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#23330 - 04/13/10 06:41 PM Axe handle question
brad_bb Offline
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Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
I finally picked up a throwing axe. A used gransfors on ebay. It's in good condition, but the handle seems a bit dry. It has a couple very small checks, and the surface is not totally smooth. Seems like it's been sitting around for quite some time. I'm afraid of getting a sliver while throwing. So I want to sand down the handle. The question is, what if anything should I put on the handle? I know a lot of people leave a regular axe handle bare sanded, getting the new urethane finish off, so you don't get a blister(handle will slide in hand). I'm just wondering if I should put oil on the throwing handle or anything else?
I'm trying to get a tree service down the road to cut a 10 inch thick slice off a 36 inch dia oak chunk sitting in their firewood pile. What is reasonable to pay for them to make the one saw cut and sell me the cookie? There is no sawing or log industry here as we don't have many sawable trees, so most ends up firewood. It's mostly all yard trees too. Thanks.


Edited by brad_bb (04/13/10 06:42 PM)

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#23336 - 04/13/10 10:24 PM Re: Axe handle question [Re: brad_bb]
Craig Roost Offline
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Registered: 06/04/07
Posts: 108
Loc: Wisconsin, USA
Brad,

I have a few sugar maple slabs you can pick from. If you come up north for my next barn raisng in early May, you can stop by and take your pick for free!!

Rooster
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#23355 - 04/16/10 03:14 AM Re: Axe handle question [Re: Craig Roost]
Zach LaPerriere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Sitka, Alaska
Hey Brad,

I have a couple of Grunsfors, but not the throwing axe. If I remember right, the handles are boiled in linseed oil at the factory. If you put linseed on, I'd cut it with some turps.

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#23365 - 04/17/10 07:56 AM Re: Axe handle question [Re: Zach LaPerriere]
brad_bb Offline
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Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
Thanks, I'll give it a try. Brad

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#23380 - 04/18/10 09:33 PM Re: Axe handle question [Re: brad_bb]
brad_bb Offline
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Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
Well I sanded it down and put a couple coats of 1 part boiled linseed oil to 2 parts mineral spirits (the can said to either use miner spirits or Turpentine, and I already had mineral spirits on hand. The finish looks really nice, though it's still drying. Do you think I should rub any paste wax on it after dry? Or would that make it too slick? I'm rather new to finishing and haven't used wax before.

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#23381 - 04/18/10 11:11 PM Re: Axe handle question [Re: brad_bb]
Zach LaPerriere Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/04
Posts: 142
Loc: Sitka, Alaska
Hey Brad,

I'm really not an expert on this, the closest I came to axe throwing was when a maul head flew off while I was chopping wood. But I would think wax might make it too sticky, rather than slick. If it was me, I'd try it for a while as is.

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#23440 - 04/23/10 06:03 PM Re: Axe handle question [Re: Zach LaPerriere]
brad_bb Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
Ok, today I finally got a hold of a guy in two towns away (35-40 minute drive on the highway) who has a stationary band mill. Incidentally, he is the only person that I've found with a band mill within 2 hours of me. Anyway, I talked with him about making a target and he told me that he has thrown the ax a bit in the past too. I told him I was looking for oak, but he recommended I use a soft wood, like cottonwood or soft maple, both of which are common around here and the only trees that readily grow to 3ft+ diameter. I had thought that someone recommended oak to me at one time, but now I'm thinking maybe the cottonwood would be fine to try? We also discussed thickness and he recommended 10 inches for the softwoods.

My axe handle turned out great. It was my first time using Boiled Linseed Oil. The feel is good.
I was also doing two shovel handles too. I had stained them, and then applied the BLO. After two days they were still tacky. Then someone told me that I should have wiped off the excess BLO about a half hour after applying it. I tried rubbing the handles with mineral spirits and letting them dry another 2 days to no avail, still tacky. So tonight I said the heck with it and scuffed the tacky BLO with a scotchbrite pad(equal to 400 grit), and layed 1 coat of polyurethane on. Tomorrow I'll add a second. That's how I've finished garden tool handles in the past. The BLO worked on the ax handle, maybe because it's a different wood? Or maybe it absorbed it better?

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#23446 - 04/24/10 06:22 AM Re: Axe handle question [Re: brad_bb]
Jim Rogers Online   confused

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Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1617
Loc: Georgetown, MA, USA
An old time painter once told me that before metal ladders they always used BLO and turp cut 50/50 to preserve their wooden ladders.
I have recommended this to many who buy planks from me for their backhoe trailers. Many have used this and it seems to work for them.

