How to make an ax: technological process from hatchet to sharpening

The ax is rightly considered the "king" of a carpentry tool. A true carpenter, professional in his craft, knows how to make an ax, perfect for a particular operation. The master, as a rule, has several axes, always ready to work. However, this tool is needed not only by carpenters, but also by ordinary people living in private houses outside the city, as well as citizens who travel for summers or weekends to summer cottages. Each wood owner has to chop wood to melt a stove in a house or in a bathhouse. In order for this process to go faster and not cause troubles in the form of a flying ax, a dull blade or a broken ax, you need to be able to properly prepare this tool for work and maintain it in “combat readiness” throughout the entire period of operation. The shape of an ax can be different. It is important to properly mount the ax, to wedge, and then sharpen the blade at the right angle.

Buying an ax or how to choose a stitching part?

When buying an ax, or rather its piercing part, it is worth paying attention to the quality of the metal taken for the manufacture of the tool. Look for the GOST sign on the ax, which confirms the compliance of the metal with state standards and requirements. Be on the lookout if instead of this sign will be TU, OST or MRTU. In this case, the manufacturer may make changes to the technology. Axes of Soviet times, characterized by high quality metal, can be purchased at the flea market.

The quality of the metal can also be tested empirically by taking two axes and striking one of them with the blade of the other. On a lower-quality product, notches will remain after impacts. Also, the quality of the metal is checked by the characteristic sound that is made when the ax is tapped. In this case, the tool must be in a suspended state.

You should also focus on the following points:

  • on a well-drawn blade there should be no bends or dents;
  • conical shape of the eye;
  • alignment of the eye and ax blade;
  • small thickness of the butt and perpendicularity of its ends to the blade.

Do not be upset if you can not find an ax that meets all of these requirements. Indeed, the identified deviations can be eliminated by sharpening the burrs, boring the eye and giving the butt a symmetrical shape.

Also, material on how to make a device for carrying firewood will be useful: tech / perenoska-dlya-drov-svoimi-rukami.html

The selection of blanks and the manufacture of hatchets

The length of the ax is selected based on the growth and strength of the master. An important role is played by the quality of wood. Lightweight axes, weighing about 800-1000 g, have handles from 40 to 60 cm long. For heavy tools (1000-1400 g), the length of the ax varies from 55 to 65 cm.

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The impact force depends on the length of the ax. The longer the handle of the ax, the easier it is to chop wood chocks. The strength and growth of a person also matters

Not every wood species is suitable for making an ax handle. For this purpose, the true master proceeds the whole forest before he finds a suitable tree. Most often, a blank for an ax is made from the basal part of birch, and better from growths on its trunk, which are distinguished by a special twisted and very dense wood. Instead of birch, you can use maple, oak, acacia, ash and other hardwood deciduous trees. Billets must be well dried in natural conditions, which will take a lot of time.

On the prepared blank, the contours of the future ax are drawn according to the selected template. At the end of the handle of the ax, a thickening should be provided, designed to "brake" the hand in case of slipping of the tool. Then the excess wood outside the contour is removed with a knife, an ax with a perfectly sharpened blade, a chisel or a jigsaw, which is much faster. After completing the fitting nozzle of the ax on the ax with a mallet, and making sure these parts fit snugly, you can continue further finishing the tool handle. Glass is used for scraping, and fine-grained sandpaper is used for grinding.

Above is a drawing of an ax (a) that meets the requirements of GOST 1400-73, and below is a handle of a camping ax (b) with an undisturbed fiber zone of 40 mm

Important! If the hatchet easily enters the eye, then this means that the master made a mistake in the calculations and incorrectly drew a template. In this case, even a wedge-in wedge will not correct the situation, providing a short tight landing of the ax on the ax.

How to put an ax on the handle?

Below is an algorithm for conducting operations, showing how to plant an ax on a machined and polished ax. This is one of the possible ways:

  • Fit the top of the ax under the ax eye. In this case, cut the excess wood with a knife. You should not use a file, as it “swings” the tree.
  • On the ax, placed horizontally on the table, put the ax on top, and with a pencil put on the handle a mark to which it will be mounted. Divide the line in half and put a second mark.
  • Clamp the hatchet upright in a vise so that the wide end is at the top. Take a hacksaw for metal and cut it to the second mark under the wedge.
  • Buy a metal wedge in the store or plan a wooden analogue, the thickness of which should be from 5 to 10 mm. The length of the wedge made for the ax with your own hands should be equal to the depth of cut, and the width should be equal to the size of the eye of the ax.
  • Put the board on the table and place the ax on it, placing it upside down. Put the ax on the ax and start tapping it on the board. Then turn over and knock on the board with the handle of the ax, while the process of planting continues. Turning over and tapping should be done several times. As a result, the ax will go into the eye.
  • Next, put the ax vertically and insert a planed wedge into the cut, hammer it with a mallet to half or almost to the end. Saw off everything that remains to stick out from above by a hacksaw.
  • Put the oil (motor, linseed, sunflower, etc.) on the ax, allow the excess to drain and leave to dry. Wipe the ax and handle with a rag.

After trying on an ax to the ax, shown in figure (a), make its nozzle (b) and wedge the handle (c): 1 - ax, 2 - ax, 3 - wedge

How and at what angle is the ax blade sharpened?

So that the tool does not cause trouble, it is necessary to sharpen the blade of the ax correctly. According to the requirements of GOST, the sharpening angle of the construction ax should be 20-30 °. The tool for carpentry is sharpened at a slightly larger angle equal to 35 °. The recommended angles must be maintained, as thinner blades will bind in the wood. To pull them out will have to make additional efforts. On knots, a thin blade can easily bend. A blade sharpened at an angle of 35 °, breaking the wood chips that can be separated from the main log, does not bind in the wood.

First, a “rough” primary sharpening of the ax is performed, during which it is possible to eliminate all the crests, minor damage and large potholes with a rotating grinding wheel. In this case, the formation of a new clear cutting edge of the ax. Then, the sharpened rough blade is subjected to “fine” sharpening. Grinding is carried out along the entire length of the blade on both sides with a fine-grained block, which removes all burrs.

Three ways to sharpen an ax blade: a) a grinding wheel; b) whetstone, moistened with water; c) editing with a donkey moistened with machine oil

Important! The sheen of the ax blade and the absence of burrs on the cutting edge indicate that the sharpening process was successful.

How to store an ax?

After work, it is recommended to wear a cover made of thick leather, birch bark or other material on the ax blade. You can’t leave an ax stuck in a log. A true master takes care of his instrument, because an ax is an “extension” of his hands.

Having tried to chop firewood with a homemade ax at least once, you will not be able to work with a store tool. If you doubt your strength, then use the services of masters who know how to make a convenient hatchet for an ax from a selected and dried workpiece.


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