How to make an ax: the technological process from ax to sharpening
The ax is rightfully considered the king of the carpentry tool. A true carpenter, professional in his craft, knows how to make an ax that is perfect for a given operation. The master, as a rule, has several axes, always ready for work. However, this tool is needed not only by carpenters, but also by ordinary people living outside the city in private houses, as well as by townspeople who go to summer cottages or on weekends. Each owner has to chop wood to heat the stove in the house or in the bathhouse. In order for this process to go faster and not cause trouble in the form of a flying ax, a dull blade or a broken hatchet, you need to be able to properly prepare this tool for work and keep it on alert throughout the entire service life. The shape of the hatchet can be different. It is important to correctly fit the ax, wedge it, and then sharpen the blade at the desired angle.
Buying an ax or how to choose a piercing part?
When buying an ax, or rather its piercing part, you should pay attention to the quality of the metal taken to make the tool. Look for the GOST sign on the ax, which confirms the metal's compliance with state standards and requirements. Be on your guard if instead of this sign there is TU, OST or MRTU. In this case, the manufacturer can make changes to the technology. Soviet-era axes of 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 hitting the blade of one of them against the blade of the other. On a lower quality product, jags will remain after impacts. Also, the quality of the metal is checked by the characteristic sound that is emitted when the ax is tapped. In this case, the tool must be suspended.
You should also focus on the following points:
- there should be no bends or dents on a well drawn blade;
- conical shape of the eyelet;
- coaxiality of the eye and the blade of the ax;
- small thickness of the butt and the perpendicularity of its ends to the blade.
Do not be upset if you cannot find an ax that meets all of the above requirements. After all, the identified deviations can be eliminated by sharpening the burrs, boring the eyelet and giving the butt a symmetrical shape.
There will also be useful material on how to make a device for carrying firewood: https://diz-cafe.com/tech/perenoska-dlya-drov-svoimi-rukami.html
The choice of blank and the manufacture of a hatchet
The length of the ax is chosen based on the height and strength of the master. The quality of the wood plays an important role in this. Lightweight axes, weighing about 800-1000 g, have handles ranging in length from 40 to 60 cm.In a heavy tool (1000-1400 g), the length of the hatchet varies from 55 to 65 cm.
The force of the blow depends on the length of the ax. The longer the handle of the ax, the easier it is to chop wood. A person's strength and height also matters
Not every type of wood is suitable for making an ax handle. For this purpose, a true master goes through the entire forest before finding a suitable tree. Most often, the blank for the ax is made from the root part of a birch, or better from the growths on its trunk, which are distinguished by a special twisted and very dense wood. Maple, oak, acacia, ash, and other hardwoods can be used in place of birch. The workpieces must be well dried in natural conditions, which will take a lot of time.
On the prepared workpiece, the contours of the future hatchet are outlined according to the selected template. A bulge should be provided at the end of the handle of the ax, designed to slow down the hand in the event of the tool slipping out. Then the excess wood outside the contour is removed with a knife, ax with a perfectly sharpened blade, chisel or jigsaw, which is much faster. Having completed the fitting of the ax on the hatchet with a mallet, and after making sure that 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 a hatchet (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 handle easily fits into the eyelet, this means that the master made a mistake in the calculations and drew the template incorrectly. In this case, even a driven wedge will not correct the situation, providing a short, tight fit of the ax on the hatchet.
How to fit an ax onto a handle?
Below is an algorithm for carrying out operations, showing how to attach an ax to a machined and polished hatchet. This is one of the possible ways:
- Fit the top of the ax to the eye of the ax. At the same time, cut off the excess wood with a knife. You should not use a file, as it swings the tree.
- On a hatchet, placed horizontally on the table, place the ax on top, and with a pencil mark on the handle a mark to which it will fit. Divide the segment in half and add a second mark.
- Clamp the ax upright in a vise with the wide end at the top. Take a hacksaw for metal and make a cut to the second mark for the wedge.
- Buy a metal wedge from a store or plane a wooden counterpart, the thickness of which should be between 5 and 10 mm. The length of a wedge made for an ax with your own hands should be equal to the depth of the cut, and the width should be equal to the size of the eye of the ax.
- Place a board on the table and place the ax upside down on it. 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 insertion continues. Turning over and tapping must be done several times. As a result, the ax will go into the eyelet.
