A quick axe-hanging tip

If you live in a place where the winter is a lot colder and drier than the rest of the year (e.g. the subarctic), it makes sense to rehang your ax in the winter, if you have a choice. The reason is that the wood of the handle will have less moisture in it during the winter, in comparison to the rest of the year, so it will have shrunk slightly. If you fit a new handle in the winter, the fit is likely to be even more solid the rest of the year. If you fit a new handle during a warmer and more humid time of the year, the axe head would be more likely to loosen up when the wood loses moisture and shrinks in the winter.

If you’re in a situation where your axe head is a tad loose, but the handle doesn’t need to be replaced, soak the eye in linseed oil overnight. The oil will swell the wood, thus tightening up the fit. What’s nice about using linseed oil is that it will remain in the wood and harden. I think it’s a better solution than swelling the handle with water (which, granted, also tightens up the fit, but will eventually lead to weakening of the wood if done repeatedly).

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7 comments on “A quick axe-hanging tip

  1. I’ve also used mineral oil. It seems to work fine.

  2. OZme says:

    Oh, you have been busy updating your blog or I have been lazy checking often enough thease days….

    This Tip really is a good one and often not talked about. especially about the season and dryness of the air. the 4 axes I have hanged in past was in summer time and the following winter, I have noticed that all of them are really loose that I had to re hang them all. It was so bad, the linseed oil trick did not work.

    Thank you for shearing this!

    • Ooooh…I wish I had mentioned this tip to you before you had to rehang those axes! Another important thing to keep in mind when hanging axes is that you should get the fit to be absolutely as tight as you can when shaping the handle. It should be necessary to forcefully knock the head off the handle each time while you are working on the handle. The wood (and metal) wedges then give it extra added security.

      Glad to see you’re still stopping by. 😉 I know how it can be as a very new father! Feel free to leave comments to “older” posts as well, if you feel the need. I know one time you hesitated to leave a comment to an older post, but I do read, appreciate and respond to all comments. 🙂

    • By the way, if you subscribe to the blog, you will receive an email each time a new post is published!

  3. wgiles says:

    I have a miner’s axe that had a loose head. Someone had attempted to tighten it by driving several mine surveyor’s spads into the handle and wedge. This looked so bad that I started to pry the spads out to see if I could repair the damage, I was able to get them out, but found that the wooden wedge was in very poor condition and I was able to get it out with a narrow wood chisel. After that, it was easy to get the handle out. I cleaned the handle up and reinstalled it using a new hardwood wedge and steel cross wedge. Although the handle is now tight, I went ahead and treated it with linseed oil to help keep the wood from shrinking.

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