Author Topic: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?  (Read 1451 times)

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Offline RoamerJo

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How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« on: January 20, 2018, 08:48:37 PM »
Back when I used to help this old timer on his farmers he always had me driving nails into the eyes of tools to keep the handle from coming off instead of rehandling them.
I never did like to do that as I felt it was sloppy looking, but I've just made a hippocrite out of myself and done the very same thing on my boys axe when I noticed the head was slipping.
Are there any other ways to temporarily fix it untill it can be replaced?

Offline wsdstan

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2018, 08:59:21 PM »
I will sometimes use a larger metal wedge if I am in the middle of something and want to keep using the same axe.   

Have never used a nail. 
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Offline wolfy

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2018, 09:02:18 PM »
Yeah, there is......soak it in a bucket of water.  That's a temporary fix, of course, as the water will soon  dry up and you'll be right back at square one again.  If you do the same thing with diesel fuel or kerosene, it will stay tight longer, but it's still only a temporary solution.  My old beater-axe has nails & screws in it and electrical tape wrapped around its split handle and I'm still using it.....han't changed much from the way it looked when I found it on the road 40 years ago. :shrug:
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Offline Unknown

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2018, 09:14:37 PM »
Take a chisel and drive it beside the existing wedge. Then take the wedge you just sawed from some scrap wood. Drive the new wedge beside the old.

You can also drill out the old wedge by stepping up in size as drill depth decreases. That is, drill multiple holes side by side with small (1/16or less) to the guessed depth of wedge minus a lil bit. Then drill again 1/2 as deep, with a larger bit 1/8 or so. Probably needs a final- not too deep  at 3/16 maybe at this point you can pick and pry or drill-rout the wedge.

Full size axes are tougher, but maybe you can get the old handle out clean up the rest of the wedge and refit.

I like Wolfy's soaking method. Roy underhill says never do that as he learned from Walden Pnd it will be looser when it dries out because the swelled wood fibers crush within the eye. I say that is okay. As long as you have time to dry the helve very dry. Re-wedging at that point, means the rascal may never get loose again- maybe.

Edit to say the chisel is only to give the new wedge a place to start don't go too deep.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 09:35:17 PM by Unknown »
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Offline Old Philosopher

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2018, 11:49:43 PM »
Yeah, there is......soak it in a bucket of water.  That's a temporary fix, of course, as the water will soon  dry up and you'll be right back at square one again.  If you do the same thing with diesel fuel or kerosene, it will stay tight longer, but it's still only a temporary solution.  My old beater-axe has nails & screws in it and electrical tape wrapped around its split handle and I'm still using it.....han't changed much from the way it looked when I found it on the road 40 years ago. :shrug:
I kept an old SB ax  working all through one fire season by keeping it in a bucket of water with just enough water to cover the head.  No chance of rust since it was only exposed to the air while working with it.
LOL, Wolfy...some of you might remember my DB Kelly with the Gorilla Tape on the handle. That held together for TWO entire cutting seasons.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2018, 07:18:40 AM »

  I grew up hearing my Dad and Grand Dad telling me that there are very few short cuts that are worth the time when it comes to making things or doing repairs,  if it's worth doing it's worth doing right once rather than band aiding a continuing problem.
  I rehandled one of my full sized axes a few weeks ago because of a crack in the handle and dry rot starting in the head, it took me all of about two hours to get the old handle off and a new one installed and wedged including the trip to the hardware store to pick up the new handle, soaking the head in a bucket of water will take a few hours to swell the wood to tighten it up enough to be useful, why not just bite the bullet and hang a new handle ?
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Offline Unknown

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2018, 08:04:15 AM »
Moe, Are you asking that question of OP or O.P.?


Soaking is kinda like a 410 bore. The 410 they say is only good for beginners and experts. Soaking is a stop-gap measure used by the lazy(present company excluded) and a final touch of perfection used by the axecended masters O:-)

« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 09:51:09 AM by Unknown »
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Offline hunter63

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2018, 09:54:33 AM »
Grandpa kept axes and hatchets on a bucket of water till needed.

