Axe Skills, and info

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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ineffableone » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:44 pm

OK I just found a very cool PDF download at http://greenwood-carving.blogspot.com/2 ... -free.html
Woodsmanship by Bernard S. Mason free download
I am sure many folk will enjoy this 1945 book called Woodsmanship by Bernard S. Mason

It is 65 years out of date which puts it back in the time when folk used axes and cross cut saws. It is written from an American perspective and has some flaws but I still like it. Lovely line drawings showing good practice for using the axe, manhandling timber, building woodpiles etc.
Image

I skimmed through it after downloading it and it looks to have some great info in there. A very cool addition to the other great axe info downloads and stuff in this thread. It was the picture above while doing a google image search that lead me to finding this, that image made me curious as to what it was from so took a look.

*edit to add, ok I just found another cool PDF download. Axe Manual of Peter McLaren http://www.scribd.com/doc/9356136/Axe-M ... er-McLaren

Image
If outdoor living is for you this manual on how to use an axe is something you need. If you love camping or are interested in survival skills this book teaches a valuable skill.
Also I should mention neither of these is a direct download, you can safely go to either link preview the PDF then decide if you want to download it.
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by the_alias » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:31 am

I managed to get out and practice today...been a while since I had an axe in my hands and it shows a bit.

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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ineffableone » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:53 pm

the_alias wrote:I managed to get out and practice today...been a while since I had an axe in my hands and it shows a bit.

Very cool stuff, getting out to practice is important. You even did it in the wet, so props to you for getting out there. Sadly I don't have a video camera to film some axe stuff, or maybe that is good since I have been going out practicing a lot recently since I got my new axe so would probably have posted way too much stuff, LOL :wink:

I do have one question though, what was that flat thing you were using as a chopping block to split on at the end there. I hope it was not rock, as you don't want to impact your axe blade against rock. I couldn't tell if it was an old cut down tree stump or a rock formation, I am hoping it wasn't the rock. If so, please don't do that again, for your axe's sake use wood chopping blocks.
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by the_alias » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:54 pm

It was a tree stump...

Bit insulted you think it would be a rock if I'm honest.
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ineffableone » Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:33 pm

the_alias wrote:It was a tree stump...

Bit insulted you think it would be a rock if I'm honest.
I am sorry that you felt insulted by my mistaken, as I said I could not tell. I thought it was a stump but then a little nagging doubt crept in suggesting it didn't look like a stump. I had not seen a stump that looked like that before, so asked. Honestly I did think you were smarter than to use a rock, and thought it was likely a stump. As mentioned I have not seen stumps like that before though so figured better to mention it rather than let it go and find out latter you chipped your axe on rock.
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by Turtlewolf » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:03 pm

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Last edited by Turtlewolf on Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ninja-elbow » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:37 pm

the_alias wrote:It was a tree stump...

Bit insulted you think it would be a rock if I'm honest.
It totally looks like a rock but I knew you wouldn't do something like that. I can understand any confusion though. :lol: Good work on the splitting Alias.
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ineffableone » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:06 pm

I thought I would share these youtube videos here from Wranglerstar. He put out some very decent axe videos and they are worth checking out. He also has some other great videos including Tools to Survive Economic Collapse and many about his homestead projects.

How to Replace an Axe Handle by Wranglerstar

video description wrote:When Axe Handles Break . . . .

Two things have caused most of the broken axe handles in human history: 1. Overshooting the target and smashing the handle.
2. Getting an axe stuck and trying to lever it loose again.

If you crack, split or break a handle doing either of those things, the only safe solution is to replace it with a new handle. Since that can be a difficult afternoon's work, many people have tried other solutions such as wrapping the handle with tape, pouring epoxy glue into the socket of the head, and numerous other foolish things that don't work. The first rule is: replace the handle.

Sometimes -- if the handle is only loose in the axe head -- you may be able to tighten it up with a new wooden wedge and steel wedge, but the chances are that if you're having trouble you'll continue to have trouble until that new handle is fitted properly in place.

Handle Selection

If you own a standard axe, a replacement handle will probably be available at your local hardware store. By that I mean a real hardware store, not the kind you find in a mall. There will be lots of pipe, rolls of fence wire, and probably the place will smell like feed and fertilizer. Somewhere in there they'll have a rack of tool handles.

