Brand/Manufacturer of axe head: Wards Master Quality
Handle Construction/Material: hand split and air dried ash, hexagonal with scraped finish
Overall Length: 12.5 inches
Head Length: 6 inches
Blade/Bit Length: 3.5 inches
Overall Weight: 1 pounds 9 ounces
NOTE: Video shows splitting and axing honey locust.
About carving axes:
I don’t give carving axes an abrupt, flat bevel geometry the way many axe makers do, but rather an even, slight convex. Dead flat bevels are great if they are meticulously maintained by the user, but if they are not kept near perfectly flat, which can be tricky and time consuming, they actually hamper performance. Many carvers find that level of stringent maintenance too tedious to keep up with, so I opt for a grind geometry that sacrifices a little bit of cutting performance but makes freehand sharpening a breeze with just a file.
A well-fitted, modest handmade leather sheath protected with mink oil is included.
I build axes to be working tools using simple and unpretentious craftsmanship. I do not and will not pander to market forces, so trendy gimmicks and frivolous design features are avoided entirely. Having had my hands injured by axes with poorly designed handles, extreme attention is paid to comfort and ergonomics. Most handles are scraped or lightly rasped rather than sanded smooth, because some texture is essential for maintaining positive control and avoiding grip fatigue. Whether made from logs I split myself or commercially prepared lumber, the grain of every axe handle is carefully assessed to run as true as possible in all directions (unless otherwise noted).
Because every axe is given thorough real world testing to ensure performance and durability, your axe will probably arrive with minor smudges and scuffs. The photos and video will depict this. Every axe is finished with several coats of pure raw linseed oil.
Carving Axe 1
Axes are perhaps the most abused of hand tools, and they are often used in ways that are unsafe. I recommend everyone spend time learning and practicing safe and proper usage. Every effort is made to select strong wood with true grain for my handles, and to do the safest and most secure installation job possible. Nevertheless, every axe should inspected before, during, and after every use. Even adhering to the most stringent safety practices, accidents and material failures can happen with any stiking tool. The user must acknowledge and accept liability for this inherent risk. That being said, if one of my axes does not meet the customer's expectations or fails in any way that is not due to mistreatment by the user, I will do everything possible to make it right -- including repair or replacement as well as paying shipping both ways.
•To the extent possible, keep your axe away from moisture. While incidental exposure to rain or snow often can't be avoided and is usually not a concern, be sure to wipe your axe dry as soon as possible after use. Heavy moisture exposure causes wood to swell and then shrink as it dries back out, and this can result in an axe head coming loose. Never put the sheath on if either the sheath or the axe head is wet, as this will cause rusting of the bit.
•To the extent possible, keep your axe away from heat, as this causes excessive drying and shrinkage of the handle and can cause the head to come loose. Never store your axe in direct proximity to a campfire, wood stove, or heat register, or in the cab of a vehicle that is parked in the sun, for instance.
•Periodically apply a light coat of linseed oil, or an oil/wax mixture to your entire axe, including the head, and especially the endgrain areas of the handle. I recommend raw linseed oil rather than boiled for two reasons. First, all commercially formulated boiled linseed oil contains toxic additives to accelerate drying. Second, the longer drying time of raw linseed oil not only allows it to soak deeper into the wood before it polymerizes, but makes any excess much easier to wipe off. Let the oil soak in for several hours and then wipe clean. SAFETY NOTE: Be sure to dispose of any oil-soaked cloths properly as they are a serious spontaneous cumbustion hazard!
•I strongly recommend sharpening with a file. Most axes will take a hair-popping, razor edge with nothing but a fine toothed single cut file. A more aggressive double cut file can be used to remove any dings or if significant reprofiling is ever needed. Try to maintain the basic bit geometry. With repeated sharpenings, axes will tend to become too convex at the edge, which results in significantly reduced performance and can be dangerous because it increases the chance of glancing blows. See the instructional videos for a detailed demonstration of sharpening with a file.
•In order to protect the bit of you axe, always split on a stump and be sure its surface is free of grit. Splitting or chopping wood directly on the ground will rapidly dull any axe and is likely to cause serious or even irreparable damage to the edge.
•Never swing your axe with excessive force. This is not only dangerous of course, but it dramatically increases the risk of damaging the axe due to overstrike or hitting the ground. Learn good technique and then focus on accuracy and let the tool do the work.