No matter what type of activities you are into, having an axe around can always be beneficial. Maybe you like to hike on the weekends, and need something you can use on the trail. Maybe your job requires you to be outdoors a lot, and having an axe around can save you time and work.
There are plenty of places where you can buy an axe that fits your needs. But what’s even better is making your own. While you can skip out on making the blade on your own, making your own axe handle doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. In fact, making your own axe handle will guarantee that it is the right fit for your hand. You can also determine the quality of the wood, ensuring that it will last much longer than something that is store-bought.
If you’ve decided that making your own axe handle is for you, then check out these tips and tricks before you get started.
Top 5 Tips on How to Make Your Own Axe Handle
1. Choose Good Wood
The wood is what determines the quality of your axe handle. Do you want something that’s going to snap in a matter of a couple of years or something that you can pass along when you no longer need it? Make sure the wood that you choose is free of any knots, which are considered weak spots. Also get wood that is straight-grained.
Hickory is a great wood to work with for an axe handle. It has the right grain and is easy to work with. This is definitely the recommended wood for someone who is first starting out with building and doesn’t have much experience. If you want a handle that will last longer, check out Osage orange wood. It is extremely tough and durable, as well as durable. It also fits all the requirements to make an axe handle.
2. Get the Tools
Making an axe handle isn’t something that you can do with your bare hands. You’re going to need to some tools to get the job done, and the right ones. You’re going to need a farrier rasp, a medium cut cabinet file, and a cabinet scraper. If you want the job to be easier, consider getting a band saw to help with the rough shaping. Otherwise, you can get the job done with just a hatchet and a rasp.
If you plan out all the supplies you will need ahead of time, you will cut down on the period it actually takes to finish the axe handle. Get everything in one trip to the store instead of heading back multiple times when you hit a snag in your project.
3. Learn the Tools
The tools aren’t going to do much use if you don’t know how to use them or what their purpose is. If you are new to woodworking, you may want to brush up on what each tool is and how it works. Learning all of these tools and their uses ahead of time will cut down on the actual time that it takes you to make your own axe handle.
A farrier rasp is a two-sided file, used for shaping wood and other hard materials. A cabinet file is much like a farrier rasp, except that it is typical finer. A cabinet scraper is much like using sandpaper and is used to remove milling marks and such.
4. Find a Pattern
You will need a pattern to help you formulate how your new axe handle is going to look. One way to do this is to use an old axe handle that you no longer use or want. Make sure that the handle feels good in your hands and is usable. This is how your new handle will turn out, so you want it to be a good fit.
You’ll use the old axe handle as a pattern by laying it on top of your new piece of wood (already trimmed) and trace around the edges. It’s okay if the head of the axe is still attached. Then, you want to trim everything away that is outside of the lines. This doesn’t have to be done perfectly–you’ll have time to trim everything up and sand when you’re finished.
4. Watch Tutorials
If you are new to woodworking, or simply want to get an idea of what the process is going to look like, watching video tutorials online is a great way to get started. Not only will you learn exactly what you need to know and how to do it, but it will also help you with troubleshooting should any problems arise.
As mentioned earlier, watching tutorials will give you an idea of all the tools that involved with making an axe handle, as well as how to use the tools. If you have a better idea of how the process should go, you will spend less time during the actual process yourself. Of course, if you are the type of person that likes to learn by doing something yourself, you can forgo watching tutorials for the actual experience itself.
5. Set Aside Time
One of the hardest things about a woodworking project can be finding the time to get it all done. They can be time-consuming. However, you will get the work done faster if you do it all at once, instead of scattering the process out. Making sure that you are prepared and have time set aside to finish your process also means you will be less likely to make mistakes or forget where you were in the process.
If you work during the weeks, perhaps set aside some time during the weekend. One weekend should be plenty of time to make your own axe handle, as long as you have all the necessary tools ahead of time.
Making an axe handle on your own does not have to be a difficult process, as long as you have everything planned and set up ahead of time. By making sure you’re prepared, you can easily focus on the process and have a good time.