Ash or hickory make the best handles and few store clerks will know what kind is in stock. If you have a choice, get ash. Hickory is more prone to shatter, although it's a tough and durable wood. If you have a choice between finished handles and unfinished handles, get the unfinished. Lacquered handles are not any better and blister hands much more quickly. If the company put lacquer on the handle, they probably didn't know much about handle making.

While you're there, get a couple of wooden handle wedges and twice that many steel handle wedges. They come in different sizes, so don't be shy about bringing in the old axe to match up to parts.
How to Sharpen an Axe by Wranglerstar

video description wrote:If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. Ecclesiastes 10:10

Tools for a Lifetime
Axes are handy tools for chopping down trees, splitting firewood, hand hewing wood for building, camping purposes, and much more. Axes are no doubt useful tools, but a when an ax is dull it isn't very effective,
and work is much harder than it needs to be. Everyone who uses an ax should know how to sharpen and properly care for it. Proper sharpening will lessen the time it takes to chop wood, and proper lubrication and care will help protect the metal blade. An ax handle often breaks after repeated use, so it's also helpful to also know how to replace the handle should it break. Knowing how to sharpen, care for, and store an ax will help it last for many years.

How to Properly Sharpen an Ax

A brand-new ax right from the store isn't usually as sharp as it should be, so even if it's new, you should sharpen it before the first use. To properly sharpen the blade of an ax you'll require a vise and a medium-grade mill file. Although it seems a power grinder would make sharpening easier, never use a power grinder. A power grinder can damage the blade. A mill file will allow for better control while you sharpen the blade.

To sharpen the blade, begin by clamping the head of the ax with the edge facing up into a strong vise. Make sure the vise is securely clamped around the head of the blade. Place the medium-grade mill file flat against the blade while drawing it upwards toward the edge. Lift the file off the blade at the end of every stroke. The goal is to sharpen the blade into a convex shape while being careful not to taper the corners. The ax blade should slowly taper from a wide width down to a narrow sharpened edge. Complete the sharpening process on both sides of the blade. Look down the length of the blade to check for uniformity, and continue to sharpen the blade accordingly. After using the mill file, hone the ax blade, and sharpen it to perfection with a well-oiled round stone. Move the ax stone in a circular motion. The newly sharpened ax blade should be lubricated to complete the sharpening process.
How to Make a Leather Axe Sheath by Wranglerstar

video description wrote:DIY axe sheath is a simple project. If you care about your axe you need to protect the edge. I use old leather I find at junk shops or thrift stores to make a inexpensive sheath.
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ineffableone » Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:31 am

Mors Kochanski on Axes and Bushcraft. How to use an axe Part 1


Joe Flowers talks with Mors Kochanski, or maybe more listens as Mors explains :clap:
Mors Kochanski, author of "Bushcraft" and wilderness living skills expert, talks about axes, safety, and how to use them. I interviewed Mors at Woodsmoke 2012. This is part of a multi part interview, and also would work well as an audio download. I'll work on converting that!
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ineffableone » Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:31 pm

mors kochanski, how to use an axe and axe safety, part 2 Master woodsmen series


Some great stuff from a living legend.

One thing I really found interesting in these two videos, Mors suggesting a saw more than once as a better tool for some tasks. I think that is such an important thing to realize, that sometimes your much better off switching from axe to saw to do things right.
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ineffableone » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:13 pm

I thought I would add some stuff here about some of the lesser talked about axe styles, but ones that are highly useful for certain tasks.

The adze and froe are often forgotten in this modern day, but are highly useful tools in the axe family. These tools were common and highly used up till the modern day. There are lots of antique ones that can be found in garage sales, and other places for amazing deals. With just a little attention these can be cleaned up and last you a life time of use. There are still some modern ones being made also, if you don't want to hunt down and restore an older one. These are great tools to have and work with, and show how diverse the axe family is and how specialized some axes can become.

Some different adze styles
Image

Adze vs ax use
Image

A little froe knowledge
Image
for full sized image go to http://www.retiredtractors.com/tools/pix/TheFroe2.jpg

Green Woodworking basics, shavehorse, froe, axe, bushcraft.


Making a beam, hewing, using froe, axe and adze


Using an adze


A smaller hand adze can be quite useful and helpful as well as it's bigger brother
Carving a Bowl with Adze, Axe, Gouge, and Drawknife
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbHcFw92B1A" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Hope this helps give a little overview for folks on these cool unique members of the axe family. Maybe even inspires a few of you to get out and pick some of these up and try your hand at using them for projects. Make your own singles for your house with your froe, make a bowl with a hand adze, or even hew a log and finish it with a carpenter's adze and use the beam in your home.

