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Advice sought - repairing Axe

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MARK.B.

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Was given a lovely old hand axe, the handle is in great condition but the head was loose and came off the handle . I would if possible like to re use the handle and put in a new wedge but I don't know if i should soak the handle in water first or if indeed there are any other tricks to getting a good fit that will stand up to its intended use .
Any help/advice from those that know would be appreciated :)
 

Tris

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Cut a new wedge wider than the existing one. Make two saw cuts in the handle at right angles to the existing wedge slot spaced just over a third of its length apart. Make sure the head is well seated and drive in your wider wedge. Use a narrow chisel to open a slot in the wedge in line with each saw cut, then tap in wedges that are about half as long as the eye is deep. A bit of wood glue on the wedges won't go amiss
 

artie

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Do you think it came loose because it dried out?

What Tris said and then wet it.
 

MARK.B.

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Possibly Artie it came with a loose head :) Thank you Tris will do that with the cross wedges . Happy to keep things dry Adam if the results are same (y)
 

clogs

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I close fit my handles dry, really dry.....
when I'm satisfied with the intended fit I press them home on a hydraulic press....
then put the wood wedges in with glue, which also acts as a temp lube, then put in the steel wedges....
every once in a while I leave em in a bucket of water over night....
temp is the prob here ...no rain for 20 weeks'ish and temps in the shade around 28-30 degrees all summer long.....
I even have to store my stock wood out of the sun.....often covered with a blanket to keep temps averaged out...
 

MARK.B.

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No steel wedges available clogs so the wedges will have to be wood , should i use hard or softwood wedges :unsure:
 

Tris

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Definitely hardwood, would not recommend oak as the tannins can cause rust in the eye. Don't wet it for the same reason. If you have an old, hand forged axe that rust can cause the back of the head to split.
I was always taught to use wooden wedges in case you ever have to drill the wood out of the eye, but if using metal wedges you just belt them out from the other side with a good punch
 
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MARK.B.

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Went with Wenge wedges ( hard enough to type let alone say ;)) as they were the first bit out of the odds n sods box ,all glued and wedged in place ,clamped top of the wedge to the bottom of the shaft and leaving till dry. A little clean up and all should i hope be well
More than one or two that I could have taken an axe too Bob but I thought it was illegal to do so:unsure: As a doctor you should know, so I will take the doctor's advice and try it it out on the irritating little bar steward riding a moped minus silencer baffles at 5 in the AM :LOL:
 

toolsntat

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Roy Underhill explained the folly of allowing any "eyed" tool to get wet, accidentally or intentionally.
The wood swells and the unyielding steel eye crushes the cells of the handle trapped within.
When it dries out and shrinks those crushed cells don't spring back and a loose tool prevails.
So, maybe getting it close before fully wedging and then soaking is the answer as the final wedging up will be in already crushed cells ?
Cheers Andy
 

KevinLycett

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Was given a lovely old hand axe, the handle is in great condition but the head was loose and came off the handle . I would if possible like to re use the handle and put in a new wedge but I don't know if i should soak the handle in water first or if indeed there are any other tricks to getting a good fit that will stand up to its intended use .
Any help/advice from those that know would be appreciated :)
I’ve read don’t soak with water, use boiled linseed oil.
 

MARK.B.

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Cleaned up and sharpened so I can use it without fear of a large chunk of sharp steel flying off :eek:Many thanks for all advice offered (y)(y)(y):)
 
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