Following on from the blog post about axe selection, what are your experiences with axes?

They can be particularly dangerous when used carelessly, have any of you had any accidents?

Do you find that frequent sharpening in the field is necessary?


The community would appreciate your input

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Around the same time of posting my question up on here i also put up another on on the bushcraft nz facebook page. I found out that it probably gets a fraction of views than the forums. I've taken a better picture and here it is. The bit of wood beyond this crack is still hanging on quite well but i was wondering weather having a handle like this could increase the chances of the axe head flying off


In my opinion, yes.

How much work do you do with it? If it's use only occasionally you could do a repair. I had one like this that lasted a couple of years.

I drilled a small hole through at a right angle to the grain and filled it with gorrila glue and a wooden dowel. Then fibreglassed around the handle to form a collar.

If it's going to get a lot of use, change it.

I was talking to a champion wood chopper at an A&P show once and looked at his axe. It had a roll pin through the head from one side to the other which holds the head to the handle, stops them flying off into the crowd.

He said he looks at a heap of handles before he buys one so the above doesn't happen.


For that I'd lever the crack open, fill it with a good glue, such as epoxy and then clamp it shut until dry.

You can also whip the length of the crack with some cord and cover it with more glue, this will also protect the wood if you miss and hit the splitting block.

It's still gonna crack again but that will hold for a fair while until you get a new handle.

My theory about axe handles is that a good one should have the grain(growth rings) runing the length of the board.a similar principle in bow making. Where there is grain run off there is a weak spot, that crack has opened up on a early growth ring although that looks like a good handle it mite have got brittle with age. A Lot of the handles I see in the hard ware shops have grain run off. If you can't lever the crack open another way is to heat the wood up with a heat gun or over a fire then apply glue this should melt the glue and alloy it to penetrate into the crack flexing the handle should help push the air out.

I would just replace the handle mate, you will be kicking yourself for not doing so if anything ever happens.

They sell rough Atlas handle blanks, the thick ones at Bunnings. If you have a belt sander you will need to reshape it to fit that old Kelly then you can shape the handle or just leave it thick like I did.

For a backpack/Bush Axe I just purchased the Bahco boys axe from Bunnings, for about $58.

I scraped all the orange paint off of the head and gave it a buff with the wire wheel then a course of wet and dry.

I use a wire wheel on a bench grinder to remove the paint and varnish off the handle, something unexpected happened, it was biting into the softer wood in the the grain deeper than the harder wood giving a textured grip I am really happy with, I still have a bit to do getting the rest of the varnish off and replacing it with linseed oil but I will post pictures once I figure this bloody Mac out!

It is a good size between a hatchet and a felling axe, I can use it both ways. 


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