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Axe handle design and timber

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  • Axe handle design and timber

    I have to rehandle a medium weight carving axe and have apple, plum, yew, cherry, hawthorn and hazel, holly and laurel to choose from. Which wood would you go with? Also, any thoughts on a good handle design for a carving axe? Short, long, straight or curved? Thanks in advance, Andrew

  • #2
    Show us a photo of the axe head. How do you intend to use it?


    • #3
      I take a dim view of an axe being an acceptable wood carving tool. Yes, it is possible.
      Is this a carving axe head with a single bevel, one side? Right or left?

      Axe handles in North America are made, traditionally, from a ring-porous species such as Ash or Hickory. The mechanical properties are much alike to a compound leaf spring, represented by the stack of growth rings. All of the woods you name are diffuse-porous, certainly not useful elasticity.

      Over and over again here in the Pacific Northwest, First Nations wood carvers cut axe heads in half.
      One half is a D-adze blade and the other becomes an elbow adze blade. Those are carving tools.

      I say go for it. I say use apple as the wood has some useful elastic properties.
      Pay attention to the orientation of the grain (or like a baseball bat, it will shatter.)
      What is the strike face and shock in a bat, relative to the growth rings? Can you remember?
      Brian T


      • #4
        I use small axes/hatchets as my main roughing out tool, primarily it will be used to take archery bows from roundwood to within a couple of mm from finished when I switch to gouge/chisel
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        • #5
          I think the apple, plum and yew would work well. Nice looking axe. A single bevel would serve you well for getting down to that single growth ring for a self bow.