If you read a can of Linseed oil it will say "stays tacky" but I thought that was only non-boiled (raw) linseed oil...
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#23449 - 04/24/10 08:59 AM Re: Axe handle question [Re: Jim Rogers]
brad_bb Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
How does it hold up in the sunlight? I'm imagining that it will face and crack in time, needing reapplication? I've also got an old long wooden farm extension ladder, I can sand it down and use BLO.

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#23452 - 04/24/10 02:18 PM Re: Axe handle question [Re: brad_bb]
TIMBEAL Offline
Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 1875
Loc: Maine
10-W30, I hear is good for just about every thing, recycle it after it comes out of the car by applying to ladders, shovel blades and handles. I like my axe handle raw, it will oil up naturally.

Tim

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#23453 - 04/24/10 03:15 PM Re: Axe handle question [Re: TIMBEAL]
bmike Offline
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Registered: 01/09/08
Posts: 918
Loc: Burlington, VT
Tim - I can't imagine using used motor oil on anything I might handle or use in the garden... Sounds toxic to start with. I can't believe millions of cycles at high heat does it any good... But YMMV.



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#23454 - 04/24/10 07:51 PM Re: Axe handle question [Re: bmike]
TIMBEAL Offline
Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 1875
Loc: Maine
That advice comes from Scott and Helen Nearing, while living the good life. Just though I would contribute to a previous thread. I do not oil my shovel handles, btw, Scott did though, and lived into his 90's. I wonder how old his shovels were. I have lost more shovel than I care to recall. I used to do a lot of mechanic work, snacking along the way with dirty hands, so I probably have had an oil sandwich. Brake dust was the worst, not to mention gasoline running down my arms while changing a fuel line or tank. I am glad it is not still my primary line of work. Welding is another place where it is possible to breath in some nasty stuff.

How about nine lives? I wonder how many I have used?

Tim


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#23456 - 04/25/10 11:51 AM Re: Axe handle question [Re: TIMBEAL]
Dave Shepard Online   content
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Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 708
Loc: Alford, MA
Scott lived 100 years and 18 days, stopped eating intentionally in the end.
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#23457 - 04/25/10 07:20 PM Re: Axe handle question [Re: Dave Shepard]
TIMBEAL Offline
Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 1875
Loc: Maine
I was not sure of his age. He said when he could no longer bring in the fire wood then his time was up.

Tim

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#23491 - 05/03/10 05:44 PM Re: Axe handle question [Re: TIMBEAL]
Mark Davidson Offline
Member

Registered: 11/12/03
Posts: 1116
Loc: Keene,Ontario, Canada
I'm with Tim, oil the end grain but leave the handle raw.

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#23494 - 05/03/10 10:23 PM Re: Axe handle question [Re: Mark Davidson]
brad_bb Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
Tim, Nitrile gloves and Boraxo soap really help with mechanic work.

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#23496 - 05/04/10 05:41 AM Re: Axe handle question [Re: brad_bb]
TIMBEAL Offline
Member

Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 1875
Loc: Maine
Brad, back in the 1980's we didn't use them. I remember seeing the first fellow use them and thought what a "girl". I use the nitrile gloves now. I dust my hands with baby power and they come on and off easily, I re use then until they are busted.

I find handles will oil up naturally with use, the more you use it the better it gets. Sure a first light coat of something will be ok, I would not fuss over it. I have a mix of stuff on mine, pine pitch is the most prevalent, nothing applied on purpose.

Tim

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#23604 - 05/19/10 10:11 AM Re: Axe handle question [Re: brad_bb]
SteveMeyer Offline
Member

Registered: 05/19/10
Posts: 1
Brad, if your handle is as dry as it sounds, it will absorb quite a lot of oil and not become sticky. You could use linseed oil mixed with mineral spirits 50/50 and apply it until it doesn't sink in anymore. Rub it with climbers chalk or fine dirt (maybe even cat litter) to dry the handle to the touch if it gets too sticky feeling. As far as the target is concerned the guys will probably give it to you if you tell them you need an axe target.A twelve pack at the most. cool

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#23683 - 06/01/10 07:39 AM Re: Axe handle question [Re: SteveMeyer]
toivo Offline
Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 167
linseed oil should do fine, as others have said. if it feels slippery some balsom or pine sap rubbed in right at the end of the handle can give a bit of control (if it's the gransfor handle without a poll).

i wonder about the oak too. i've had good success with balsom poplar, both upright and end grain. it soaks up the axe really nice, and makes a pleasant sound.

on the axe handle tip- discovery--> i've always wanted to try repairing a broken handle with a splice- just tried this and it seems to have worked so far. will post pics.

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