Author Topic: a good axe for roughing out staves?  (Read 632 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Ruddy Darter

  • Member
  • Posts: 466
  • Sympetrum sanguineum
a good axe for roughing out staves?
« on: September 29, 2017, 02:55:18 am »
I'm looking for advice on a good type axe (reasonably price) for roughing out staves ( aiming to reduce down an ash stave over the weekend and want to save my draw knife edge for nearer dimensions).
I got this axe a while ago and haven't got around to properly using it as yet, is this kind adequate or am I better off looking for another type to make a better job of it?
Thanks for any advice,

 R.D.
Mon arc, mon cur. Gardez la foi.

Offline WillS

  • Member
  • Posts: 1808
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2017, 03:14:05 am »
I just use a cheap B&Q hatchet that I put an edge on with a grinder.  You don't need anything fancy.  What's nice is that once you get used to whatever you have, you can take a bow from complete log to ready for the tiller without messing about with too many tools.  I'm sure a lot of people who use power tools feel the same way about bandsaws etc.

Offline Ruddy Darter

  • Member
  • Posts: 466
  • Sympetrum sanguineum
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2017, 03:23:28 am »
Thanks WillS, that's good to read... I picked this one up from the homebase garden section, I think it will keep a fair edge.
Using a hatchet for the majority of work seems the better way for me to go about it, I haven't got a solid bench or shave horse to clamp up to, just a rickety workmate that can be a bit of a pain, OK for finishing off on though. Also I think I will enjoy it more.

 R.D.
Mon arc, mon cur. Gardez la foi.

Offline stuckinthemud

  • Member
  • Posts: 1039
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2017, 03:35:14 am »
Sorry RD but I can't tell off your picture what shape the blade is, or how heavy the axe is but if its sharp and it suits you then go for it.

There are a few things a good axe needs, the steel needs to be easy to sharpen but still hold a good edge, and the blade needs to be profiled to suit you and at a weight you are comfortable using.  I've got two hatchets, a cheapy off the local market I use for splitting and wedging out staves, and a 'vintage' hatchet that cost me 8 including postage off that auction site which I spent half an hour re-shaping into a carving profile.  I like using light/medium weight axes but a lot of carvers go for a big, heavy head on a cut-down handle.

  If it suits you and does the job you need then its all good but with second-hand axes being cheap then you can build up a set of different blade-shapes and weights quite economically. 

One thing, I guess you haven't used a hatchet for roughing out before? Use short cutting strokes and be careful to lean the stave over a little so the blade catches in the wood and doesn't bounce off it instead.  Ideally put the stave on a wooden pad or stump so that when you can carve off the end of the stave the axe will land in nice soft wood and not a hard concrete floor. 

Offline Ruddy Darter

  • Member
  • Posts: 466
  • Sympetrum sanguineum
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2017, 03:46:37 am »
Thanks stuckinthemud, I've roughed out other stuff with an axe so got a fair feel for it, and even managed to mess up a reasonably good hawthorn stave with an axe a few years back  (=)  :D..
The axe seems capable of a reasonable job, but I will keep my eyes open for a nice wooden craftsman hatchet...im not overly keen on plastic handles.

 R.D.
Mon arc, mon cur. Gardez la foi.

Offline stuckinthemud

  • Member
  • Posts: 1039
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2017, 04:41:25 am »
I'm with you on the wooden handles.  This is my auction site axe.  I put a little extra curve on the blade, and got rid of the hard edge to the bevel; the cutting edge is smoothly transitioned out of the blade.  I find these modifications increase the bite of the blade and reduce the frequency of it bouncing out of the cut.  I was going to reduce the thickness of the blade - this is widely recommended - but the axe was so beautifully made it didn't need any reduction at all.  Think it cost me 5 plus 3 postage


Note.
Steel production in the UK went through a sea-change in the 1940s when British Steel came into being.  Up til then, specialist tool steels with the best carbon levels for that type of tool were made available to manufacturers  - hand-tool (axe) makers bought steel specifically made for that type of tool.  After the 1940s tool makers got generic steel.  This did not change until the 1990s or later when specialist steels once again started being used by hand-tool makers.  Unfortunately, at the budget end of the market, the use of generic steels is still common, so, you get what you pay for, and since I'm too tight to shell out 100 for a quality hatchet, I ONLY and ALWAYS buy pre-War hand-tools  ;) ;)

Offline Ruddy Darter

  • Member
  • Posts: 466
  • Sympetrum sanguineum
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2017, 05:16:23 am »
Thanks stuckinthemud, that's good info. I'll keep an eye out for any pre-war heads on ebay.

 R.D.
Mon arc, mon cur. Gardez la foi.

Offline FilipT

  • Member
  • Posts: 583
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2017, 05:48:34 am »
Just be careful handle is not too long. I learned the hard way what it does to your hands after long use. I have since found one that has big head but small, just over foot long handle and its a huge difference in handling.

Offline Ruddy Darter

  • Member
  • Posts: 466
  • Sympetrum sanguineum
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2017, 08:25:14 am »
Thanks Stalker, I managed to have a little go just now and I got a major forearm pump.  :D
That went rather well, I found it quick and controlled. I'd already taken off the corners from the wedge shaped stave some time ago,  I just reduced the belly down to 30mm the whole length and after giving the axe a little sharpen I will reduce the width down to 40mm the whole length getting it squared up for marking on the final dimensions.
I took a water percentage measure off the fresh exposed belly on the outer limb and got this reading. It's also pretty damp outside too, still way to wet? (not really a concern as it's early spring time I'm planning on working it).

 R.D.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 08:36:21 am by Ruddy Darter »
Mon arc, mon cur. Gardez la foi.

Offline FilipT

  • Member
  • Posts: 583
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2017, 08:27:26 am »
not really a concern as it's early spring time I'm planning on working it).

 R.D.

Where are you from?

Offline Ruddy Darter

  • Member
  • Posts: 466
  • Sympetrum sanguineum
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2017, 08:31:11 am »
South east England.

 R.D.
Mon arc, mon cur. Gardez la foi.

Offline Hawkdancer

  • Member
  • Posts: 761
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2017, 09:10:13 am »
Southeast England, as in Sussex?
Hawkdancer

Offline Del the cat

  • Member
  • Posts: 6660
    • Derek Hutchison Native Wood Self Bows
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2017, 09:27:47 am »
IMO important thing is weight... and decent steel.
I bought a BAHCO HGPS-0.6 - 360
My old axe was too heavy and it was doing in my elbow.
Del
PS. It's worth making a leather cover for the head.... that's the axe head not your head ::)  :o
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 09:31:09 am by Del the cat »
Health warning, these posts may contain traces of nut.

Offline Ruddy Darter

  • Member
  • Posts: 466
  • Sympetrum sanguineum
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2017, 09:53:41 am »
@Hawkdancer... The Royal County of Berkshire don't you know...  :D

@Del... That looks a nice axe Del, good price too,
The Fiskar axe I have comes with a plastic carry clip protector. It's a pretty good axe I reckon, but I would like a wooden handled.

 R.D.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 10:02:21 am by Ruddy Darter »
Mon arc, mon cur. Gardez la foi.

Offline FilipT

  • Member
  • Posts: 583
Re: a good axe for roughing out staves?
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2017, 10:03:47 am »
I like to work on bows just now, until the November. Its cold enough outside so I don't sweat extensively, but warm enough I can work and now is good time for cutting trees.