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West handles

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by jblyttle, Mar 26, 2018.

  1. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Some prettty clear differences there.

    The thing is people need to swing a really excellent handle before they realize how badly they need it. When all you've ever held is crap you don't know any better. Once you know how good a handle can feel you no longer want to tolerate crap.
     
  2. Hacked

    Hacked

    947
    Jun 1, 2010
    Square_peg, garry3, Shimo and 2 others like this.
  3. A17

    A17

    959
    Jan 9, 2018
    I'm not trying to de-rail this thread, but have any of you seen John F. Mahaney handles? There was one at my local hardware store. I put a Plumb jersey head on it and thinned it out significantly. Mine looks a lot like the west woods handle, except it had shoulders. This is what the handle section looks like.
    [​IMG]
     
    Square_peg likes this.
  4. junkenstien

    junkenstien

    783
    Feb 15, 2017
    Is that a local hardware store brand?
     
  5. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    John F. Mahaney Company (mahaneyhardware dot com) is evidently "an independent distributor", and their currently available catalog (dated 2013) says this about their replacement axe handles:

    TOOL HANDLES
    Marion Hickory

    Ace Seal Brand- Heavy weight second
    growth white hickory; clear, the finest available.

    Standard Quality Seal Brand- Medium
    weight all white hickory; some
    contain a few streaks, small tight knots
    or red tips.


    However, the Marion handle company is "now part of or purchased by Tennessee Hickory Products", according to:
    http://hickoryhandle.blogspot.com/2013/08/marion-handle-mills.html
     
    Square_peg likes this.
  6. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016
  7. Batmanacw

    Batmanacw

    16
    Mar 28, 2018
    I like a handle that fills the hand, not just front to back, but fills side to side too.

    I don't like abrupt hooks and hard stops that create pressure points and hot spots. Huge knobs are not required. I left enough material to shape them according to tastes.

    I hate handles thicker than the head. I designed the eyes so there is a slight taper so a small shoulder is formed as the head is seated. I almost always leave the front line alone and take the material from the back and sides.

    A proper handle should flex and absorb shock. This means thin. Flexible is absolutely stronger than thick in this situation.

    Great thread. This was my first post!
     
  8. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    Good for you! You can't have developed these handle qualifiers without lots of experience, inquisitiveness and experimentation. Virtually every over-the-counter handle ordinary folks in north America have been able to buy over the past 30 years has been unimaginative and thick as a brick.
     
  9. garry3

    garry3

    Sep 11, 2012
    Welcome to the forum Batman. Are all your handles clear white hickory?
     
  10. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
  11. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    I don't want a hook but I do want an abrupt swell. It allows a slightly relaxed grip and facilitates a snappier delivery of the blow. Greater head speed does more work. I've never experienced a knob that was too large. My hand always stopped wear it fit me and what was left has never been in the way. Certainly 1-5/8" across the shorter dimension of the swell isn't excessive. Of course size will restrict the number of hafts you're able to make out of a slab of hickory.
     
  12. Batmanacw

    Batmanacw

    16
    Mar 28, 2018
    Almost all. A small percentage have streaks of brown. I snatch up many of the all brown hickory for myself. Far from being weaker, they are very strong and pretty too.
     
  13. droppoint1

    droppoint1

    208
    Nov 16, 2009
    -
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
    garry3 likes this.
  14. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    I've posted this before but here it is again.

    [​IMG]

    So around 14 gr/i might be optimum. But in the past few years I've many good tough handles in the 10-12 gr/i range. If I'm in the 5-20 range then I let grain orientation and lack of runout be the deciding factors.
     
    droppoint1 likes this.
  15. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    I looked at that data and wrote this about it in an earlier thread:

    Taking a closer look, however, it doesn't seem so cut-and-dried. From the graphs, it's clear that for hickory with 5 to 20 growth rings per inch, the "Strength At Maximum Load" is around 11,000 (the units aren't labelled), but for between 20 - 35 rings per inch, the Strength doesn't drop below 10,000. So that's only about a 10% reduction in strength if you have 35 rings per inch, compared to the ideal. Is this enough reason (by itself) to reject a handle, or will it still be strong enough (if there's no problem with grain runout, etc.)?

    Looking at the graph of shock-resisting ability ("Bending Work to Maximum Load"), 5 - 11 rings per inch gives the highest values, while there's a plateau between 14 - 38 rings with roughly the same values.

    Based on this data, it looks like the best hickory would have 5 rings per inch. Increasing from 5 to 11 rings per inch would slightly increase the strength (less than 5% increase), but the shock-resisting ability would decrease by 17% (or so). Between 11 - 35 rings per inch, the shock-resisting ability is about the same, while strength drops slightly as the number of rings increases.

    So my takeaway from this data is that I would not reject a handle solely on the basis of rings per inch, unless it was over 35 (or so) rings. Especially since "in the case of normal growth upon dry situations... the slow-growing material may be strong and tough". In other words, the slow-growing, many-ringed hickory could be stronger and tougher than shown in the graphs.

    [​IMG]

    from https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/hickory-rings-per-inch-heartwood-vs-sapwood-etc.1222258/
     
    Square_peg, garry3 and droppoint1 like this.
  16. droppoint1

    droppoint1

    208
    Nov 16, 2009
    -
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
    Square_peg likes this.
  17. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Top-grade hickory is kind of like lock strength in folding knives...beyond a certain point the benefits are mostly theoretical, and you can get by with a lot weaker without issue so long as you exercise the proper degree of care. It sure is nice, though, and we don't complain when we have it.
     
  18. droppoint1

    droppoint1

    208
    Nov 16, 2009
    -
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2018
  19. garry3

    garry3

    Sep 11, 2012
    I agree. The early to late wood ratio is the most important factor, irregardless of ring count. But the best ratio of early to late in a given tree will be lade down when the tree is young.
     
    Square_peg likes this.
  20. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    M<y sense of it, (because I haven't got the cyphers 'n graphs to prove it) is that the pore configuration is more important for other things like flex and toughness and not shock absorption. Look at walnut, specifically sought after as gunstock material for its absorption properties, semi-diffuse porous, maple for bowling lanes floor wood because it is resistant to shock, diffuse porous
    Except early wood has the higher concentration of pores right, it's the faster growing, contains more open structure.ash-endgrain.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
    garry3 likes this.

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