Sunday, 16 September 2012

Customized side axe...

Like everyone else with an interest in hand tools and green woodworking, I tend to 'need' things that I actually have very little use for (for example, the double bit axe that I bought from American Ebay and then made my brother who lives in Kansas bring in his luggage when he came to visit and which I have only used once). For a long time I have read posts about hewing green wood into planks and have coveted the rather wonderful side axes that are employed for this purpose. I have watched side axes and broad axes on ebay for a while but just can't justify the price they end up selling for, especially as I struggle to get wood enough to whittle into a little spoon let alone hew into log cabin sized timbers!

Any way, as I usually do, I got to thinking "the principle behind a side axe is not rocket science - perhaps I could make my own by modifying a regular axe" but never actually got round to it until I read a post by Peter Follansbee about just such a modification that Jennie Alexander had made to an axe.

I had a cheap mass produced axe that I'd had knocking around for years so I spent a couple of hours in the shed with my belt sander and ended up with this - sorry the photos are not too clear but I think you'll get the idea.

cheap Wilkinson's axe - rounded side
flattened side

view from edge - see the offset bevel

a couple of hewed ash battons - hardly cabin building material but nice and flat
 On the whole I am very impressed with how well it works. Obviously, with it being only small, it's only good for small pieces of wood. It's incredibly sharp and a bit like swinging a plane iron, but for all those out there who, like me, suffer side axe envy, it's a viable alternative!

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