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Replacing axe handle - advice please

I have a couple of axes and a sledge hammer all with broken wooden handles. I'd like to replace the handles with new ones.
Is there an easy method of fitting new handles so that they make a nice safe tight fit. The handles that I can buy will need trimming to fit the hole in the heads... how is that best achieved? Any advice will be gratefully received. Thanks.
Ty Gwyn

I tend to trim down handle shanks with a Rasp,till they fit in the head loosely,if not already cut,saw down the centre of the shank,fit back on the head,and drive home a hardwood wedge,cut off flush with head,and cross drive the wedge with steel quillets.


Is that what those wedge shaped bits of metal are called? Well, I never even knew they had a name. Smile
Ty Gwyn

Yes,that`s the name i`ve been accustomed to them being called,

Although they looked daft at me in the Ironmongers when i asked for Quillets.

what ty gwyn said.

i tend to use a knife but rasp is probably easier

re wedge/wedge slot ,it should be about 2/3 of the length of the hole on the axe head to avoid splitting out beyond the head into the shaft

when choosing a handle the best wood is hickory but other woods are available.

handle length matters for personalising an axe or hammer but something similar to the one being replaced will probably be ok
Mistress Rose

Ash used to be used for axe and hammer handles as it is resilient and can be bent, cleaved and carved easily. If we make a handle ourselves from scratch we use ash. Hickory is easier to buy commercially though.

ash is ok as are several other hardish ,shock absorbing,tight strait grained,lightish woods

iirc hornbeam works

in some places the "fin" from the base of a trunk is used as it is almost axe handle shape if sawn/split from the tree

personally i like hickory as it seems low shock and lasts well before giving notice rather than suddenly shedding the head or snapping.
Ty Gwyn

Is Hickory to be found growing in the UK?,i thought it was sourced from the US.

The spurs that grow off tree` at the base tend to have more give in them ,than a piece cut from the trunk,and as you mention more Axe shaped,
This comes into its own more when making a handle or leg as we call them for a Collier`s Hatchet,as the leg is more bow shaped,and a natural curve has more strength than one cut from a straight trunk,one of the reasons the handles/legs tend to snap at the base at an angle ,following the grain.

iirc hickory is a colonial tree but it is the best option if buying a handle
Mistress Rose

For bent handles, particularly things like scythes, ash is steam bent so you are not cutting into the grain.

steaming can also be used to give strait handles from coppice stems

a length of scaff tube is an ideal "mould"for hammer handles etc

Thanks for advice... I'm looking forward to giving this a try.
I'll post some pics of job in progress and the finished article when completed.

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