Restoring an old axe

This is a quick post on restoring an old axe and adding an engraved handle using a laser cutter.

I had picked up an old axe which had come apart from its handle and the blade had heavy nicks and was blunt.

I restored the axe and added a new wedge to hold the head.

It was a birthday present so I also used a laser cutter to engrave the handle.


This was the original axe and handle:

I did a quick search and found a couple of interesting articles (including the awesomely named “art of manliness” site):

The first thing was to grind off the uneven edge and get rid of the old paint. the cutting edge was ground using a bench-top metal grinder and a sanding belt. The shape of the edge is important – its not about having a very sharp edge, more about the angle of the edge, which is designed to split and open up the grain of the wood.

I also sanded down the handle and shaved the end to fit the axehead much better.

A slot was cut down the axe handle:

So that a thin wedge of hard wood can be knocked in to hold the axe head in place.

The wedge was hammered in as far as it could go, I probably needed to have a wider wedge:

To hold the wooden wedge in place a small metal wedge with barbs (called a ‘hammer wedge’) is used. I ordered mine from eBay.

Above: A selection of “hammer wedges”, and below: the size 2 wedge hammered into place:

Here is the finished axe with the handle finished with some Danish oil.

I wanted to engrave an inscription, so did that using the laser cutter at Nottingham Hackspace. It just fitted, when put at an angle. I should really have done this before fitting the axe head.

I used a scrap of wood to test the angle of the inscription and make sure it was all working OK, before doing the real thing.

The final axe ready to be wrapped…


One response to “Restoring an old axe

  1. This is a brilliant example of how old technology and new technology can work in harmony with each other, rather than the new always replacing the old. So cool.

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