• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Picked up a Collins legitimate felling axe  RSS feed

 
Larry Bock
Posts: 155
8
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I found this critter at a tag sale. Took me awhile to fiquire out what type of axe it was.Collins  Legitimus is a series that covers many of that line of tools
I went online and found some decent sites about axes, hewing tools and hazing tools, the one thing they mentioned about vintage Collins Axe Company axes and such was the hardness of the steel. I scoffed when they mentioned that a file that you purchased in a Home Depot would not be a file fire long. 
So , here is my review of a vintage Collins axe
I have six files that are in my someday recycle bin.  They will make excellent blade stock for a few custom knives ( hey winters long in ME). They are No longer files. The axe is nowhere where I need it to be but I do have a good set of stones to work with. I feel she is gonna be a great addition to my hand tool arsenal when she is done. Oh, that is when I can shave the hair on my arm. Lol.    Larry
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1366
149
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was never a big fan of the Collins Axe as I thought they were rather soft, BUT I think my Collins Axe is a newer version. I have a deep appreciation for Plumb, and had a two-bit many years ago, but drove it in a tree to go potty, forgot it, and can't remember where I left it. Perhaps someday I will find it, but for now I got it narrowed down to about 10 acres!

As for sharp, I like using sanding paper on glass, going from 100 grit right up to 2500, then stropping with roughe on leather. I had to do that today for a pair of Hand Shears for sheep. Brand new but hardly sharp. I got them sharper then they were, but nowhere near sharp enough! Sometimes you just have to work up through the grits several times to get them right.

By the way, since you like old tools, you should check out Liberty Tool in Liberty Maine. It is 3 floors of old estate hand tools. I won't say they are cheap...the owner knows tools, so you pay for what they are, again not expensive, just a fair price, BUT there are tons of them. The best thing...again because the owner is a tool collector...he has a Tool Museum across the road. If you like vintage knives and axes, that free museum is a place you want to go. Liberty Maine is about halfway between Augusta and Belfast on Route 3.

 
Larry Bock
Posts: 155
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for the info on Liberty, it's one of those places that are actually on my way somewhere in ME
I am learning, slowly the value of good vintage hand tools. I may have to pay a fair price but there is every chance in the world , if taken care of, they will outlast the next generation.   My roto tiller is older than me. But the lower is all cast iron and if worse comes to worse? A $160 harbor freight engine will out live me. lol
 
Larry Bock
Posts: 155
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ps, I have a friend that rested a cheap single shot 12 gauge shot gun against a tree to go potty on his property. It must have fallen over when he turned his back. He found it the next spring. Lol
It's up and running. Just not too attractive ๐Ÿ˜„. For some reason? The bore was in good shape?    I'm still missing a K bar here.  It is within 200 feet of where I am standing
 
Larry Bock
Posts: 155
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Travis, just noticed it was you who posted.  How is the mending process going? 
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1366
149
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good I guess, though they cannot figure out what is wrong with me. Changes in medications take 6 weeks to detect, so they fuss with something...wait...see it is not working...fuss with it again...wait. It sucks, but that is the way it is with Dr's. Myself I think they got quite the racket. My sister is a Cardiologist and said 70% of her patients die. Of course if you see her, you either just saw the big bright light, or are in the tunnel. I told her she had it made, I can't imagine my career as a welder would have been so good if 70% of my welds failed. There would be a lot of sunk ships out on the ocean for sure.

As for losing things, I have done my share, but they turn up too. I lost a chain clearing a field, and 10 years later I dug it up while bulldozing the area. I also found (2) brand new farm implement wheels on a rock wall hidden under leaves from the 1930's, quite a few harrow parts, and of course enough potato digger chains to swamp a battleship. I would like to find that axe though.

As for axes, I think the name was Kennebec Axe Company, and it was the last axe maker in Maine not counting Snow and Neally. I think they closed shop in 1965 or so, and were in Oakland. I think they had something on YouTube about them.

I was up your way last week though. Pretty area, and there is a woman who just joined on here that is in Washington County as well. Maybe we should all get together at Helen's for breakfast; their Lox is to die for.

DSCN5024.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN5024.JPG]
 
Larry Bock
Posts: 155
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Travis, I hope things will turn around for you, kinda know they will
That photo you posted?  Made me so homesick. It is a typical down east photo for someone who has not been there
I have been there, I know what it smells like
I know the sound of a tea water lake as it rolls into shore on a gentle breezy day
I know what it looks like on a sunny day
I know what it looks like on a choppy day
Even know what it tastes like
I can feel my bare feet stubbing my toes as I make myway out to deeper water to swim
Your gonna be fine Travis
This I can feel. Take care.   Larry
 
Devin Lavign
pollinator
Posts: 491
Location: Pac Northwest
41
books chicken forest garden goat hunting solar trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If your interested in vintage axes, I highly suggest this site http://www.yesteryearstools.com/Yesteryears%20Tools/Home.html for some background. There are 4 pages on Collins axes

Also An Ax To Grind site from the US forest service has some great info on vintage axes https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/recreational_trails/publications/fs_publications/99232823/page23.cfm
As well as the site has some amazing info on axes in general, as well as there is a great video of the same name



There is also a video for trail maintenance tools which does give some axe knowledge as well



As for the Collins vs Plumb etc. I prefer the Kelly True Temper but both Collins and Plumb are great axes, as long as they were well taken care of. Sad part is a lot of vintage axes were mistreated and worse, there was a trend to burn old handles off back in the 60's and 70's. Which ruined the temper on many amazing axes.
 
