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I Designed a New Axe Today  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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It sounded like a bad joke; two pieces of flat bar, a hinge, and spring all walk into a workshop and...

But in all seriousness, I wanted a new splitting axe to split my wood up for my pot bellied stove. I wanted to build my own axe because I hate spending money, and honestly there was nothing good out there. The lever type of axe has a unique design, but it has some fatal flaws and I could see how I could avoid those flaws, make a simple axe with what I had kicking around the house, and have one of the best splitting axes made to date. It is a tall order, the axe has been around since...well...Caveman days.

But I'll be darned if I did not do just that.

This is an axe ANYONE with a mere amount of welding skills can build, with materials they have kicking around the house, and for no money. Mine cost $0 dollars! It also took around 3 hours to build.

The axe works differently then most axes, the handle is off-set from the head of the axe so that as it strikes the block of wood, it immediately flips sideways. This uses kinetic energy, along with leverage to drive the wood apart. This is pretty basic for a lever axe, but my new axe differs from leverage axes in that mine is welded to a hinge. This means that as the wood is struck, the twisting force acts upon the hinge and leaves the handle firm in your hands...NO BLISTERS and no need for gloves either!! But my axe also has a spring, so that as the wood is struck the Spring automatically returns the axe head back to near vertical for another strike. It does all this in a fraction of a second. Trust me when I say this, NO ONE is surprised it works more than me!

This is my first prototype so it could be refined to look better, and I might down the road. Here are some pictures, but in the first picture showing my gathered up materials, I never needed the railroad spike to build it.

It has been a good day, it is not every day that a person redesigns an axe design so radically.

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New-Axe.jpg
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New-Axe-Up-Close.jpg
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pollinator
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As soon as I saw the thread title I thought I bet he has welded it to his bulldozer seems I was not far wrong Alas in all seriousness I look forward to seeing more closely what it is like as my phone does not cope well with pics

David
 
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I would very much like to see a video of that
 
Travis Johnson
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My wife has a video of it, but she is out and about right now and it is on her phone. I will see if I can get it uploaded when she gets back.
 
pollinator
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Nice! I found using a splitting maul was trickier than just "hit the wood super hard", as I ended up snapping a hickory handle from (I think) driving down with the handle at the point of impact. So something that limits my dummy factor above and beyond experience would be a good thing!
 
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Interesting.  I'd also like to see a video.  Just from pics, it doesn't seem well balanced, am I wrong in my thinking?  Regardless, cool that you made it yourself and are pleased with it. 
 
Travis Johnson
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Walt Chase wrote:Interesting.  I'd also like to see a video.  Just from pics, it doesn't seem well balanced, am I wrong in my thinking?  Regardless, cool that you made it yourself and are pleased with it. 



No it is not well balanced at all, but again that is the entire principal behind lever axes as a whole, the off-balance nature of them is what provides the tool to not only split the wood by a wedging action, but also a leverage action. Combined, the two make the wood fly apart.

One thing it obviously needs is a better handle. The square tubing socket allows for a fairly big handle, but on this one I just cut off a broken axe handle to see how it would work. A longer one special built would be much, much better. Another improvement could be the spring. It would be best if it was a compression spring, and one located above the axe head and not below it. Rounding the main cutting edge and creating a less steep angle on the secondary bevel would also help a lot.
 
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It looks like the impact is carried through the hinge pin and thin metal holding the pin. I suspect that this will fail quickly. A beefy hinge might be a solution.
 
gardener
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I'm going to have to agree with Paul. The hinge's "dovetails" , if you will, are receiving the recoil of the downward force. I don't see them holding out for very long. Was a great attempt though. I hope you can prove me wrong. 😊
 
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