The ax is one of the most famous and affordable tools in the arsenal of most summer residents and professional craftsmen. If used correctly, it can simplify many of your workflows, resulting in great results. An ax can not only be bought ready-made in a specialized store, but also made at home. It will not take much time, effort and money. Today we will take a closer look at how to correctly make an ax with our own hands.
How to select and prepare wood?
Many works are impracticable without a well-sharpened and strong ax. This tool is often needed both in household and in larger-scale works. In retail outlets, you can find many different models of such tools, because there are quite a few types of axes themselves. It is possible to choose the ideal option in accordance with any requirements.
But there are also cases when the consumer could not find a suitable tool for himself. Many people in such situations find an easy way out for themselves - they make an ax on their own. For a tool to be of high quality, reliable and durable, it must consist of good elements. So, to create an ax, it is very important to choose the right material.
Not every kind of wood is suitable for creating this part of the ax. It is believed that a true master will go around the whole forest before finding the very tree from which it will be possible to make an ax. In most cases, the specified ax element is constructed from the root section of a birch, and even better, if we use the growths that are present on its trunk. These parts are characterized by a very dense and curled structure.
Birch is not the only tree that can make a good ax. Instead, it is permissible to refer to trees such as oak, maple, acacia, ash and other hardwoods. According to experienced craftsmen, beech, oak, larch, walnut and elm produce the most reliable, comfortable and durable handles of the highest quality. But it is not enough to find the ideal material for making a hatchet. It is also necessary to competently prepare him for the upcoming work.
The blanks must be dried well. This is done only in natural conditions, and it often takes a lot of time - on average 3-4 years, and better even longer (5 years will be quite enough). Wood should be dried exclusively in a dark and dry place, where there is good ventilation. Precipitation, moisture and water should not penetrate into the space where natural material will be prepared. Otherwise, there will simply be no sense from such drying, and it will not work to make a good ax.
How to make a template?
If you have already prepared and dried to the desired degree of material, then you should proceed to the next stage of creating a handle for an ax. Next, you need to competently make a convenient template, which will be an excellent assistant in further work.
It is important to take into account the fact that there are quite strict rules governing the shape of the hatchet based on the main type of device. So, light tools, the weight of which usually ranges from 0.8 to 1 kg, are usually made with a handle having a length of 0.4-0.6 m. As for the more "serious" heavy axes, there is a length of 0.55-0.65 m. It should also be borne in mind that all existing types of axes are divided according to their basic functionality.
So, the following types of these tools are distinguished:
Before embarking on the independent design of such a tool, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the detailed drawings of different handle models.
When making a template, you should take into account a number of important features.
- So that in the process of work the ax does not slip out and does not jump out of the hands at the moment of the swing, its "tail" must be made a little wider than the place of capture.
- When making an ax for a cleaver, it is necessary to make a part with a length of 0.75-0.95 m. Carpentry tools are made short. Their handle mostly reaches the 0.5 m mark.
- To the parameter of the length of the handle, the will of the butt must be added another 8-10 cm for the allowance. It will be possible to cut it off after installing the butt. It is very important to ensure that the tree does not start to split at this moment.
The template, with its correct shape and all dimensions, will need to be applied to paper or cardboard.
Step-by-step manufacturing instructions
It is not difficult to prepare an ax with your own hands. To do this, you must adhere to a not very complicated technology of work. Let's get acquainted with it:
- mark the workpiece using a template;
- after that, it can be carefully cut out with a jigsaw or other similar tool;
- further, the prepared part will need to be turned on a special machine and polished.
There are a number of important rules that must be followed along the way.
- The processing of the attachment place of the hatchet must be carried out as carefully and carefully as possible so as not to accidentally remove the excess part of the tree. Otherwise, the butt simply cannot be tightly fixed in place. It is better to periodically try on the handle to the eyelet, so that in the end you get a small margin (no more than 2 cm).
- Do not use the file in the process of finishing the part. This will inevitably loosen the wood. Because of this, it will be more difficult to work with him further. It is better not to use a file, but a fine abrasive sandpaper with a grinder. You will need to move the tool along the wood fibers.
- It is necessary to give the final, correct and beautiful shape to the fixing place of the handle, taking into account the angle of the butt nozzle. As for the cleaver, the specified angle should be approximately 85 degrees. For a standard ax, 75 degrees.
When making a hatchet yourself, you need to act very carefully. There is no need to rush. If you wish, you can decorate the tool handle with patterns and carved decorations (for example, you can wrap it with a jute cord - it will also hold the blade more securely). When the hatchet is ready, it will be necessary to correctly install the cutting part on it.
