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Refinishing a Canadian Axe  RSS feed

 
Burra Maluca
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Paul found this set of pictures on imgur and asked me to share it with you all. Here's the original link - Refinishing a Canadian Axe

I brought over the original text, but please note it is *not* me who originally wrote this.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is the original axe after bringing it home from the flea market. It looked like it needed a friend.



Finished axe.



Handle was crap so I got rid of it using a coping saw.



Put it in the vice and tried to punch it out.



It was being stubborn, so I brought out a drill and then punched out the remnants.



Looking down the eye of the axe head.



I knew that I wanted to sand down the axe and remove the patina/rust, but I figured it might be fun to do a little science experiment, so I soaked it in vinegar for a day and then scrubbed it with some steel wool.



It made the logo more clear. Tracked down the name. Lion Brand. Made in St Catherines Ontario, in the early 1900s.



I then went at it with various grits of sandpaper until I was happy with how it looked.



The pits are deep and plentiful.





The axe was dull, obviously, but the edge wasn't chipped or cracked so it wasn't too hard to give it a sharp edge.





Not the sharpest edge possible, I lack a good high-grit sharpening stone.



I was just going to buy a handle, but the only ones I could find were lacquered and annoyingly expensive, so I magically tracked down some hickory at the lumber yard and got to work.



I used the old handle as a template. I liked the size and shape.





I then roughly cut it out with a coping saw.





Starting to take shape.



After working it with a chisel and file it started to like a proper handle.





After working the end of the handle with a file I was able to get it through the eye of the axe. First test fit.





After test fitting the head I cut off the excess from the top.



I then cut a kerf in the head to accept the wedge





Final handle.



Happy with the grip.



I made a wedge out of red oak.



Test fitting the wedge into the kerf.



I missed a few steps here. My hands were too oily to bother taking pictures. Before hanging the axe I covered the entire handle, including in the kerf and the wedge with boiled linseed oil. Then I seated the head onto the handle and drove the wedge into the kerf.



Before and after handles.



Shot of the wedge after it was driven in and sanded down.



Finished product.





 
thomas rubino
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thanks for sharing this , Excellent work and he saved a piece of history.
 
Peter Ellis
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Lots of old axes still floating around. Projects like this are gratifying and you wind up with a very good quality tool that cost a fraction of a modern equivalent, if you can even find one.
 
Dale Hodgins
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A good day of yard sailing will yield a dozen old axe heads. I wonder what was so special about this one. The upper blade has been ground down a lot. I'm in Canada and have never heard of an axe being assigned a nationality. This one is a Canadian Axe .

I'll sharpen an axe, but the only way that the sides are ever getting polished is when they rub on wood that is being chopped or split.

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Edit --- I just found the part about it being 100 years old, and it's from St. Catharines Ontario, where I lived from ages 12 to 29. That's why it didn't look rare to me.

At the bottom of this page is the same brand of axe head already cleaned up. It's in better condition for $25. I can't believe how cheap some old tools are. Check out the adze.

http://www.grandpastreasureschest.com/othervintagetools.htm
 
Len Ovens
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Burra Maluca wrote:Paul found this set of pictures on imgur and asked me to share it with you all. Here's the original link - Refinishing a Canadian Axe

I brought over the original text, but please note it is *not* me who originally wrote this.



The only thing missing is how well it cuts wood, both splitting and chopping (commenting on the original page). Though I guess the handle making and restoration was the main idea, the usefulness of the tool is what makes it a tool (or not). It is none the less an interesting documentary of the process. Thank you.
 
Frere Daran
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Beautiful work & excellent pictures.
Thank you for sharing!
 
Dale Hodgins
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Len Ovens wrote:
The only thing missing is how well it cuts wood, both splitting and chopping (commenting on the original page). Though I guess the handle making and restoration was the main idea, the usefulness of the tool is what makes it a tool (or not). It is none the less an interesting documentary of the process. Thank you.


An axe that has been filed down that much on the nose (portion of the head furthest from the operator) will tend to glance off any small branches that are struck. It then becomes necessary to always hit the center of the branch with the center of the round on the axe. I've limbed small firs and cedars with such an axe. I eventually ground out the center to achieve a flatter profile. Cutting improved enormously. An antique like this would be devalued by this treatment.

Splitting axes do fine with a rounded nose, unless quite small chunks are struck. The rounded portion begins the split before the corners, which should reduce friction and cross cutting of fibers, thus saving momentum.
 
Len Ovens
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Dale Hodgins wrote:
Len Ovens wrote:
The only thing missing is how well it cuts wood, both splitting and chopping (commenting on the original page). Though I guess the handle making and restoration was the main idea, the usefulness of the tool is what makes it a tool (or not). It is none the less an interesting documentary of the process. Thank you.


An axe that has been filed down that much on the nose (portion of the head furthest from the operator) will tend to glance off any small branches that are struck. It then becomes necessary to always hit the center of the branch with the center of the round on the axe. I've limbed small firs and cedars with such an axe. I eventually ground out the center to achieve a flatter profile. Cutting improved enormously. An antique like this would be devalued by this treatment.


I guess I am one of those who values tools by how well they work, not how old they are. Not so much of a collector If the blade has been filed down a lot, the edge holding may suffer as well. Many black smiths put harder steel into the edge. Once past that the steel is quite soft.


Splitting axes do fine with a rounded nose, unless quite small chunks are struck. The rounded portion begins the split before the corners, which should reduce friction and cross cutting of fibers, thus saving momentum.


Should have some good use then.
 
Sam Barber
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Here is an awesome video doing something similar step by step.
 
Sam Barber
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Does anyone have pictures of any tools they restored?
 
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek
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Sam Barber wrote:Does anyone have pictures of any tools they restored?


I recently did something similar with a single bit axe. I bought 8 axe heads on eBay and I'm refinishing them and plan to resell them when they are all done. This one seemed the least difficult and it was my first time doing it. The first image is what it looked like when I got it. Then I refinished the head with sanding and polishing on a buffing wheel. I put a new hickory handle on it. I have been unable to find large pieces of hickory in my area, so I bought this one prefinished.

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Before
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After
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Finished
 
Sam Barber
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That is awesome! I hope you will post more pitures of your projects
 
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek
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I've been getting into blacksmithing recently and I have rehandled a dozen or so hammers. I have a few tools that my grandfather used when he was a young man before WWII that need some TLC before they can really be used. I'll be sure to document everything and post it. I'll also put up some more axe images in the next week or so as I finish them! Thanks!
 
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek
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Just finished another head tonight. Here are the before and after images. I have to order handles since I can't find any supplier near me and I don't have trees on my property. I'll post finished pictures when I'm all done!

Before.jpg
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Sam Barber
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did you hand polish that head or use a power tool if so what tool did you use?
 
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek
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Sam Barber wrote:did you hand polish that head or use a power tool if so what tool did you use?


This one I hand sanded starting with 220, then 500 then 1200. I then used a buffing wheel and polishing compound. The last one I did I used a dremel with sanding tips starting at 60 grit, then 120, then hand sanded with 150 and 220. I followed it with the same method, using the buffing wheel and polishing compound.

I started a pretty rusty head in an electrolysis bath today and I'm experimenting with tea as a derusting agent as well. I'll post some more pictures in a few!
 
Sam Barber
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Here is another wranglerstar video of Cody refinishing a sling blade!
 
Lucas Harrison-Zdenek
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Here are my before/after images of the three heads I've finished so far. The next few have a lot more rust and need a bit more TLC. I'll keep updating as I get them done!
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