Old Ax heads

Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,692
Location
Appleton, Maine
As the tag sale (garage sale-yard sale) season approaches, I was wondering if anybody else looks for old ax heads with a name stamped on them. I'm always looking for a Snow and Nealy ax head at the sales, no luck yet, even on eBay I get outbid all the time.
I found a nice Collins double bladed hatchet a while back, Collins was a local company (in Collinsville, CT, home of the CT Swift canoe store) and the head has a nice Collins stamped into it.

I bought a True Value ax head last year for a buck, not sure about how historic it is.:rolleyes:

Does anybody else look for ax heads or have a collection?
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2012
Messages
289
Location
Rochester, NY
I will keep an eye out for ya. I hit the estate sales all year long. Recently picked up a 3.5# double bit Plumb axe head for $3. Just finished cleaning and hafting it. Stitched a crude leather sheath for it too.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
596
Location
Aberdeen, MD
Hm... collection. um, how many makes a collection?

I have 6 axes/hatchet, i think...(Coleman, Fiskars, Vaughn, Granfors, Craftsman, and Norlund. yes. 6. i'm still ok, right?)

I do look for them, but living this deep in the South, most of what you find is rusted beyond salvage. I found the Norlund on ebay a few months back and rehandled it. That's my only old one.

I spend a lot of time on another forum devoted to "bushcraft", and i recognize a few of the regulars there as members here too... there are some seriously disturbed axe collecting addicts there... they're not just adding to the collection. they discuss storage issues, like how to build a rack for them, indoors or out, head up or head down. or what to do when the spare bedroom is full, etc. Funniest thread there was entitled "does this handle make my axe look big?" There are some very talented guys there, when it comes to restoring them... and they turn out some beautiful pieces.

here's a sampling.... look at the picture with the axes in a circle. then look at his workbench... now down in the corner of the room. axes everywhere. wow.
http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/showthread.php/70468-How-do-you-store-your-axes
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 8, 2013
Messages
14
Location
S.E. Michigan
I keep an eye out when trolling but haven't found anything interesting yet. Hatchets seem to be more popular than axes around here. I did scrounge a Canadian National Railway ax out of my Dad's garage. Having trolled the bushcraft pages too, curious what size ax people on this board prefer?
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
838
My normal camping axe has a Collins head, it must have started out about 2 1/4 lbs. when I got it it was all beat up and rusty, by the time I got it cleaned up and with a new handle on it, the weight was down to just a little over two pounds. The sharp is three and a half inches.

For reasons I can't explain, I fell into lust over a new axe; Biber Classic by Mueller, Forest Axe with 2 3/4 pound head. The sharp is 5 1/2 inches. Found it at traditionalwoodworker.com It sure is a serious axe; everything about it is sturdy and super well made. About twice as robust as my old axe. The handle where it goes into the axe head swells in size, I guess for durability, but it's too large for me to grip it up close to the head for example while splitting kindling. The closest I can get still leaves four inches between my hand and the head. I'm sure I'll get used to it, I'm just trying to give you an idea of how different this axe is from what I think of as a normal axe. The handle is 27 1/2" and absolutely perfect wood. Same length as my old axe and my stars it cuts like a dream! I had a choice of heads; 2 1/4 and 2 3/4 pounds. My thought was that probably the extra weight would be invested around the eye, a traditionally weak point and with the wider bite the extra weight would help it cut. Checking on the scale my old axe weights 3 pounds 2oz. and the new one is 4 pounds.
Now to be honest the Biber is more axe than I'll probably ever need, but I always have been a sucker for tools built to old world quality standards.

Best Wishes, Rob
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
596
Location
Aberdeen, MD
Having trolled the bushcraft pages too, curious what size ax people on this board prefer?

Depends on the trip. I've found that when I work hard during the day, I just want to eat and go to bed... no fire. If I'm out and spending a couple nights in one place, or just shifting campsites close by, I'm more likely to want to build a fire, even by myself. So, for me, fire = hatchet/axe/saw. If i'm doing a solo trip, backpacking or with a long hard portage or series of shorter ones, if I bring anything at all, it's a Vaughn sounding hatchet that weighs about 12 oz with a 10" handle, mostly just for splitting kindling and making fuzz sticks. In a relatively unused area, you can find plenty of downed wood to break up by hand and make a perfectly good campfire. If there are others along to help, and we're definitely looking at a campfire, I want a full sized bow saw and axe (vs folding saw and hatchet) to split wood with. If i'm providing that axe, it's that old Norlund. It weighs about 3lbs, w/ a 28" handle, iirc. If I'm alone but with short/easy portages, I've got a mid-weight Granfors Bruks "small forest axe" that's about 2 lbs, w/a 19" handle, that I can use as a sort of 'between' size.
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
15
Location
Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada
Yup!
I have found and purchased a few old Sanvik hand forged sweedish steel axe heads for a few bucks. Incredable quality steel, they are Great axes and all i use. Cnat justify buying a GB now!
 
Last edited:
G

Guest

Guest
I have a little carpenters hatchet that I put a 20 inch handle on and the carbon steel will hold an edge sharp enough to shave hair off your arm.
 
Top