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Restored Felling Axe

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  • Restored Felling Axe

    I found this no-name 3.25 lb felling axe rotting and rusting away on the floor of an old chicken coop. I liked the overall shape and geometry, so I gave it some new life. A vinegar etch of the head removed most of the rust and revealed a good temper line with clean steel in the bit. It threw long, forked sparks on the grinding belt test, so the steel is at least sufficient. I painted the bulk of the head and cold blued the rest.

    I made the 30.5” hickory haft by reshaping one I had laying about from a local big box store. I find about 1 in 50 has the right grain, but they’re often clunky and oversized (except for the eye, which is often too small at the shoulder). This haft came up great with a pleasing balance, snap and spring, but not quite enough length along the top of the eye. I used dual walnut cross wedges to remedy that. They’re set into shorter kerfs than the main wedge kerf and terminated with small holes to prevent splitting.

    Probably not going camping with me, but I thought this might help those of us in the throes of summer’s heat catch a glimpse of the coming seasons. ❄️❄️❄️
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    Last edited by 4estTrekker; 07-09-2022, 08:34 PM.

  • #2
    Love the walnut wedges and especially your handle length. I've only restored one axe head, a vintage Collins Legitimus 2 pounder. Curious why you painted the head? Looked like it was in decent shape and from your other posts with wood handle Puukko etc, I would have thought you would go with the rust removed, or buffed.


    • #3
      Good question! Firstly, I just like the look of many of the older from-the-factory painted heads, especially the green heads Hults Bruk produced. (Better still we’re the foil stickers that many makers put on their painted heads. Pretty flashy fresh off the shelf, those were.) Since this one is unmarked and not a valuable collector’s head, paint it was. Secondly, and more importantly, I like the way paint cuts down on head maintenance over time, particularly when the steel is pitted. Paint is easy to get down into all the pits and doesn’t wear away over time like the paint on the surface does. This keeps rust from building up in the pits, especially when snow/water collects in them. Plus, the resulting patina over time is pretty nice in my book. It’s obviously not the only way to maintain an axe head, and some will say the paint can cause the axe to bind (which is why I didn’t paint as much of the head as many makers do/did.) But again, if this were a high quality, collectable marked head that wasn’t originally painted from the factory, then I would have left it bare. Again, good question. 👌