What would YOU do with this axe?

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Glenn Bailey, May 21, 2020.

  1. Glenn Bailey

    Glenn Bailey

    63
    Jun 1, 2017
    My hope is that this becomes a space to display/discuss axes that we look at and say "What do I do with you?" For me, when I get an axe it falls into one of three categories; use, hang on wall or sell. I have a few that are well wedged in-between these categories. I'll start, I hope tonight, with my first mystery axe. Looking forward to everyones thoughts, and really hope others have in-between axes to share as well.
     
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  2. Glenn Bailey

    Glenn Bailey

    63
    Jun 1, 2017
    Here is an Underhill weighing in at a health 5 lb 4.6oz! Pattern? Connie meets wedge? The transition from the tip of the blade all the way up to the poll is so smooth- reminds me of a basque axe. Subtle convex without a bump.


    So what do we think we know about the axe? Based on Tom Lamond’s research in his Northern New England Manufacturers book, Underhill Edge and Tool used the Boston stamp for marketing purposes. I know AATC and True Temper held the Underhill name, but no reason for them to use ‘Boston’ as well. I have 1) no reason to believe it’s not Underhill Edge Tool and 2) even if it’s not UETC, it’s of the same era. With lots of confidence, I’m calling it 1890 or earlier.


    As a wall hanger- it’s not pretty and it’s heavy. It doesn’t scream ‘special’ to the eye.


    As a user, it will be magnificent, I’m sure! But doing what? At 5+ pounds, I’m not choosing this to swing at standing trees. I could buck with it, and it will work, but still pretty heavy for the task (and I have better options). As a splitter, it would be the best ever! I can see choosing this over any other option all day. But given the history, do I want to do that? And then, what handle? 36? Never. 32? That’s my splitting goto, but the weight. 30? Now we’re talking club! I’m 6’1” with a fairly long stroke to build up momentum with a short stick, but 5+ pounds?


    As a seller, I would sell, but it would have to be to someone who intends to care for the axe. This is the first time I’ve ever had the ‘to a good home’ feeling about selling an axe. Weird.


    So the question is, what would you do with this gem?

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  3. VintageAxe

    VintageAxe

    207
    Mar 12, 2011
    I like the idea behind this thread, I probably have some to add myself, and I like this axe. Reminds me of an old Douglas axe I have (see below), on steroids. If it was in my stable, I would put it on a straight 30-32 inch handle and take it to work with me, as "the old Billy Baroo" for those times when I'm wedging a big tree against its lean and need a little extra force. For the last 7 years or so I've kept an old Kelly Flint Edge that comes in at about 4 pounds (which none of my crewmembers are allowed to use) in my rig for snagging and hazard tree work. This would outclass and outdrive that one, and it looks like it would hold a nice edge for debarking and cleaning out face cuts when needed. Message me if you actually do want to sell or trade it.

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    Last edited: May 21, 2020
  4. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    841
    Jul 31, 2017
    My little, bit up Blodgett would be more than happy to be near younger, bigger 5 lbs brother!!

    It has the look of North Western pattern but with flatter poll like Ohio had
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    Definitely splitting axe.
    Here comes crazy idea: Loan it for one season to @David Martin so we could see what that beast can do with his unforgiving Emory Oak. After that give it retirement party and proudly hang it on your wall :) I will gladly pay for the shipping to NM so we can see that monster in action.
     
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  5. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Splitter or wedge banger. If you don't have a use for it there then sell it. Some collector will buy it.
     
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  6. I'mSoSharp

    I'mSoSharp

    679
    Mar 8, 2011
    Lots of my axes (and tools) are in the in-between catagory, the one's I use and hang on the wall.
    The users also have beauty so why not admire them as well? My home looks like a workshop, that's maybe why not! ;)
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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  7. David Martin

    David Martin Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Glen, yes it looks a lot like a basque. If in my barn, it would be used as a splitting ax. A good pole on it.
    Do you think it's hardened? DM
     
  8. Yankee Josh

    Yankee Josh Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    Samuel K and Rufus among other Underhills were in Boston before New Hampshire. They started in Boston! I have an Underhill hog splitter made in Boston in 1841.
    I have a pretty good size collection of Underhills.
    If no one else has a laid claim or made you an offer than I'd love to add it to my collection.
    It also looks somewhat like the woodsman pattern. But the other suggestions look promising too.
    I recently purchased a very old Romer-Bishop (stil trying to learn about the bishop part) with an inlaid bit. It's one of those axes that since it made it this far through time it deserves a peaceful retirement in my view. As does yours! It's nice!
    As I said if I'm not stepping on any toes and you are interested in having it appreciated and cared for, I'm your huckleberry. :D;)
    je[email protected]
     
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  9. Glenn Bailey

    Glenn Bailey

    63
    Jun 1, 2017
    Please add! By definition, this is about everyone else contributing. And that Douglas is beautiful. Does the poll narrow, or is that the picture angle? I hadn’t thought of a straight handle. Really interesting.
     
