making an axe handle


My partner brought me an old axe head that she’d liberated from work and in true style I threw it in a tool box and forgot all about it. Finding it recently I thought it would make a good project. I used a piece of Willow for the handle, I’m sure that it not suitable at all but I wanted to practice cutting the shape and that was the only wood available.

I roughed out a blank on the shave horse with the draw knife then drew round an existing handle to get the shape. I then went back to the draw knife and roughed out the rest. The straight grain of the Willow was a great help. Other than some sanding to get a smooth finish it was all done on the shave horse with the draw knife.

With it being green wood, I then brought it in and placed it by the fire for a few days to dry it out. Next I cut a little notch in the top to take the wedge. With a little work with a knife I managed to get the shaft to fit into the head of the axe. (this was harder than it looked as the hole was irregular shape) I then drove an seasoned Oak wedge into the grove.

I was pleased with the shape of the handle but felt I made a bit of a mess with the wedge, I’d not cut the notch long enough I don’t think and the split did not seem central. A few weeks later the handle came loose, this time I used a larger wedge and that seems to have done the trick but I’m not trusting it yet!!



3 thoughts on “making an axe handle

  1. barb says:

    You need to soak the axe handle in diesel for 3 days.
    It needs to be in enough diesel to soak past the axe head 3-4″.
    Old loggers trick from B.C. Canada

  2. dibnah says:

    Wow that’s a great tip thanks, I’ll try that next time I make one. Better still next time I can I’ll slip it into conversation I will just to impress people 🙂

  3. Tony says:

    If you aren’t already familiar, you should check-out Gary Snyder’s book “Axe Handles”. He also writes much about deep ecology and the Back-to-the-land movement.

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