Larry Bock
Posts: 155
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you for posting the videos.  It's safe to say I know a lot more about axe care and maintainence than I ever did before. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฟ.   Larry
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1366
149
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I know on my farm I would rather be without a gun then an axe, in fact I have lived it. For about 20 years I went without a gun, but I could not live a day without an axe!

A few years ago I was laid off from my job as a shipbuilder, had plenty of time, but lacked money, so wanting hand cut beams for my house, I made them out of an axe. They look hand hewn because they are! My poor wife, she was 7 months pregnant when she helped me put them up! I can say this; a 8 x 8 beam 16 feet long spruce is plenty heavy when it is green.

I have to admit I abused my axe, and this was in a way that most people do. As I squared up the beams, I would hit the back of the axe with a hammer to drive it through the wood. This loosens the handle because it makes the ovalish hole in the head, expand outward and loosen the axe. You get the same thing driving wedges into trees during felling. What the old timers did was actually hit the wedge with the flat side of the axe, which is why they used double-bit axes too.

Another thing the old duffers did was "hang" their own axe handles. My Grandfather scoffed at the manufactured axe handles because they "were as thick as poles and shocked your arm clear through." They would actually pare them down so they had spring to them. Each was custom made. In fact a logger was acquitted of murder back in the old days because the axe he was accused of killing the man with, was not "hung the same as his". We laugh today at the thought, but it would be the same as saying a person was not driving the car in a hit and run accident because the seat was not adjusted to the mans preference.

Here is a photo of my hand cut spruce beams.

DSCN3927.JPG
[Thumbnail for DSCN3927.JPG]
 
Larry Bock
Posts: 155
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Travis,your beams look wonderful. I gotta ask a few questions.  What diameter logs did you start with and how long does it take to hew a 16ft 8x8? I have been keeping my eye out for some variety of broad axe at the local flea market.  I usually stumble across what I'm looking for there.  No luck on a hewing tool. I did pick up a great draw knife there not too long ago for $4. I'm looking forward to checking out the place in Liberty.   Larry
 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1366
149
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Larry I started with a log about a foot in diameter on the butt, that left me a top of about 10 inches. There was significant waste per log, but such as it is. I always figure any tree going into my house is never really waste anyway...it is for my house. I wanted a broad axe as well, but they were $315 for a new one and so I said SCREW THAT!

What I did was start at the pith of the log, measure out four inches from that, then four inches on the other side. Taking a level I made two plumb lines on the face of the log. Then I measure up 4 inches from the pith, and down from the pith and using a square, marked lines there. In that way I had a 8x8 square on the end of the log. Then I went to the other end of the log and did the same thing. Then I used a chalk line and connected each end so I knew what to slab off.

Now working on each side to slab, I took my chainsaw and cut down to the line, being careful not to go too far every 8 inches or so. I found the wavy grain of spruce to require that. I also found using butt logs worked best as my next operation, chopping out the slabs was hard when going through a knot. In chopping out these sections though, I just put my pole axe on the line, took a 2-1/2 pound hammer and knocked off the chunk. Then I went down the log, flipped the log over and did that to the remaining sides. Now I had a VERY ROUGH, but square beam.

From there I took a power planer and just went over the beam, planing the very rough face so that it was flatter. I just stopped before it was completely planed, and yet planed enough as I found the 100% hand hewn beam a bit to rough to my liking. A few times my chainsaw went too deep and showed a nick. I did not want that, so I used my axe to chip out the nick even though it cut into my squared beam. This kept the hand hewn look without a tell tale chainsaw mark in the beam.

At first the learning curve was a touch long, maybe two hours or so, but by the end I was producing a beam in an hour. It was not that bad. It is DEFINITELY something the wife and I plan to do again when we build onto our home. That is a great gauge on whether or not it is worth it. If a job is just looked at with drudgery it may not be worth doing time wise, but I don't feel that way at all. By the way, I later calculated the loads and each beam should support about 4500 pounds of weight. That is pretty rugged for an hour of my time and using simple tools.

Note: you could use a hand plane to smooth the beams, but it would be a pain and take a lot longer.

 
Devin Lavign
pollinator
Posts: 491
Location: Pac Northwest
41
books chicken forest garden goat hunting solar trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Larry Bock wrote:Thank you for posting the videos.  It's safe to say I know a lot more about axe care and maintainence than I ever did before. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฟ.   Larry


Always happy to share info about vintage axes. I am a bushcrafter as well as permie, so enjoy axes quite a bit. As well as I worked trail maintenance in the Cascade mountains. There is a lot of folks out there trying to keep the old knowledge about axes and similar tools alive so it is not lost. The Ax to Grind info was put together due to the forest service realizing the knowledge of axe and forest tools was declining. They wanted to preserve the knowledge and educate folks.

BTW, speaking of hanging your own axe handle. This is an amazing video of a guy from the 30's making and hanging an axe handle, he makes it look so easy. FYI there is no sound.

 
Travis Johnson
pollinator
Posts: 1366
149
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have made a few of my own hand tools, but they were not axes.

I made a shoulder plane, that was mostly stainless steel with applewood infill, the a stainless steel dovetail saw with apple handle and stainless sex bolts. And then I made a sailmaker cutter out of cherry with stainless steel wear bars. Stainless is not the greatest metal I know, but before I built US Navy Vessels I built yachts where everything was polished stainless. I like the look though it is 100% modern looking.

Sadly all my pictures are on an old external hard drive that gave up the ghost or I would post them here.

I loved the hobby, and had plas for many more, but then got sheep. They take all my time.
 
Get off me! Here, read this tiny ad:
Mike Oehler's Low-Cost Underground House Workshop & Survival Shelter Seminar - 3 DVD+2 Books Deal
https://permies.com/wiki/48625/digital-market/digital-market/Mike-Oehler-Cost-Underground-House
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!