Spent the afternoon cutting Oak

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by David Martin, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. thunderstick

    thunderstick

    513
    Jan 15, 2007
    I use a draw knife on my handles and remove the abrupt shoulder. I did it more to keep the handle narrower than the head to avoid abrasions but I can see the added benefit of spreading out the impact/flex area.

    I'm also thinking that maybe your dry climate makes the handles more prone split and shatter. Do you treat them with oil such as linseed or teak?

    In other words dry them down to install and then let the moisture content come back up and keep them oiled to prevent internal grain separation from being too dry.
     
  2. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    The hafts come with a lacquer coat. I would have to sand that off, then give it a coat of linseed oil. DM
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
  3. thunderstick

    thunderstick

    513
    Jan 15, 2007
    I buy quite a bit from house handle co because you can order unfinished handles otherwise I remove the lacquer so the wood can be oiled.
     
  4. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Ok, more time spent. I normally don't do this because they don't last me one year. Thus, I wonder how much I'll benefit from this extra work?
    DM
     
  5. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    That's some hella heat to be splitting wood. I hope you stayed well hydrated.
     
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  6. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Ok,I got this 1/2 cord loaded and hauled to the barn this morning. We now have 1.25 cord in the barn / dry. When I finished it was 95*.
    Still, it feels good to be at this point in early July. I cut this in Jan.. DM
    council6.jpg
     
  7. Hairy Clipper

    Hairy Clipper Basic Member Basic Member

    411
    Feb 28, 2009
    Uffda. That is too hot for an old fat man like me. But, you are one load closer to being done.
     
  8. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    That's what I was thinking too. I now have over 1 cord in the wood barn
    And that should carry us to mid Dec.. plenty of cooler days in between. I did
    have to split about 8 logs. The other wood piles need more. So, I don't have to rush. Dm
     
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  9. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    I split about 6-8 more logs today and they still are not splitting well. Plus, these had limb anchors. I'll let them cure more. DM
     
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  10. the-accumulator

    the-accumulator Gold Member Gold Member

    454
    Jan 24, 2008
    I hope the humidity wasn't also 95%! In the Midwest, where I cut lots of firewood, it's the humidity that keeps the sweat running in your eyes! I can't imagine doing all my splitting with an axe like you do. You are a better man than I am! T-A
     
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  11. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Thanks, it wasn't bad today. About 90*, with low humidity. I now have about a cord and a half in the barn. I'll do no more until it cools down. This should carry us thru Dec.. There are others on here who split with hand tools. DM
     
  12. Yankee Josh

    Yankee Josh Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    I have often wondered, "how long did an axe helve, or hang, last a woodsman back in the day". And unfortunately no one seems to know.
    I am of the opinion that that only lasted a couple months or maybe 3 months tops. That is being used all day, every day.
    Thousands upon many thousands of hard whacks into a tree. A slight wrench free, a hard wrench free what, a dozen times a day?
    Your tough oak David wears em out in a year. Granted splitting is tougher than falling on an axe helve.
    But say you were splitting 8 hours a day David, how long would your helve last you? 3 months?
    Obviously there's a lot of room for speculation and I could be way off. I just thought it was an interesting subject.
     
  13. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    924
    Jul 31, 2017
    I have 1930ies Sager Cruiser with Adirondack handle. Only one side is worn badly. Assuming the haft was replaced often, both edges would be worn in equal manner. Granted, Sager Chemical is only 2.5 lbs so it does not compare to Dave's axes.

    Considering tough, interconnecting fibers in Dave's wood I wonder if there would be any benefit for him using axes with long cutting edge: fat cheek Jerseys or Connies.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2020
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  14. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    When I have many rounds cut and ready to to split. I normally only split for
    2-3 hrs.. Even on cool days. I'll try using a wedge more with a sledge. DM
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
  15. I'mSoSharp

    I'mSoSharp

    733
    Mar 8, 2011
    You probably know this, but a sharp knife 90° on to the handle (or a card scraper or even a piece of broken glass...) will get laquer or varnish off a handle in a couple of minutes without the dust & mess of sandpaper. With practice it can also leave a smoother finish than sandpaper. Then slather your chosen oil on, might be worth a try?
     
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  16. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Ok, ok. I'll do this for the team... I've done that with a knife and it will be dull. I've done it with a shard of glass and I usually get cut. And it takes me much more than 2 minutes. I would like to get a surprise.? DM
     
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  17. thunderstick

    thunderstick

    513
    Jan 15, 2007
    I use a draw knife to remove the that nasty lacquer.
     
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  18. Yankee Josh

    Yankee Josh Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    I can picture a cruiser helve lasting a long time. As you said, it's no full size head though. But even so I bet a cruiser used hard every day would wear out fairly soon.
    I've seen axes that were used, for instance in a shingle factory, ( @ithinkverydeeply ) for so many years that the man's hand wore into the helve and imparted this weird twisted shape into it.
    I'm not trying to be contrarian by saying I don't think helves lasted, I just honestly think they must've worn out as a matter of course. When you think about it, three months of daily use, 8 to 10 hours a day is pretty incredible! At the very least the bottom of the hang must've worked loose and needed to be rehung. Maybe one of these days one of us will come across some anecdotes.
    I use a spoke shave and remove strips of varnish all up n down the helve till I've removed about 50% of it. About 1 minute of work, then I switch to my orbital sander and just begin shaping or thinning and the rest comes off during that process. :thumbsup:
     
  19. David Martin

    David Martin Moderator Moderator Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    You gents are incredible. I hope you know I'll be timing myself with a knife. DM
     
  20. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    924
    Jul 31, 2017
    It is possible my worn toe was caused not by regular use but just one catastrophic strike into rocks (will never know).
    I run before into some documents about logging camp life, so it is possible the subject of frequency of replacing axe handles is mentioned in this kind of personal journals. I wish I could remember what search terms I used at that time.
    We are running out of time to hear eyewitness accounts of railroad tie cutters(maybe @The Old Dog could share his family experiences, but maybe in more suitable thread https://bladeforums.com/threads/curious-case-of-american-broad-axes-with-long-handles.1648686/. I am sorry David for going off the subject).
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2020
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