Tuning an axe handle

Discussion in 'DIY (Do It Yourself)' started by JAD, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. JAD

    JAD Member

    Messages:
    1,105
    Likes Received:
    1,779
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    St Louis, MO
    I recently purchased a Rinaldi Milano Axe from @FortyTwoBlades shop Baryonyx Knife Co. He made a new handle in a 25" length to compliment the stock handle in 15" length.

    [​IMG]

    Funny thing is the custom handle fit far better than the stock handle the axe ships with. In fact, I was unable, or maybe I should say uncomfortable, trying to fit the shorter stock handle back into the axe head. The fit seemed so forced that I felt I could damage the original handle. This is how far it went without trying to finish pounding it in.

    [​IMG]

    Using a marking gauge and takeoffs from the better fitting custom handle, I began sanding the taper near the top.

    [​IMG]

    You can see in this picture the use of a leather strap to prevent marring the handle when tightened in the vise.

    [​IMG]

    The stock handle is pictured on the left. It had a much sharper taper where my fingers curled around the handle.

    [​IMG]

    I decided to use a drum sander on my drill press to knock it down to a more rounded finish.

    [​IMG]

    This picture shows the area along the ridge of the handle where material was removed.

    [​IMG]

    Next I hand finished the sanding to get a finer finish to it. I just pulled the paper back and forth like a shoe shine boy.

    [​IMG]

    Ready for insertion.

    [​IMG]

    The head dropped into place just by repeatedly dropping the axe handle on its top until I got a friction fit at the top. It will take a mallet striking the handle from below to remove the head. A nice superior custom fit and better shaped handle for my grip.

    [​IMG]

    A truly custom axe that I've made my own, with a little help from Benjamin aka @FortyTwoBlades .

    [​IMG]
     
  2. The Warrior

    The Warrior Member

    Messages:
    1,262
    Likes Received:
    2,698
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Illinois
    Nice work man. That hatchet/axe is kinda sorta calling my name. I like it.
     
  3. JAD

    JAD Member

    Messages:
    1,105
    Likes Received:
    1,779
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    St Louis, MO
    @The Warrior -- as I recall from some of your other posts you are a big guy. You might find this handle to be on the thin side for your hands like I did. If you flatten that edge using any number of devices, e.g. spoke shave, electric sander, hand sand it, or even take a good whittling knife to it, I think it will significantly improve the feel in your hand. Also, I usually handle my axe with a good pair of leather gloves, even in the heat of the summer. The thicker feel of my gloves also made the grip far more comfortable to me.
     
  4. The Warrior

    The Warrior Member

    Messages:
    1,262
    Likes Received:
    2,698
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Illinois
    I always wear gloves when I'm using an axe/hatchet.
     
  5. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    868
    Likes Received:
    1,380
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    Yeah--like may manufacturers they seat the heads at the factory using a hydraulic press, so while it's a very secure fit it's not as good as tuning it up by hand. :)
     
  6. JAD

    JAD Member

    Messages:
    1,105
    Likes Received:
    1,779
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    St Louis, MO
    What I'd like to know is what did it take for you to remove it? :mad:
     
    FortyTwoBlades likes this.
  7. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    868
    Likes Received:
    1,380
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    I rest the head on the edge of my anvil and drive the handle out with a mallet. :)
     
  8. JAD

    JAD Member

    Messages:
    1,105
    Likes Received:
    1,779
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    St Louis, MO
    I was kind of expecting brute force versus some type of a press. I nested the head on the jaws of my vise and drove the handle out with a sledge hammer. But I did take care to put a block of wood on the end of the handle. Originally I tried a rubber mallet but it just didn't have enough "kick-in-the-ass" to get it done.
     
  9. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    868
    Likes Received:
    1,380
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    Yeah--a firm wooden or hard plastic mallet works much better than rubber! Rubber tends to absorb too much of the blow.
     

Share This Page