Zimmerer Beil

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Ernest DuBois, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    [​IMG]One axe that I just rehung today after it followed me home and I sharpened it today, (in fact these things occurring over the course of some days, but, you know). Known as zimmerbeil, we can call it a carpentry axe. [​IMG] [​IMG]
    It makes a good companion to its cousin out of the Tyrollean regions the breitbeil.[​IMG]
    Sharing similar construction features to include a nicely tapered socket and this rib accentuating the form, both are of course left-hand oriented. The taper being notable because not all similar axe makers go to the effort, just wrapping the socket parallel-sided for expediency instead.
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    And together with their cousin bandhacke, as a carpenter of a certain tradition, who could ask for more. In other words the set seems complete.[​IMG]
    One other complimentary feature is the extra effort made at decorating it. I like also the choice of placement reminding anyone who might be mistakenly inclined not to use the poll as a hammer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
  2. Agent_H

    Agent_H

    Aug 21, 2013
    On top of the several aspects you mentioned that set that axe apart from many one might come across, I imagine finding them designed for left-handed work is especially pleasing for you Ernest. The poll is quite interesting and if done by the maker then a real sign of time spent on detail.

    The cut-out in the blade may have been common to makers of a certain period, region, or maker but was it also generally associated with a higher-quality versions of axes? The shape reminds me of the older Columbus line of Jeklo Ruse carpentry axes or A. Pagačhik (I've only seen them in old catalog scans of course).

    Regardless, that looks to be quite a piece of work. Thank you for sharing that with us here.
     
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  3. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    You have of course exposed the assumption behind my implied assertion that the cross-hatch and dot pattern on the poll comes from the smid at the time the axe was forged. But the motif matches the circled dot on the axe's top in front of the socket and looks contemporaneous to the numeric stamp behind there which seem consistent with certain steps of production. Still, it is completely correct of you pointing out alternative origins because I have no way of knowing this embellishment was not put there later on. And you are right as well to point out the relative scarceness of this type of axe executed in a left orientation, ( an orientation I subscribe to myself, by the way).
    If you can make these historic pages available directly without having to click on indecipherable contractural agreements for access that'd be real helpful and much appreciated. This piercing really is a puzzling thing. What its function if any might be I have no idea though it is that common even on newly produced axes. I think I'll do what I always imagined was the purpose and use it to hang the axe from a nail in the wall.
     
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  4. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

    908
    Jun 25, 2017
    X
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  5. Agent_H

    Agent_H

    Aug 21, 2013
    Of course, a forum member @chumaman shared the links in another thread here. I can post the other in entirety or just the model in question - don't want to just clutter up your thread but having the other tools and nomenclature gives a bigger context.
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  6. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    I guess conventionally the term would be zimmermannsbeil but I don't like it because it gets attached more times than not to the breitbeil though now and then axes similar to this one get labeled with that name too. Well, for the sake of argument here I willingly acknowledge the ambiguity of it all and to go with the description of the similar-looking axe from Agent_H's old catalogue and accept, "Zimmermanns Handhacke", seems a good description and conventionally credible source. Do you know Keven the equivalencies of Beil and axt from the German? Which is the big and which is the smaller?

    The socket of the smaller, the zimmerman's handhacke then, isn't offset in the way it is on breitbeil, the blade does sweep upwards from the socket remaining more or less parallel. An off-set would be nice but for the intended use not necessary or practical to make them that way. This isn't the expediency I meant, that was only referring to the taper of the socket. Most commonly these axes, zimmerman's handhacken, have a socket that has parallel internal sides or a minimal taper at best where this one is significantly tapered which is more unusual and I think shows a bit more care and skill in making so an above average quality axe generally.

    I also don't dislike the embellishments but to hammer on them would be a shame. I guess up till now that's what others thought as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
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  7. Agent_H

    Agent_H

    Aug 21, 2013
    Also, I don’t presume to know where or when your particular axe was made - just wanted in on talking about it :thumbsup:
     
  8. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Great thanks for that. It is fine having those old references at hand. You must have an impressive library.
    Safe to say within the last hundred years I guess, and likely the earlier first half of those.
     
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  9. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    My guess is Steiermark.
     
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  10. Fmont

    Fmont

    986
    Apr 20, 2017
    That's beautiful!
     
  11. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Thank you Fmont. I don't know if it was so much the particular axe that I liked, could be that or maybe it was how nice a set it makes along side these others, forming a unity.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
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  12. Agent_H

    Agent_H

    Aug 21, 2013
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  13. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Thank you again Agent_H. These facsimiles offer some good information.
     
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  14. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    That's something I lack and in general is missing in the American tool set, a small side axe with an offset handle. I should buy a pair of Vaughans and set one up left and one right.

    I have a pretty nice RH offset Stubai but I don't see where they still offer the left hand version (they did a few years ago). I'm pretty sure Mueller still sells both lefts and rights.
     
  15. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    I debated, with m'self, it was a real tussle, about the handle and in the end went for a slight off-set. It was a piece of ash in the hayloft with just the right form that tilted the balance. Could have just as easily gone the other way and ended up with one straight one. In fact I started a straight before abandoning that project and going back to look through my handle blank supplies.[​IMG]
    My sense is the options for mass produced variation are contracting- Stubai, Müeller... while at the same time small-scale hand production catering to individuals is expanding. This has many implications.
     
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  16. Agent_H

    Agent_H

    Aug 21, 2013
    Ernest, there is an axe on the fifth page down that looks similar in build (maybe even a flourish on the poll?) Josef Bratmann 1938 catalog:
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    This one originated in a post by @Turbo4x4 on rusknife.com - thank you sir. @Kevin Houtzager also did translation work:
    *To see the translations, click the arrow in the quote (it put the text over the max characters per post)

    Since your large goosewing is featured as well, the markings have always intrigued me. This may or may not belong here but I am eager to purchase a copy of this text (hijacked excerpts):
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  17. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    Yes, the Oberländer is one with a lot of similarities. From these different catalogues the handhacken are all very similar and portray the axe with this flattened, off-centered poll which is the standard design. I see they are calling the blade piercing, "nail hole". Still pretty ambiguous isn't it even from this retailer source?
    The one from the thread is a deviation from this standard with a pol and socket reminiscent of the breitbeil construction. This handhacke, a kind of diminutive version of the breitbeil which I thought made it such a good pairing.
    Generous of you to include the Reinthaler book. It's one I have often wanted to go back to reference but cannot always locate it. Well it may be time also for me to get my hands on a version now there is this handy translated one.
     
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  18. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    For hanging the axe on a nail above the bench.
     
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  19. Ernest DuBois

    Ernest DuBois

    Mar 2, 2013
    [​IMG]
    It's possible.
     
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  20. Agent_H

    Agent_H

    Aug 21, 2013
    Could one secure a leather/wooden mask or edge guard through the hole?
    I honestly haven’t seen examples as such.

    The wooden tool box I inherited from my grandfather had a small, wooden, oblong toggle that swiveled 360 degrees set on about 1.5” piece of doweling. He isn’t around to ask but I have wondered if it was to retain/secure a saw tool in place.

    Also, being it is “cross-like” it might also invoke spiritual protection? Keep those pagans at bay?
     
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