- Next, place the hatchet vertically and insert a planed wedge into the cut, hammer it with a mallet to half or almost to the end. With a hacksaw for metal, cut off everything that remains sticking out from above.
- Apply oil (motor oil, linseed oil, sunflower oil, etc.) to the ax, let the excess drain off and leave to dry. Wipe down the ax and handle with a rag.
After fitting the ax to the hatchet, shown in figure (a), make its attachment (b) and wedge the handle (c): 1- ax, 2 - hatchet, 3 - wedge
How and at what angle is the ax blade sharpened?
In order for the tool not to be a hassle, it is necessary to properly sharpen the ax blade. According to the requirements of GOST, the angle of sharpening of a construction ax should be 20-30 °. Carpentry tools are sharpened at a slightly higher angle of 35 °. The recommended angles must be maintained as thinner blades will bind in the wood. Extra efforts will have to be made to pull them out. On knots, the thin blade can easily bend. The blade, sharpened at an angle of 35 °, breaks the chips separated from the main log, does not get stuck in the wood.
First, a rough primary sharpening of the ax is carried out, during which it is possible to eliminate all chipping, minor damage and large potholes with a rotating grinding wheel. At the same time, a new clear cutting edge of the ax is being formed. Then the roughly sharpened blade is subjected to final sharpening. Grinding is carried out along the entire length of the blade on both sides with a fine-grained bar, which removes all burrs.
Three ways to sharpen the ax blade: a) grinding wheel; b) a bar, moistened with water; c) dressing with a touchstone moistened with machine oil
Important! The shine of the ax blade and the absence of burrs on the cutting edge indicates that the sharpening process was successful.
How to store an ax correctly?
After work, it is recommended to put on a cover made of thick leather, birch bark or other material on the ax blade. You cannot leave an ax stuck into a log. A true master takes care of his instrument, because the ax is an extension of his hands.
Having tried to chop wood with a homemade ax at least once, you will not be able to work with a store tool. If you doubt your abilities, then use the services of craftsmen who know how to make a convenient hatchet for an ax from a selected and dried blank.
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Making a cleaver with your own hands
Cleavers have been known since ancient times - this is a type of ax, characterized by an increased weight of the chopping part and a special sharpening of the blade. Their task is not to chop the log, but to split it. At the moment the tool's iron honor hits a tree, an ordinary ax sticks into it and gets stuck. The cleaver, having a greater mass and a blunt blade, splits the tree into two parts under the influence of the impact force. There are many cleaver configurations. They differ in shape, weight, sharpening angle, handle length and other design characteristics. At the moment, there are modifications of cleavers in electric, gasoline, semi-automatic, manual form, and even cleavers for bricks.
Preparing the template
When ready-made material is available, you can start creating the hatchet itself. To do this, they think over and make a sketch of the handle, thanks to which the process of manufacturing the product in question is facilitated. The shape of the hatchet is determined by the type of tool. If a handle is required for a light ax weighing 0.8-1 kg, then its length is 0.4-0.6 m. The length of heavier ones can reach 0.6-0.9 m. Axes are classified by purpose:
Based on the purpose of the tool, the length of the ax will also depend. When making it, you should adhere to the following rules:
- to prevent the hatchet from slipping while working with an ax, the tail should be slightly wider than the handle itself
- a cleaver's ax is made with a length of 0.75-0.95 m, while for a carpenter's ax it is 0.5 m
- add 10 cm to the length of the handle for an allowance. This part is cut off after the butt attachment.
A future handle of the desired shape and size is drawn on cardboard, after which the image is transferred to a tree and cut out with carpentry tools.
Checking the bend of the ax
How to check a hand-made handle? It's simple, just measure the values of the instrument and check with the table below.
Putting it in a horizontal position on a hard surface, it is necessary to measure the distance to the end of the handle - this will be the K variable.
Therefore, for standard sizes A0 and A1, the variable should be 2.5-6 cm, and for A2 and A3 -3.5 ... 7 cm. If the indicators are within the normal range, then the tool is made correctly, and with careful care, it is planted forever.
Thus, the whole process takes a little time, but requires precision and patience. But the result will not be long in coming. It is doubly pleasant to work with a quality tool, moreover, self-assembled.
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