Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Hand Carved Axe Helve

About a year ago i decided to carve a new helve for a very old Kentish Pattern axe we have had in the shed for as long as i care to remember, it was certainly in the shed when i was growing up and was basically a very neglected tool, all blunt and rusty and very much unloved.

So last year i hand carved a new helve for it, from a piece of well seasoned Ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and it worked well, but me being me, i wasn't overly happy with it as it was a little too chunky, so late last year i replaced it with a new helve, again made from Ash, this time however, when i put the small metal wedge in, i split the top of the helve, i wasn't too worried about it as the axe is never going to be used for heavy work, just general carving in green wood.

I noticed the other day that the head had become loose though, so today, it was round three, the helve is again from Ash and was carved using my draw knife and spoke shave, with some of the finer carving being done with the Mora knife shown, the helve is a perfect fit to my hand and the head is offset slightly to the left, it was a bit of a boo boo originally, but, as I'm right handed, it feels perfect with the slight offset in it, almost like a side axe, the helve now has a long wedge in it, but no metal staple/wedge, the axe like i said above, is only ever going to be used for carving duties, stuff like spoons, spatula's and the like and not for any heavy work.

The helve is the perfect length for me and balances the weight of the head beautifully, meaning that carving should be even more of a pleasure and as the helve is designed for my hand, it fits like the proverbial glove.

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