Having the right tool for the job can make things so much easier, as the first video points out, often people stop using the froe too early and just give themselves more work. You can likely do many of the tasks these tools are made for with other tools. But with these tools, the work goes a lot faster and becomes much easier to do.
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ninja-elbow » Wed Mar 27, 2013 12:13 pm

Scurvy and I have been messing around with a full-sized axe this last winter. MAKES A DIFFERENCE - boy I'll tell you.

First - winter camping under a leant-to (or just sleeping under a lean-to/tarp in general) you'll need a fire. Unless you haul in your own firewood you'll need to make it in the wild. Most of the time your pickins for firewood is lean. The classic combo of knife/small axe/small saw is OK but you are really limited to the potential of dry wood as you are only able to process small dead fall. There is some big deadfall out there and it is only wet the first inch or so into the grains.

If you can crack open a 15" diameter log, you will find some dry wood to burn. A small axe is either going to make you break a sweat or fail you getting into a 15" log. Lay a 15" x 5' log in front of me and I can split it by hitting it in the side, exposing dry and burnable wood.

I am now a big proponent of a full sized axe if you are relying on a fire.

To distribute a load better amongst 2 people:
First person has the full-sized axe.
Second person has a good saw with a 20" draw or better on it and a small axe.
^^that's the combo right there^^
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ineffableone » Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:04 pm

ninja-elbow wrote:Scurvy and I have been messing around with a full-sized axe this last winter. MAKES A DIFFERENCE - boy I'll tell you.

First - winter camping under a leant-to (or just sleeping under a lean-to/tarp in general) you'll need a fire. Unless you haul in your own firewood you'll need to make it in the wild. Most of the time your pickins for firewood is lean. The classic combo of knife/small axe/small saw is OK but you are really limited to the potential of dry wood as you are only able to process small dead fall. There is some big deadfall out there and it is only wet the first inch or so into the grains.

If you can crack open a 15" diameter log, you will find some dry wood to burn. A small axe is either going to make you break a sweat or fail you getting into a 15" log. Lay a 15" x 5' log in front of me and I can split it by hitting it in the side, exposing dry and burnable wood.

I am now a big proponent of a full sized axe if you are relying on a fire.

To distribute a load better amongst 2 people:
First person has the full-sized axe.
Second person has a good saw with a 20" draw or better on it and a small axe.
^^that's the combo right there^^
Some very good points there Ninja, I totally agree. There is some huge big bonuses of a full sized axe and saw combo, especially in winter when fire fuel is so important. Something else about using larger wood that you didn't mention, it does burn longer. So if you rely on a fire for warmth while you sleep, having larger logs on the fire means you sleep longer before having to add fuel. The tool you have out with you determines what size of fuel you can harvest.
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ninja-elbow » Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:36 pm

Oh, totally. I was only needing to tend to the fire every 2 hours or so and that was with the quartered cedar logs that were 15" - 18" and 3'-4' long. Two or three of those per 2 hours kept that fire going all night long.
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ink » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:54 pm

I have learned more about axes than I ever thought I would know from reading through this thread, thanks for all the contributions folks! :clap:

Pretty much the only experience I have with an axe is chopping wood for my Grandma as a teen, now I need to do some more research and figure out which axe I should get for my purposes.

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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ineffableone » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:30 pm

ink wrote:I have learned more about axes than I ever thought I would know from reading through this thread, thanks for all the contributions folks! :clap:

Pretty much the only experience I have with an axe is chopping wood for my Grandma as a teen, now I need to do some more research and figure out which axe I should get for my purposes.
Glad this thread has helped you out. :D
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ConsciousApe » Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:53 am

Awesome post, thanks.

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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by BushcraftJared » Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:37 am

Great forum post. Tons of information I am going to study. I was thinking the same thing about nutnfancy's review lol. He needs to stick to his bowie knives imo. I envy you guys with a GB. I want one so bad!

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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ineffableone » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:40 pm

BushcraftJared wrote:Great forum post. Tons of information I am going to study. I was thinking the same thing about nutnfancy's review lol. He needs to stick to his bowie knives imo. I envy you guys with a GB. I want one so bad!
GB axes are good, but Wetterlings are pretty comparable just a little rougher finish and slightly lower pricing.

