
Soak it in antifreeze rather than water. Seems the glycol doesn't evaporate.



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Jwmfarms

02-09-2018 16:35:38




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to Ian Beale, 02-09-2018 12:45:16  
Linseed oil works best. That is if you can afford to buy enough to soak it. That stuff is expensive!



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JMOR

02-09-2018 11:43:26




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
fiberglas!



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TimV

02-09-2018 11:16:52




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
I'd be leery of drying the handle any more than it was, either before or after installing it--you're creating conditions that could lead to cracking, checking, or otherwise compromising the structural integrity of the handle. Also, check the grain alignment--it should run parallel to the striking face, not perpendicular. A reputable handle maker will ensure this before selling a handle, but it's not uncommon to have the grain incorrectly aligned, and it's even more common in round or nearly round handles like sledgehammers and splitting mauls, where it's easier to install the handle in an incorrect orientation. Also, I'm glad to see you did not soak the handle in anything after installing it--that's a surefire way to have problems, as no matter what you soak it in it WILL dry out, and make the handle looser (not to mention eventually rotten) than it was to begin with.

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sms

02-09-2018 11:52:27




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to TimV, 02-09-2018 11:16:52  
Yes, do not soak.If you soak a handle in the head it actually swells causing the fibers to rupture and weakening the handle.



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rdandersom

02-09-2018 12:37:04




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to sms, 02-09-2018 11:52:27  
I was thinking of all the old pioneer barns that are still standing. The pegs for the joints were baked overnight so that normal atmospheric moisture would cause them to swell and never come out.



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jeffcat

02-09-2018 14:01:28




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 12:37:04  
I will tell you what! Some of those pegs you really need to whallop them good to get them out. But....some you can almost wiggle out by hand. That is when you find a cracked beam or they built the frame with spring wood. So blasted green in spring time by fall the wood has dryed so much you needed to drive the pegs in further. An old timer at one of those government "reconstructions" was telling a couple of us off to the side how they needed to tighten up the frame on one of the sheds because of that. Just repeating his story folks. Also you end up with sagging floors and rafters. There are two very old churches near me and you should see how much sag there is from front to rear in Those roof lines.

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sms

02-09-2018 18:33:40




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to jeffcat, 02-09-2018 14:01:28  
My understanding is that the holes were purposefully bored out of alignment so the pegs pulled the joint together and made everything tight.



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Bruce from Can.

02-09-2018 11:10:54




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 10:49:12  
poor quality handle is my thought



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rdandersom

02-09-2018 11:24:50




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to Bruce from Can., 02-09-2018 11:10:54  
I would have expected TSC to only carry the best products.



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old

02-09-2018 11:31:56




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to rdandersom, 02-09-2018 11:24:50  
TSC and good quality parts you kidding aren't you??? Most of the re stuff is China might work stuff



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gordosd

02-09-2018 19:14:01




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 Re: Proper Way To Install An Axe Handle. in reply to old, 02-09-2018 11:31:56  
Sarcasm.Bazinga



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