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Improvising a Shepherd's Axe

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by daizee, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    and a 'stache.

    The eye is clearly more aft than on my version, or perhaps that's due to the eye shape. I think a hatchet eye would be ideal, but I like the length of the full-size axe for this application, which is why I started there.
     
    Miller '72 likes this.
  2. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    622
    Jul 31, 2017
    I think one has to adjust the length of ciupaga to the terrain and use. I could probably use it for backcountry hiking. A lot of National Monument and National Park trails have very characteristic CCC era long deep steps. Walking down with too short walking stick could be deadly. There are trails like Upper Yosemite Falls trail (long, wet, slippery, slightly sloped switchbacks build before New Deal) that require 2 walking sticks or just nothing in your hands to keep the balance walking down. Different kind of beast is Grandview trail in Grand Canyon; very tall steps (two free hands and use of butt needed)
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2017
    rjdankert and Miller '72 like this.
  3. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    What about getting something like a post hole digger handle ?
    Maybe you could weld a couple pieces of mild steel into the eye to make it a bit more appropriately sized to the head ?
     
    Miller '72 likes this.
  4. phantomknives

    phantomknives

    Mar 31, 2016
    might be able to make a hatchet out of that head, cut the eye off, cut the bit off, weld'm together and resize the eye, nice weekend project for someone who seems to have the necessary equipment
     
    Miller '72 likes this.
  5. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Definitely.
     
  6. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    Haha, yeah. I can't put steel together, I can only destroy it in various ways. :D

    It's a pretty good cane height for level ground.
    Oh, I should mention that I rate +3 on the Ape Scale. So my long arms reach it ok when the butt is resting next to my foot.
     
    rjdankert and phantomknives like this.
  7. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    Haft still too heavy, and not quite 'walking stick' enough. Have bandsaw will trim. Next I'll blend those steep corners in to make everything rounder. Maybe I can get a rubber foot on the end:

    [​IMG]
     
    rjdankert likes this.
  8. rjdankert

    rjdankert Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Mar 10, 2011
    Thread:
    https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/valaška-shepherds-axe.1473142/


    Bob
     
    Square_peg and FortyTwoBlades like this.
  9. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Ideal length for a walking stick is for the top to reach the crease of your wrist when standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your legs straight but not locked.
     
  10. littleknife

    littleknife

    Nov 29, 2000
    The reason the axes in those photos were relatively short was that at that time (19th Century) they were first and foremost status/occupational symbols, then tools, weapons, and only lastly - and occasionally - walking aids.
    When the 19th century romantic nationalisms made them fashionable attires for gentlemen of leisure, they became more of a walking stick, especially for outdoor strolls.
    These make poor walking sticks, even when they sport only an axe-shaped wooden handle. The ones with the metal heads are even less balanced.
    They are great objects for conversation and the envy of all kids. ;) (When I was a kid, I wanted one too.)

    Here are some Hungarian variants from late 19th, early 20th Century ethnographic collections:

    Fokos:

    http://mek.oszk.hu/02100/02115/html/2-384.html

    Swineherder’s axe (kanászbalta, kondásbalta, balloska, valaska):

    http://mek.oszk.hu/02100/02115/html/3-21.html
     
    Agent_H and Square_peg like this.
  11. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    I wonder if shaping the shoulders off of it would help with overall visual proportions initially and guide your handle thinning to the end. You could also get a little a piece of wedging in the space at the front of the eye.

    I get the best results by removing material primarily from the tongue/shoulders into the swell. Your going to hold the head in your hand so I imagine right below the head being important. The traditional ones look more or less round. Your eye shape makes that challenging to recreate to a certain degree.

    More “walking” and less “working”?

    Neat project :thumbsup:
     
  12. littleknife

    littleknife

    Nov 29, 2000
    Daizee, nice job! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
    It does not have to be a traditional design to work, your interpretation is just as valid as the traditional ones, which were first derived from the weapon (fokos) and later on influenced by real hatchets too.
    As Agent_H suggested, you may try removing the most protruding parts of the shoulder (but keep enough of the ramp, so the head does not slide down, if you use it as a hatchet). You can gently round off the corners and the non-cutting edges for more comfortable hold.
    Please don’t forget to use some edge-guard (Kydex?).
     
    rjdankert likes this.
  13. rjdankert

    rjdankert Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Mar 10, 2011
    Here is an example of one with an elongated top fairing into a round:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Bob
     
    Trailsawyer, Agent_H and littleknife like this.
  14. littleknife

    littleknife

    Nov 29, 2000
    Very nice collection of walking sticks and valaskas! :thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
    rjdankert likes this.
  15. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    That light-hafted one looks like a tomahawk-style fit. Is that true? Any issue with leaning on it like a cane? That would be my concern, though I think it's probably the most straightforward answer - basically mount a tomahawk on a really long haft.
     
  16. rjdankert

    rjdankert Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Mar 10, 2011
    Yes
    Sorry, I haven't used it that way enough to give you an answer.
    Yep


    Bob
     
  17. daizee

    daizee KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 30, 2009
    More shaping on the haft, and found a cane/leg foot in my stash that fit it nicely:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    622
    Jul 31, 2017
    That eye looks small. How does it compare to boy's axe eye? I guess total weight around 4lbs
     
  19. rjdankert

    rjdankert Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Mar 10, 2011
    First, I do not think that this one was intended to be a user shepherd's axe- maybe as a cane, but not for pounding or chopping. I got it basically as a decorative piece, and only showed it as an example of the shape of the handle. On to your question the eye is small, approximately 1 3/16 x 9/16. The handle is cut out on top with a shoulder that the head rests on (like a tenon). The handle at the widest part just before where the shoulder starts is about 1 3/4 x 3/4. Total weight is about 1 1/2 pounds.


    Bob
     
  20. crbnSteeladdict

    crbnSteeladdict

    622
    Jul 31, 2017
    thanks Bob
     
    rjdankert likes this.

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