Monday, 2 March 2015

My first axe....

I can't give you the technical specifications of this axe - weight, size, etc - because I've sat down to write this post and realized I haven't got them - but I'm going to write the post anyway.

When I first became interested in bushcraft, adventuring and carving, I had something of an obsession with the mountain men and fur trappers of North America and Canada - voyageurs and coureur de bois.

I read a bunch of books about them, histories, fiction and non-fiction, watched some old films on the National Film Board of Canada site and even bought myself a Canadian canoe with fantasies of trapping, smoking cob-pipes, eating rubaboo from a dutch pot and portaging. So you can imagine hoe chuffed I was when, after doing a little job for an elderly neighbour, I was rewarded with a box of old tools, most of which were no good, but which contained this French pattern axe head, not unlike the trade axes that the voyageurs would have used, which I cleaned up and re-handled with shop-bought hickory handle.

It's a lovely axe - a real all-round camping and adventuring axe. I've used it for all kinds of jobs from felling dead standing trees and splitting faggots to carving and whittling. It's not the axe I would choose for carving, but it is easily up to the task and many of my earlier spoons were carved with this axe. It's a medium to light weight axe.

It is also one of the first leather working projects that I undertook and the first axe mask thatI made.

Originally there was a loop of leather through which the antler tine passed to secure it, but it broke and I replaced it with the ugly twist of wire. I'll put it right again one day.

If you are interested in finding out a little more about the voyageurs of old Canada, you might enjoy this rather quaint film:

On those rare occasions when I have a 'bed-day' I like to re-watch this film and imagine I'm there.

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