  10. Glenn Bailey

    Glenn Bailey

    63
    Jun 1, 2017
    I seriously gave the idea of ‘summer camp’ some thought. It would only delay my dilemma though. Your instinct on pattern may be right The 1859 Underhill catalog has this to say:

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  11. Glenn Bailey

    Glenn Bailey

    63
    Jun 1, 2017
    Given the poll wear, I don’t think it’s hardened.
     
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  12. Glenn Bailey

    Glenn Bailey

    63
    Jun 1, 2017
    It’s crazy how little info there is about the Underhill’s, beyond Tom’s work, out there. I wish CopperHill was still active. I don’t remember him posting much about Underhill, but being in NH, I’m sure he knows tons. And I’m sure there would be no better steward of the tool than you.
     
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  13. VintageAxe

    VintageAxe

    207
    Mar 12, 2011
    The poll does narrow, it's a pretty cool axe. Will try to get a couple more photos of it to share.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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  14. Glenn Bailey

    Glenn Bailey

    63
    Jun 1, 2017
    Here is my next offering. An adorable Rixford R55 Kentucky pattern weighing in at just under 2 lbs 14 ozs. Typically there is a weight stamp on Rixford’s of this era, but not here. It’s a full size eye so I’m assuming that it’s originally a 3 lber.


    And it is SO abused. Mushroomed like crazy, top of the eye is bent. It’s horrible given how beautiful this pattern looks on a 3 lber. The rest of the axe is in great shape- great patina, smooth.


    For me, it’s not a user as is and I hesitate to grind the poll and lose the stamp. It’s too abused (I think) to be a wall hanger (btw, I use this phrase metaphorically as I don’t actually have axes hanging in my house). And I have no intention of ever selling.


    So the question stands, what would you do?

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  15. VintageAxe

    VintageAxe

    207
    Mar 12, 2011
    Somehow these photos don't quite do it justice, the overall form of this one is really graceful with nice subtle curves. And the poll is strikingly thin, probably thinner than any other full size axe I've ever owned. Exactly 3/4" at its widest, while the head as a whole maxes out at about 1 1/8" by the eye.

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  16. VintageAxe

    VintageAxe

    207
    Mar 12, 2011
    It's too bad they bought an axe instead of the sledgehammer they needed. At least the blade hasn't been abused much. I would probably give up on the stamp (it's kind of thrashed already) and see if a good blacksmith wanted to try to fix the poll and the eye. I suppose that might be almost impossible to do without altering the temper, but maybe they could also retemper it and turn it back into the axe it once was. I'd still know it was a Rixford and take great pleasure in swinging it.
     
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  17. odinborn

    odinborn

    4
    Oct 12, 2012
    It's funny that I chose to get back into this forum today, and onto this thread just now. I have a slow night at work, so I brought a few axe heads in that needed cleaned up. The first one I did turned out to be a Rixford R55... I would post up a photo, but I can't seem to figure that much out.

    Overall, yours is in better shape, but the poll of mine isn't as abused.
     
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  18. Yankee Josh

    Yankee Josh Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    I've heard of a blacksmith who cuts a relief cut in the poll and then hammers the steel back and re-welds it. I haven't seen it done just heard of one doing it. So pinch of salt there even though it sounds plausible. I've got some abused ones that make me sad as well. I actually started a thread about abused axes awhile ago. I can't figure out how to link it oddly enough but it's called "why must they do this". Good place to discuss abused axes.
    But I've got a contribution and a mystery axe wrapped in one.
    Anyone heard of Romer Bishop? I've heard of the former of course! It's an old pattern with an inlaid bit. Not sure what I'll do with it if anything.
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  19. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    841
    Jul 31, 2017
    I suspect the actual maker's mark would be Homer Bishop & Co. Cast Steel Warranted
    1864-72
    https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Iron_Age/vuccAQAAMAAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq="homer+bishop"+bigelow&pg=PA1059&printsec=frontcover
     
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  20. Yankee Josh

    Yankee Josh Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 31, 2018
    Truly you are a wizard! :D:thumbsup:. Thank you! That would make a lot of sense and is in keeping with what I felt of the timeframe of when it was made. How interesting! Homer- Bishop was part of Samuel Bigelow's story and the Boston fire ruined that businesswhich led to Macomber, Bigelow & Dowse starting up. How cool is that!
     

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