|Project by Will Mego||posted 07-06-2009 08:10 PM||1805 views||0 times favorited||9 comments|
Not the most exciting thing, perhaps, but I do love tools, and refinishing them.
[first three pics are the “after”, and the last is the only “before” I had. Yes that’s yellow electrical tape around the neck, for some reason.]
For my entire life, my mother has had this handaxe knocking around the house, and she abuses it terribly. Hacking at roots into the dirt, beating on rocks, and generally just doing everything you probably should never do with it. Well, after 30+ years of this abuse, the head had become one giant block of not just rust, but dark, blackened rust. The handle was looking like it was going to rot in half, and had long since loosened enough that the head would slide off if you simply held it upside down. Inspired (I assume) by my taking a small handaxe head I found under the beat-to-hell workbench in the garage (that’s right….under) and taking it from rust to shiny and sharp with an entirely hand made handle, she asked if I could do something with her old beater. So, I set off…
A quick clean and polish of the head revealed a lot of pitting (eh, looks rustic) but a nice usable head underneath the rust, of which there was quite a lot. Also, some interesting symbols on the head, which on the large version of the first pic you might be able to get a closer look at..japanese, perhaps? The handle took to sanding nicely, and wasn’t in fact as rotten as first glance would suggest. After sanding, and applying 3 coats of arm-r-seal, finishing with rubbed wax on both handle and head after a quick visit to the grinding wheel to give it an edge, it was done. The symbols remain a mystery, as nobody can quite make heads or tails of them, and after wedging the head on tight with slivers of oak, it looks and feels great…so good in fact, she’s stood it up near her desk, and it’s not been used since! Oh well…at least it’s saved from beating on dirt for awhile.
The slivering of the outside, that is to say between the tenon and the head as opposed to a wedge inside a split of the handle is something I’ve taken to doing after watching some videos of old swedish craftsman posted on here months ago from around 1920’s-1930’s. I’ve put on a few handles this way so far, and they all seem super tight. My other handaxe gets regular (4-5 times a week) serious use hacking at logs and blanks for rough shaping, so far so good.
-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." - http://www.willmego.com/