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And three followed me home...

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by rwdenney, Nov 23, 2020.

  1. rwdenney

    rwdenney

    41
    Nov 20, 2020
    Two barn sales out here in rural Virginia yielded three axes and a sledgehammer for a total of six bucks. All three benefitted (price-wise) from rust and ruined handles.

    First up is the newest and the worst. The mud on it says the owner was cutting roots, and I think that is a high aspiration for it. It’s a Dayton-pattern head with no markings, flat cheeks, and grossly unbalanced (far too heavy on the blade end). It’s heavily ground top and bottom, suggesting short-cut cutting from bar-length forging. And it demonstrates why the growth rings shouldn’t be at right angles to the head. Good hafting practice for whatever handles I end up with that have mediocre grain orientation, and a file-only sharpening for cutting roots.

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    Next up is a Council Tools Jersey-pattern axe of some age. It has a high centerline and I think will be a fine axe with a new handle and some work with a file. I have no clue as to the age, but it was found in the barn and beyond the memory of the current owners.

    It’s almost completely off its handle, and it’s too bad the handle is abused and split because the grain orientation isn’t too bad. The poll is slightly mushroomed but not badly. The profile seems rather steep and I think it’s going need quality time with a file and low-speed grinder, but even as it is the balance is excellent.

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    The final pickup is a Jersey-pattern Homestead. There is no Collins marking, but it has a higher centerline that I’m led to understand would be provided on a Mann-era Homestead. This was in a hundred-year-old barn and the current owner said it was lying around when he bought the property in the 90’s. So, there’s nothing to indicate age except what can be seen, which is just the stamp and that higher centerline. Still some remaining rather dark blue paint that could be bluing. The poll is more seriously mushroomed.

    The centerline is very similar to what I am nearly sure is a Kelly Woodslasher that was in my wife’s family going back (in my wife’s memory) to their return from Alaska in 1967, though she was but a wee bairn at the time. The profile is thinner than the Council.

    It’s on a straight handle that might actually be salvageable, except that its grain is all wrong and not something I’d want to use.

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    Both the latter two are in the “make usable” queue, along with the Kelly.

    Rick “will report on progress” Denney
     
    cityofthesouth and Trailsawyer like this.
  2. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    Jul 31, 2017
    Could you take a pic of the surface inside the eye of the Homestead axe? I think it was actually made in Collinsville before acquisition by METCo
     
  3. rwdenney

    rwdenney

    41
    Nov 20, 2020
    It’s still on the old handle, so I can’t yet see inside the eye. I’ll have them off the handles by the weekend. What should I be looking for?

    Rick “also thinking it’s pre-Mann, but without enough knowledge to be sure” Denney
     
  4. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    Jul 31, 2017
  5. rwdenney

    rwdenney

    41
    Nov 20, 2020
  6. rwdenney

    rwdenney

    41
    Nov 20, 2020
    Okay, I got the handle off of the Homestead. I don't know what to expect inside the eye--so you tell me. But I'm not seeing a step, or what I would consider to be a sloppy surface, though it does seem unfinished from when they drove the eye mandrel through the blank after initial forging. It's a smooth taper and I would think any undulations would just help to lock it onto the handle.

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    And I ran it around a wire brush wheel in my drill press to get a sense of it. It has a moderately high centerline, but the bit is cut pretty thin compared to the Council Tools head that was in the same batch. Weight is 3 pounds, 5 ounces. The bit is 6-3/4" long and the blade is 5-1/2" wide.

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    I have an OP Link handle that I can put it on--this one will be my first.

    Rick "printing out 'An Axe to Grind' to get the profile template" Denney
     
  7. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    Jul 31, 2017
    Thanks for the pics.
    To me it looks like monosteel Collinsville product.
    Pretty nice find.
     
    rwdenney likes this.
  8. rwdenney

    rwdenney

    41
    Nov 20, 2020
    I ended up with a Link handle from quite a while ago that I didn't much like the grain on--runout and not the direction I wanted. But I couldn't return it at this point, so I installed it on the first head, the one with the really broken handle.

    The installation turned out fine, I think. I've got the end grain soaking in BLO right now, so I'll show pictures later.

    But then I went to sharpen it, and I think the the steel at least on the heel and toe of that blade is harder than my files. I ended up reprofiling the chipped and blunt blade on my variable-speed grinder (which I can slow down enough to avoid overheating the metal, and which isn't powerful enough to lean in enough to heat it up when it's going slow). I then used a 200-grit diamond hone to refine the edge, but I had to make it sharp on the grinder before the hone would touch it. The files couldn't touch it. Hard stuff--probably C60.

