Hatchet restoration

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Project by jeffswildwood posted 01-07-2018 11:53 PM 918 views 2 times favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a restoration I just finished on an Estwing hatchet for a close friend of my Sons. He also happens to be my mailman. I was in my basement shop sanding when I heard a knock on the basement door. No one does that. He said his grandfather gave him this when he about five or six years old. It had belonged to his uncle who passed away before he was born. He is 35 now. So it is very old. He said he had always wanted a new handle on it and it dawned on him he knew someone who could do it. He went and got it and it was in very rough shape. The leather handle was rotted, wrapped in duck tape and the head was rusty. I cut it open and the handle tang was worse. The duck tape had been on it since he got it. It was really rusty.

First I stripped all the handle off and could see it had an interesting tang. Shaped sort of like an I beam. The rust was worse then I thought. I could tell I would have my hands full with this one. Especially having never done an internal tang.

I began working on it with a wire wheel, removing rust and scale. I followed this with my dremel cleaning all I could from the tang. I used a sander going through the grits on the head and had to leave most of the pitting for it was just too deep. I cleaned the head up with a five stage buffing compound. For the the handle I chose walnut and had to do a LOT of router and chisel work. I drilled two more holes for brass pins. When I finished, I was happy with the results. I even left the end plate, cleaned and shined, and made a nice box for it.

This was a fun and challenging project. When he gave it to me he asked what I would charge, I said nothing, just can’t charge for some projects! Thanks for looking.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

30 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile (online now)

Monte Pittman

28611 posts in 2273 days

#1 posted 01-07-2018 11:59 PM

Awesome job sir

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View poospleasures's profile


692 posts in 2418 days

#2 posted 01-08-2018 12:02 AM

Great looking restore. I know there is a lot of work into that. The box is perfect for it.

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

View jeffswildwood's profile


2931 posts in 1912 days

#3 posted 01-08-2018 12:07 AM

Thanks guys, getting that handle to fit was quite a job. Chisel a little, test, then repeat. I used pins for the hinge on the box, stain is ebony with three coats of polyurethane.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Timmie99's profile


24 posts in 373 days

#4 posted 01-08-2018 12:10 AM

I really appreciate these kinds of jobs! They mean so much to people and you are right, how do you put a price on that and why would we want to? Great job on this restoration.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

1735 posts in 517 days

#5 posted 01-08-2018 12:40 AM

Great job restoring that, Jeff! What a transformation!

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View jeffswildwood's profile


2931 posts in 1912 days

#6 posted 01-08-2018 12:45 AM

Thanks guys. Timmie, He has been friends with my Sons almost his whole life. And this is a family pass down. I just couldn’t charge for that. Thanks Dave, It was a nice transformation.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View ralbuck's profile (online now)


4140 posts in 2201 days

#7 posted 01-08-2018 01:31 AM

Fine job!

Great “metal rescue”!

Great gift to the friend also.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View luv2learn's profile


2739 posts in 2237 days

#8 posted 01-08-2018 02:04 AM

It is a beautiful restoration job. The presentation box is awesome.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


1634 posts in 755 days

#9 posted 01-08-2018 03:39 AM

neat job j’w’w’. Know the feeling as I tried the same with a cleaver….

However, I sat on one of these for weeks and could not HatchIt.....

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View doubleDD's profile


7222 posts in 1978 days

#10 posted 01-08-2018 05:09 AM

Wow Jeff, you opened your door to a man with a hatchet in his hand?That must of been different. LOL.
It’s a better than fine job on it, but then I should know. Actually looking at the handle I would have to say it looks original. Great job on the blade too.
You may be getting special delivery from him now. How does that saying go, The postman always rings twice?

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View CFrye's profile (online now)


10070 posts in 1774 days

#11 posted 01-08-2018 06:15 AM

Better than new, Jeff, with all the history in it still. Great job and a bonus box, too! Is the inside felt or flocking? Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View majuvla's profile


11880 posts in 2802 days

#12 posted 01-08-2018 07:40 AM

Outstanding ’’tool saving’’ project. Makes you wanna keep it displayed rather than use it again.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View jeffswildwood's profile


2931 posts in 1912 days

#13 posted 01-08-2018 11:41 AM

Thanks for all the comments everyone! Dave, I guess he will ring twice today, when he gets it back. I hope he likes it. Candy I used felt. I need to try flocking. I like the way it looks. Lee, thanks guy. Duck, Careful sitting on that cleaver. Ralbuck and Ivan. Thanks. Ivan, I hope he does display it, but just in case I made it strong. Thanks for the comments and for looking!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View ArtMann's profile


902 posts in 751 days

#14 posted 01-08-2018 12:47 PM

I believe the original handle was constructed of layers of leather disks held tightly together and varnished. Yes?

View GR8HUNTER's profile


3447 posts in 647 days

#15 posted 01-08-2018 03:40 PM

a very nice resto Jeff a bit nice then your resto knife HUMMM ….. A very nice presentation case also ….i know how hard it was to fit it …BUT …... you done a GREAT JOB :<))
I would like to try flocking on the box swap


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