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Hatchets in the woodshop

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ydb1md

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Do any of you use a hatchet or an axe frequently in your shop?

After reading Adam Cherubini's recent articles, I wanted to make my own dowels for drawboring and try a hatchet for roughing the occasional piece of stock. That seemed like reason enough to pick up a nice hatchet. I couldn't bring my self to spring for a Gransfors, so I ordered a Wetterlings. Can't wait to sharpen it up and give it a try. :D

I also ordered one of Lee Valley's new dowel makers to go with it.
 

engineer one

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having recently been lighting fires for country friends who as
ex townies forget the fire lighters, i decided to get a small
axe(hatchet ) for myself. have ended up with a leather handle
estwing which feels nice, will try the compromise sharpening
so i can use it in the workshop too. interesting idea, but another
tool to hurt oneself with.
paul :wink:
 
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Anonymous

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While camping or carpenter hatchets can be used for some woodworking tasks, a hewing hatchet is the correct tool for roughing stock.



This is one I recently sold. Unlike hatchets with symmetrical heads, a hewing hatchet head is flat on one side and has a single bevel on the other side. Hewing hatchets are tempered harder than chopping hatchets and cannot be sharpened with a file. They are ground and honed as a chisel or plane would be.
 

ydb1md

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Man, Roger's going all "Cherubini" on me.

:lol:

I looked at the carpenter hatchets and the other offerings by Gransfors and Wetterlings. I couldn't decide between the carpenter's hatchets or the carving hatchets. So, I ordered a "wildlife" hatchet. I'm sure once I start down the slope, I'll get a proper hewing hatchet eventually.
 

PowerTool

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Have one in there,don't use it much - but very therapeutic when I do!
 

trevtheturner

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I have a couple of hatchets in the workshop. Until now they were called 'choppers' :oops: and I use them only for chopping wood for the stove. In my ignorance I had never heard of a hewing hatchet, but one of mine looks like the one in Roger's pic. I'll take a closer look next time I'm out there.

Trev.
 
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Anonymous

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Here's a pic of the other (flat) side




Another interesting point about these is that the head is symmetrical about a horizontal axis so the head can be mounted with the bevel on the right or left. This one is mounted for a lefty. (I have a "righty" and I never found the "lefty" convenient so I sold it. ) This means the eye is straight up and down, not an "adze eye" so the head could fly off if the hatchet is used with full chopping swings.

According to Alex Bealer ("Old Ways of Working Wood"), the correct grip is just below the head and used to chop notches in the stock to a desired line and then downward vertical strokes pare off the excess without splitting past the line. I find this technique useful for getting a flat surface on a log before running it through the bandsaw :oops:

The above hatchet is 80-90 years old and my keeper is about the same vintage. I don't know if new ones are made.
 

Alf

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Now there's a coincidence; my brothers are supposed to be getting me a Gränsfors Bruks Small Carpenter's Axe for Christmas this year. Apparently this link causing much hilarity in the office: "look what I'm getting for my little sis for Christmas" and so forth. :roll: Anyway, I was tipped over the edge by trying to use my old man's big ol' axe one-handed to strip the bark off a big hunk of apple trunk the other day, although I'd thought about it before. If anything Adam's article might have put me off, me being more of a 20thC woodworker than an 18thC one... 8-[ :lol:

As far as the double/single bevel thing goes, I looked into it pretty carefully and came to the conclusion it's a matter of technique and tradition. The Swedes seem to favour the versatility the double bevel gives you, and as I'm unlikely to end up with a wide range of axes from which to choose it makes sense to me too. A bit like using a drawknife bevel up or bevel down. Bevel down can take a wider variety of cut thicknesses, but bevel up gives you a flat back for control. I can do the former, so I hope I'll be able to do the same with an axe too. <fingers crossed smilie> Anyway, the single bevel ones cost nearly three times as much, and that ain't gonna happen! :lol: I went with the carpenter's one 'cos it seemed a handy size, and "Works well in dry wood for dimensioning and whittling" fitted the bill admirably. Assuming one does indeed turn up under the tree, I'll let you know. The firewood pile will never be safe again... :twisted:

Cheers, Alf
 

ike

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Probably a dumb question Roger, but do you need a left-handed hewing hatchet if your left-handed and vice-versa?...yup I said it was dumb!
:?


Ike
 

frank

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who will be the first axe collector :D and will LN & veritas and all the other big names go in for making them with a back bevel :shock: :lol: :lol: :lol:

frank

ps all sing , im a lumber jack and im ok :wink: :wink:
 
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ike":uiydbg98 said:
Probably a dumb question Roger, but do you need a left-handed hewing hatchet if your left-handed and vice-versa?...yup I said it was dumb!
:?


Ike
We're even on this one. :lol: A hewing hatchet head can be reversed top to bottom to make it right or left handed. Jr. Strasil pointed that out to me after I bought a second one. :lol:
You want the bevel on the left if you are left handed.
 

Alf

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Roger Nixon":1rqidbl9 said:
ALf: as I'm unlikely to end up with a wide range of axes from which to choose
Suuurrre. :roll:
I'm practically certain of it. Although I do feel a sort of gradient opening up behind me... 8-[ Luckily it's not an addiction likely to be fueled by cheap rust; axes are few and far between in these parts - just like decent trees worth felling. :roll:

Cheers, Alf
 
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