    It's not a great axe--flat grind, poorly balanced (it's the top picture in the original post), but I wonder what steel they used and how they treated it. No markings--could be a Harbor Freight special, considering the yard sale where I bought it. And the taper inside the eye was screwy--it tapered down from the bottom and the top--the narrowest part was in the middle. The Collins pictured above is narrowest at the bottom.

    It will be good for where I'm taking it--my church (where I maintain the equipment, for the most part) where we need an axe a couple times a year. I just have to warn anyone tempted to use it to be careful. At least it was good hafting practice.

    Rick "film at 11" Denney
     
  9. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    Jul 31, 2017
    Some of very old Kelly and AA&TCo axes had eyes in shape of hourglass. It royal pain in the butt to remove leftovers of the handles from those. Can you post top down picture of that axe? Thanks
    When it comes to heat treatment sometimes even late Mann axes had very hard bits.
     
    rwdenney likes this.
  10. rwdenney

    rwdenney

    41
    Nov 20, 2020
    I didn’t make a photo of the inside of the eye. It narrowed side to side, and fore and aft. I overtrimmed the wedge a bit, not realizing how much the narrow waist would limit how much I could drive it in. But it’s tight, top and bottom, and has the density of steel in that waist.

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    Here it is in the current collection of axes in use.

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    Rick “delivered to the church today” Denney
     
  11. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    Jul 31, 2017
    Sorry I cannot help with identification of this axe. It looks fairly modern, nothing out of ordinary when it comes to look of the eye (nothing that would outright made me think India or China). Interesting, unusual, shape of the poll (slightly curved) might help with identification. Because of messed up eye I was thinking Barco, but I am only able to find pics of Barco's Daytons with straight polls.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
    rwdenney likes this.
  12. rwdenney

    rwdenney

    41
    Nov 20, 2020
    I bought that one at a yard sale that included a lot of Harbor Freight/Northern Tool cheapies, so I suspect that’s where this one came from. It’s a usable axe, and will serve its purpose as an occasional user. I paid two dollars for it, and $15 for the handle.

    I didn’t want to put that handle on one of my good axes—lots of grain runout and also a twist. Were it an axe I intended to keep and use, I would have trimmed the fawn’s foot to be a little less bulbous. I have large hands and generally don’t need to shave handles down, but I love the gracefulness of the handle in that Plumb.

    By the way, it was indeed a royal pain to remove the old haft from that cheapie. It had an aluminum wedge, and I drove it out from the bottom. After pounding it with a drift and a 4# hand sledge for 15 minutes, I was seriously trying to think of a way to push it out with my 20-ton press. But I had it out in another few minutes—I just had to get it halfway.

    Rick “waiting on two handles, but also with an Ames handle that has excellent grain—on to the next one” Denney
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2020
    crbnSteeladdict likes this.
  13. rwdenney

    rwdenney

    41
    Nov 20, 2020
    Next up: the Council Tools.

    This has the makings of a great axe. Where the Homestead’s blade is thin with a mildly elevated centerline, the Council’s blade is thicker with a centerline as high as the Plumb Michigan and TrueTemper Daytons I’m looking at. The logo stamp is on the opposite side from their current models, and on the front is stamped “4”. And indeed it’s a four-pounder—3 pounds, 15 ounces.

    The handle was old enough to suggest this isn’t a recent axe, though the rust was fairly superficial and unpitted.

    I have started a dialogue with Council Tool to find out what I can from them, and they have so far been most responsive.

    I have a new Ames handle with excellent grain that I could use, but it’s going to need a lot of work—the eye is really too tall for it. But there’s enough shoulder to make it work. I also have a used but nice Tennessee Hickory handle, but it may be cut down too much for any of these heads. I have two more on the way from Beaver Tooth Handle Company, but I don’t expect those in any particular timeframe. Maybe I can get Council Tool to sell me a handle intended for the Velvecut line, or I can go scrounge through the Link handles at the local old-time hardware store to see if there’s one with decent grain.

    A quick pass with a file is suggesting a Rockwell C hardness in the mid-to-upper 50’s—harder than the Kelly Woodslasher I just sharpened last week but not as hard as the file.

    I’m looking forward to this one.

    Cleaned-up pics follow. Guesses as to age welcome.

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    This pic from the bottom gives an idea of the high centerline.

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    Rick “with four heads needing handles” Denney
     

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