However if you want better than GB go looking at garage sales swap meets etc for the old Plumb or Collins or True Temper or other antique axes. With a little work rehafting and cleaning up the head you can get an axe better than any of the modern ones for less money. Those Swedish axes aren't magic, and they aren't even Euro patterns mostly, but copies of American and Canadian patterns. Wetterlings back in the start admittedly visited the US to study US axe forging then returned to mix that knowledge with theirs.


Husqvarna axes are a pretty good way to get into Swedish axes if your on a budget.
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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by Woods Walker » Fri Feb 21, 2014 7:45 pm

For the life of me I have never been able to get a V ground bevel on a small axe shaving sharp. Tried the various sharpening tools and they all failed. Tried the file and stone which worked better but never got that shaving sharp goodness I knew was possible. I am ok at sharpening scandi and convex knives. They always get shaving sharp even if it takes me twice as long as it should. The only thing that has worked for me is convexing the bevels on my smaller axes. My H&B forge hawks are nice but the bevel needed some work. On the Shawnee it was off. One side was just a fast swipe the other side seemed to have more attention. The Med polled axe was a little better but still wasn't shaving sharp.

Tools.

1. Sand paper, 400-600-1500-2000.
2. Old school mouse pad.
3. Two strops.
4. Sharpie marker.

Image

The marker gave me a good idea which area was being hit by the sand paper. One mistake I have done in the past was to work the very edge only. I work the entire bevel constantly checking if it looks right and making sure the edge isn't being rounded off. This means not using too much pressure and visual inspection of the work in progress. I also use the finger nail or sharpie bite test to make sure the edge isn't being round off during the process.

Image

Image

I got the bevel fairly even and shaving sharp. Took some time though. The Fiskars hatchet was already done but needed a touch up after a few outings. I think the steel is softer than the guessing 1095 bit of the H&B so that goes much faster. It is back to shaving sharp.

Image

Once done with the sand paper I strop the bevel using leather strops with green, black and guessing pink compound. Or was that white? Seemed to slip my mind. Only one more left. Will do this one later on. The bevel is more workable than the Shawnee. On a side note I am not really complaining about the H&B forge hawk and polled axe. Both were very usable as sent by the forge.

Up next for a little convexing.

Image

As stated I am by far, and I mean very far from being an expert on this topic. Just showing what has worked for me.
Image

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Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by ineffableone » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:12 pm

So someone over on BCUSA just posted about how while in a hurry trying to split wood he cut his hand (thankfully only needing 5 stitches and no major damage). Which made me want to bring up this simple safety device here. I think it was mentioned in one of the previous videos posted in this thread, but it is worth a full post just about this.

It is the sissy stick

Image

It is simply taking a little stick and using that instead of your hand to hold a log in position. This is a very basic but easy to forget to use safety device. Please don't forget. The use of the stick instead of your hand is just smart tool use. if you hit your sissy stick no big deal but if you hit your finger you have a huge deal, especially out in the woods.

Here is a short little video explaining the use.



Don't let the name sissy stick make you feel using one threatens your manhood or whatever. This is a technique advocated and used by some of the best of the best bushcrafters out there. If it makes you feel better rename it, because honestly it doesn't matter what you call it as long as you stay safe and use it.

BTW great axe sharpening post WW. I can't give much advice on V ground bevels, I am a convex edge person myself.
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Gun Self Defense Counter

blackhorse
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Posts: 76
Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:04 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Don't really have a favorite...... but have a least favorite World War Z......nuff said

Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by blackhorse » Mon Apr 07, 2014 2:23 pm

Argh
Now I see why so many people would rather use a knife than a hatchet or small axe.

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buck85
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Posts: 719
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:17 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Apocalypse Now
Location: west of Tallahassee and East of Eden

Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by buck85 » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:10 pm

good thread!!!
If you know who you are, you can, then know other people.

If you have faith, chaos will turn into order.

Let them hate...So long as they fear!

In the absence of light darkness will prevail

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Mr.Rogers
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Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 4:16 pm
Location: Living in Washington the state

Re: Axe Skills, and info

Post by Mr.Rogers » Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:51 pm

Awesome!! :clap: I will defiantly coming back to this tread later to read and watch the vids
Mr.Rogers

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