Last fall I picked up a few hatchets from a local antique store. The one on the far right in the picture would be my first adventure into axe refurbishing and restoration. I chose it because it was the rustiest head and the handle was the junkiest out of my collection. So I wanted a challenge. Now there's 1001 ways to do this, but this is the path I chose. Big thanks to all the axeperts for showin' the ways.
So first up was to remove that junky handle and toss it. I had picked up a link
handle for this job. For the next step I soaked the head in white vinegar for a
day and eventually gave it an apple cider vinegar soak for about 3 more
After the soak, a little scotchbrite rub to get the rust off revealed a partial
makers mark stamping. To my great surprise, it turned out to be an American Axe
and Tool Co. Americanaxe manufactured in Glassport, PA! Probably forged in the
19-teens, and no later than 1921. Needless to say I was thrilled!
I continued the cleanup with flap wheel and wire brush wheel drill attachments.
That wire brush wheel really shined up the metal. The head was pretty pitted out
from the rust, but very tiny pits. So pitted in fact that after cleaning it up,
the tempering line is easily seen.
Shaped up the mushroomed poll with a file.
The new Link handle I picked up at the local hardware store was covered in a
thick laquer. So after sanding all that off, I gave it a quick rub down coating
of tung oil. Four coats is what this one called for.
So this morning I
finally decided to finish this thing. First had to fit the head to the handle.
Did a little shaping and rasping with a four-in-hand.
Sharpened the bit. Started with a Lansky Puck followed by an old sharpening
stone. Wasn't doing much so I got out the file. I'll start with the file next
time. So filed, then back to the puck, and again with the stone until I was
Seated the head on the new helve. Did a little sanding on the wedge. Oiled it up
and hammered it in.
Not perfect alignment of the handle with the head, but I'm happy with the
mushrooming of the haft over the top of the eye.
No metal wedges here. All ya have to do is swell your wood. Heh heh
grain alignment in the handle.
Still working on this Finnish bad boy. It's gonna take a lot of work.
Almost finished product. Just gotta soak the head in oil for a few days to swell
the fibers tight.
14" overall length. 1 lb 9 oz overall weight, with a 3
The Americanaxe hatchet.