Let's consider how to do this.
- Match the top of the part to the eyelet of the blade. Remove the excess wood with a knife. Be careful.
- On the handle, exposed horizontally, put the cutting part on top. Then you need to put a mark on the handle with a pencil, to which it will be driven in. Divide the line and make another mark.
- Lock the handle in an upright position using a vise. The wide piece should be at the top. Prepare a hacksaw for metal. Cut exactly to the second wedge mark.
- At a specialized outlet, pick up a metal wedge or make one yourself from wood.
- Place the board on a separate countertop. Place the blade on it. Lay it upside down. Throw the prepared hatchet over this part, tapping it on the board. Now turn the fixture over and knock on the board with the handle. The part will continue to fit. These steps should be repeated many times. As a result, it will turn out to drive the ax into the eyelet well.
- Then set the part upright. Install a wedge in the cut. Hit him with a mallet. Saw off excess protruding parts
How to protect against decay?
The wood from which the ax is made, like other similar materials, is subject to decay. Such problems always arise over time or under improper storage conditions. It is important to take care of a homemade ax in advance, protecting it from decay. It is highly discouraged to use compounds such as varnishes or paints to protect wooden handles. The ban on the use of such compounds is due to the fact that their presence on the handle can lead to it slipping out of the hands during certain work. The reason for this will be the glossy smooth texture.
Other suitable impregnations will be the best solution to protect the ax from decay. You can cover the handle with linseed oil or good old drying oil. There are other highly effective antiseptics that will extend the life of natural wood. But we must take into account that they will need to be applied periodically. Don't forget about this procedure.Some masters add red pigment to antiseptic protective agents. They don't turn to this trick to make the instrument look more interesting. After this coating, the ax will be much easier to find in the grass, because its color will become brighter.
Helpful hints and tips
Please note that the handle should be made so that its section has a characteristic oval shape. Only by observing this condition, it will be possible to hold it successfully without straining your hand too much. In this case, blows with an ax will be more accurate and light. It is recommended to make wood blanks for creating a hatchet in late autumn. It is during this period that the movement of sap is reduced to a minimum (practically stops), which means that the tree becomes, as it were, dehydrated.
Many inexperienced craftsmen neglect to dry wood for the construction of an ax. As a result, it ends with the handle changing in size, and the metal part with the butt on it holds very poorly. It is permissible to refer to undried material only in special situations when the handle needs to be built in an urgent manner, and this spare part is made as a temporary one.
When making a new hatchet yourself, you need to draw up a detailed drawing / template of the future tool. If you have a very handy old ax in your arsenal, then you can remove all parameters from it. It will be much easier and more convenient. Do not rush to turn the cutting edge of the tool. First you need to make sure that the metal is sufficiently hard. If it turns out to be too soft, then it will need to be additionally hardened under the influence of high temperatures.
It is permissible to start sharpening the ax blade only after installing it on the ax.
It is very important to use a ready-made ax (both homemade and purchased in a store) correctly. Experienced craftsmen strongly do not recommend trying to cut various metal parts with such a device. Even if you plan to chop wood, it is best to make sure that there are no solid particles inside that could harm the tool.
It is strongly discouraged to throw the finished tool onto hard surfaces, especially from a great height. It is not recommended to leave the ax under the open sky. Precipitation or aggressive sunlight can negatively affect the quality of the wooden part. Keep such a tool in a dark and dry place. Only under this condition will the ax serve you for many years.
If the handle goes too easily into the eyelet, then this may indicate that during the work the master made a serious mistake somewhere (most likely, in the calculations). An incorrectly prepared template often leads to such a problem. In such a situation, even another installed wedge will not change anything. That is why it is so important to take the time to do all the calculations and make the template correctly.
Do not forget to process the wood handle at the end of all work. Please note that the processing of this part must be carried out in several approaches. Each new protective layer should be applied only after the previous one has been completely absorbed. This is the only way to reliably protect wood from decay and destruction. Stock up on enough wood to craft a hatchet. You don’t need to make only one workpiece - it’s better to build several pieces. This is necessary because during the work, some of them may not work out and be rejected. There must always be at least one more piece in stock.
To make an ax, you cannot use a wooden block that has a large number of knots. Because of them, noticeable cracks can form on the material. Over time, the branches begin to crack, and all the material loses its strength. It is not difficult to make an ax on your own. If you doubt your abilities, are afraid to make mistakes and translate natural material, then it is better to refuse experiments. Buy a ready-made model or ask an experienced craftsman to make a good tool for you.
For how to make an ax with your own hands, see the next video.