Completed project first (on left).
This is the earliest photo I have. Digging around my dad's shed one day I found a dirty, rusty axe-head and its corresponding broken handle. I asked my dad about them and he told me that it was his Grandfather's. I decided to see if I could somehow salvage it and so put the head in a vinegar bath. I wasn't sure what to expect and so didn't think to take a photo. This photo is after the vinegar bath.
A close-up of this side shows the pitting. You can also see the edge of the blade is pretty beat up.
The vinegar bath also revealed a stamp of a factory just down the road from where my Great-Grandad used to live (near Birmingham, England). Some online research and some knowledge from my dad means we reckon this was made around 1920-1940. (If anyone by chance knows anything else about these stamps and/or when this was made I would love to hear about it!)
Using a hand-file I redefined the edge.
And ended up with this.
I have never made a handle like this before and so just used the wood I had to try it out. This wood is really too soft to last and so I will end up replacing it with a hardwood one.
I used a knife to get the basic shape. This knife's handle gave me blisters. This is an important fact for later.
I used a surform plane to flesh out the shape. Here is the new handle next to the old.
I also made a wedge to secure the head to the handle.
After fitting the handle, the wedge and some tidying up, this is how the top of the axe looked.
I used Danish Oil to finish the wood.
Here it is after oiling.
So now the axe has a nice new handle. It seems a shame to just throw away the old handle though. That got me thinking…
Remember that horrible old knife handle? I tore it off.
After clean up this is what I had to work with.
I desgined the handle for this knife on a piece of paper.
Got some stock brass.
And started filing.
A tight fit. You can see my 'persuaders' on the work bench.
A copy of the design glued to the brass.
And hand-filed out.
I widened the hole at the top of the brass.
And chamfered the blade.
This hides the 'stainless steel' mark at the base of the blade.
I cut a length of the old axe handle.
Made a pommel with another piece of brass by drilling a socket into it.
And used two-part epoxy to secure it all.
I was then able to file the wood and brass to the desired shape.
And sand it.
Used Danish Oil again here.
Here is the new knife handle next to the rest of the old axe handle.
Both together. My dad will keep the axe as he has an open fire and I will take the knife. This way we both have a part of my Great-Grandad's axe.
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I later made a leather sheath for the axe. Check out that project here;