Ax Han­dle Re­place­ment

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Chopping Competently - DavidWiberg/is­tock­

If you use an ax long enough, chances are that you'll need to re­place a han­dle. The process is pretty easy in your garage with power tools, but what hap­pens when you’re in the field? Mis­judge your dis­tance, ac­ci­den­tally strike the han­dle, and you may have a prob­lem. How do you re­move a wooden han­dle from the ax head? Fol­low these steps:

Re­place­ment Han­dle: We highly sug­gest carv­ing a re­place­ment han­dle be­fore you at­tempt to re­move the ex­ist­ing bro­ken han­dle. You may still be able to use what’s left of the bro­ken han­dle as a stubby han­dle to cut your new han­dle with. When you find a suit­able piece of wood to carve the re­place­ment han­dle from, re­assem­ble the bro­ken han­dle to the best of your abil­ity and use it as a sten­cil be­fore carv­ing.

Re­move the Old Han­dle: When you have a rough new han­dle, it’s time to burn out the old one. Gather fire­wood and lo­cate a safe place to build a ground fire. Wet the ground suf­fi­ciently be­fore you start. This will help keep the ax edge cooler than dry ground. Bury the head in the wet soil and leave the wooden han­dle ex­posed. Light a fire and burn out the old head. It doesn’t need to burn to ash com­pletely; some­times, when it’s charred, the tol­er­ances will give and it’ll push out with a dowel or log ba­ton.

Fit the New Han­dle: This process can be done with a Swiss Army Knife equipped with a saw or with spe­cial­ized gear like a rasp and a small fold­ing saw. Fit­ting, aka “hang­ing,” an ax head on a new han­dle takes pa­tience and time. Once you’re able to pass the new ax han­dle through the eye with some force, split the ax han­dle in line with the edge of the ax head with your saw. Use a wooden wedge carved from a good piece of hard­wood to fric­tion fit the han­dle in place. If the ax han­dle is prop­erly hung, you won’t need to crack the wood grain with sup­ple­men­tal metal wedges.

Field-Ready Fin­ish: Once your ax is han­dled, take the time to clean it up to make it more com­fort­able for use. Smooth it out by re­mov­ing any knots or hot spots in the wood. If prop­erly done, this han­dle will last you the du­ra­tion of your trip.

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