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Hornbeam or hickory plank(s) needed

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bugbear

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I want to make a new handle for a 2 1/2 Lb kent pattern hatchet (such handles are not commercially available).

The prime handle timber is hickory, which is imported, with the nearest UK timber being hornbeam.

I don't like ash for small handles, since the coarse open grain complicates shaping in tight curves such as fawn foot axe handles...

I've checked the archives, and both hickory and hornbeam seem hard to source.

Can any one point me at a current stockist? The only "funny" in my requirment is need for at least 33mm (just over 1 1/4") to accommodate the thickest part of the foot.

BugBear
 

Richard T

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BB - could you find a bigger handle in Hickory, a pick or mattock handle for instance, big enough to take down to the right shape? They seem to be always Hickory though gawd knows where "they" get it from in the first place.
 

Phil Pascoe

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If you are making something to use, ( rather than to be historically correct ), surely a piece of yew or something with a little flexibility and a nice continuous grain would be easier to find?
 

woodbloke

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Richard T":13waspyq said:
BB - could you find a bigger handle in Hickory, a pick or mattock handle for instance, big enough to take down to the right shape? They seem to be always Hickory though gawd knows where "they" get it from in the first place.
That's what I'd go for...find a hickory pick-axe handle and whittle it down - Rob
 

bugbear

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phil.p":1ozqq81f said:
If you are making something to use, ( rather than to be historically correct ), surely a piece of yew or something with a little flexibility and a nice continuous grain would be easier to find?
The historically correct timbers were used because they were the most suitable, so I'll try to follow their practice.

BugBear
 

bugbear

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woodbloke":ot5qe153 said:
Richard T":ot5qe153 said:
BB - could you find a bigger handle in Hickory, a pick or mattock handle for instance, big enough to take down to the right shape? They seem to be always Hickory though gawd knows where "they" get it from in the first place.
That's what I'd go for...find a hickory pick-axe handle and whittle it down - Rob
I thought of that, and measured a mattock handle from an online catalogue.

Sadly, while the "blob" at the top of the handle would make a good foot, an axe handle also needs width at the eye end.

BugBear
 

jakethebuilder

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Please pardon my ignorance, but is hickory hard to come by in the UK? It's a very common tree in the central United States. I guess shipping costs would be prohibitive. Otherwise, I could send you all you need.
 

bugbear

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jakethebuilder":10afnml2 said:
Please pardon my ignorance, but is hickory hard to come by in the UK?
Rather close to impossible, to my knowledge.

jakethebuilder":10afnml2 said:
It's a very common tree in the central United States.
I know. I've seen many posts by USA-ians doing a project in hickory because it's pallet wood...

jakethebuilder":10afnml2 said:
I guess shipping costs would be prohibitive. Otherwise, I could send you all you need.
Thanks - but yes, the shipping is a deal breaker.

BugBear
 

jakethebuilder

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Well, if you ever come to the US for a visit, bring some extra luggage, and I'll load you up with fresh cut hickory.
 

Richard T

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We should start a UK Hickory plantation.

According to Roy Underhill it was native in Europe before the last Ice Age ( but as the mountains are stacked wrong it was wiped out) but was it also a native here? If so, the current re - introduction trend is missing a trick.
 

Andrewf

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Have you tried a local tree surgeon. One local to me (just outside Tiptree in Essex ) has loads of hornbeam . Most of the smaller stuff is going for fire wood. He has a saw mill and cut some large slabs for me.
 

dickm

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Andrewf":3t7f565w said:
Have you tried a local tree surgeon. One local to me (just outside Tiptree in Essex ) has loads of hornbeam . Most of the smaller stuff is going for fire wood. He has a saw mill and cut some large slabs for me.
+1. The forestry area/country park near Stansted airport sometimes has sales of timber they fell as part of management of the area, and there is quite a lot of hornbeam there.
 

bugbear

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I tried several timber merchants. One of them told me he'd never heard of hickory being imported, and I was the first customer to ask him for it in 30 years!

These guys:

http://hardwooddimensions.ltd.uk/

appear to import it by the shipload, but didn't reply to my email.

But these guys...

http://richardcarterltd.co.uk/about-carters/

Traditional tool makers since 1740!! They make all sorts of tools, and make their own handles, even offering a bespoke service.

Albeit not for one-offs. :-(

But they were happy to sell me some hickory handle blanks. :)

Thank you, Richard Carter Ltd!

=D> =D> =D>

BugBear
 

dickm

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Funny this thread reappearing, as I now need a small piece of hornbeam (12" by 4" by 1" min) to make a "pin" for jewellry. Anybody got an offcut that size, as hornbeam just doesn't seem to grow up here?
 
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