I keep a little box with wedges... steel and wood  in the tool box.
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Offline wolfy

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2018, 10:19:58 AM »
Moe, sometimes I Just have to laugh when you tell me what I SHOULD be doing, instead of what I DID! :lol:    I have replaced many a handle in my sledgehammers, heavy cross-peen hammers, hatchets, AND several of the axes in our scout troop's equipment trailer.  Scouts seem to have a knack for breaking axe handles. :-\     I've gotten pretty good at it! ;D

That 'beater-axe,' that I found in the road on my way out to the farm more than 40 years ago, is in sorry shape.  The poll was severely mushroomed, so I ground that off because it would catch on things that I was trying to beat it through......like the top of a 55 gallon oil drum.  The eye is spread into kind of a triangle shape because the previous owner was using it as a splitting wedge or maybe beating on a frozen gear he was trying to remove from a shaft.  The cheeks are deeply scored where it looks like he was using his OTHER axe to chop it out of a stump when he used this one as a splitting-wedge and got it stuck.   The handle is split almost completely from just below the eye to the other end, and since it was nicely wrapped with electrical tape, I decided not to replace it with another full roll of tape......waste not, want not!   The 'edge' looked like the one in the movie COOL HAND LUKE where Luke used the axe to remove his leg chains, but I worked that part over a little to make it more usable. 

In addition to work on steel oil drums, I've used it to remove barbed wire that got tightly wrapped around the driveshaft of a '66 Ford Bronco and the snapping rollers in the head of a combine.  It has performed beautifully in removing the steel bulkhead from behind the seats of a '67 VW bus during a custom camper conversion we did for a trip up the Alaska Highway.

Through ALL that, the original bent-nail, square-headed lag-screw and some other piece of hardware I can't identify, wedging system has kept the head from flying off......with no more than an occasional soak in a little diesel fuel in the bottom a 5 gallon bucket. 

Ever hear, 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder' and 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it?'  :lol: :chopwood:
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Offline Keith H

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2018, 12:10:56 PM »
I rarely get loose axe heads, but when I do I usually drive the wedge in further with a drift. Either that or replace the wedge.
trade axes & oval or round eye heads rarely have the problem unless the helve was not completely seasoned before fitting. These axes do not use a wedge.
Keith.
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Offline RoamerJo

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2018, 02:26:57 PM »
Thanks for all the replies, I had forgotten about the soaking method. I saw it a few years ago and never though to try it. I never heard of people just keeping their tools soaking in water all the time while not in use but that sounds pretty smart. And I kind of agree with Moe's dad about just nipping it in the bud and replacing the handle, that's why I never liked driving the nails in my boss' tools.  But at the same time a good handle  a costs money and/ or time to put  a on or make so yeah why not throw a bandaid on it if it works.  Anyway... I went ahead and drove 3 small nails in the handle AND drove the existing wedges in farther as Keith H. Suggested. I kept it neat and I think it's probably fixed the problem.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 04:30:11 PM by RoamerJo »

Offline xj35s

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2018, 03:11:50 PM »
When I was a kid  I kept hammering nails into an old hammer to keep it tight so I could build my fort. The problem was the wood was dry rotted and just turned to toothpicks that fell out. I didn't know this until the head came flying off. Hit moms car, 1972 Chevy Kingswood wagon,didn't leave a mark!!!!
pessimist complain about the wind. optimist expect the wind to change. realist adjusts the sails.

Offline RoamerJo

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2018, 04:36:50 PM »
When I was a kid  I kept hammering nails into an old hammer to keep it tight so I could build my fort. The problem was the wood was dry rotted and just turned to toothpicks that fell out. I didn't know this until the head came flying off. Hit moms car, 1972 Chevy Kingswood wagon,didn't leave a mark!!!!
. Awww! I bet you were glad there was no evidence. I've had something like that happen when i was a kid. My dad and me were taking something apart for the lumber. I had the red fibreglass claw hammer with the plastic grip of you know which one I'm talking about. I'm puonding away driving nails back out so my dad could pull them when I feel something come crashing down on my head. The hammer had flown out of the grip and went straight up and back down on my head. Dad said I took about a half swing with the empty handle before it hit me. I looked up and was like"OW...." Started laughing and crying at the same time. The doctor said I was ok, but I think I just answered a lot of questions about myself remembering this story haha.

Offline Unknown

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Re: How does everyone temporarily fix loose axeheads?
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2018, 05:03:44 PM »
I'd love to see the hawk/ trade ax with a head that doesn't work loose. Seems kinda impossible for a number of reasons.

Full time soaking seems like it would make the wood softish, but that's an experiment I don't want to try.
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