Restored Broadaxe

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Project by daltxguy posted 10-08-2013 04:10 PM 4452 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This started as a rusty broadaxe with a broken handle.

I’ve hand carved an ash handle for it starting from the tree (the tree was first munched on by a beaver and then a storm finally took it over a few months ago).

Split with froe and maul and then roughly shaped with a sideaxe, then shaped with drawknife and spokeshave, dried for 2 months, then final fitting to the head with a spokeshave, drawknife, carving knife and a lot of patience.

The handle is offset away from the flat side, as broad axe handles should be. The curve came naturally from the tree.

The head was derusted in a vinegar bath for several days, then reground and sharpened. The paint color has no purpose or historical significance, I just thought it looked fun. It will likely wear off pretty quickly with use.

This tool will be good for another 100 years, I reckon.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

16 comments so far

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 5072 days

#1 posted 10-08-2013 04:20 PM

Nice restoration. Thanks for sharing.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4309 days

#2 posted 10-08-2013 04:28 PM

Very nice restoration work Steve. It’s always good to have an axe to grind.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19842 posts in 3543 days

#3 posted 10-08-2013 04:33 PM

Nice restoration

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 3345 days

#4 posted 10-08-2013 04:46 PM

Nice restoration. The red is a good color for when you set it down on the ground and forget where you put it.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View jdh122's profile


1216 posts in 3793 days

#5 posted 10-08-2013 08:55 PM

Nice job. I just finished a handle for a small hatchet, also out of ash. Took me hours and hours – and to think I could buy a new one at the hardware store for 8 bucks. But the sense of accomplishment for doing it myself…

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4889 days

#6 posted 10-08-2013 09:21 PM

Thanks for all the comments!

stefang – I have no more axes to grind!, I hope. I have a complete set now from felling axes, to sideaxes to broadaxes. Next up – hewn timbers!

BinghamtonEd – good point about the red color – maybe that’s why I’ve seen other axes in red (which is where I got the idea from)

jdh122 – it took me hours and hours too. Yes, the hardware store had hickory handles for about $10 but they were all junk – every one of them – the grain in the wrong direction, grain running out to the side, too chunky, etc. The broadaxe needs a crooked handle to keep the hands away from the log – that’s impossible to find! I have no hickory so ash it was…and ash is very nice to work with!
I also saved $10 as the tree was free!

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View hoss12992's profile


4178 posts in 2868 days

#7 posted 10-09-2013 05:46 AM

Great job

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Bluepine38's profile


3388 posts in 4060 days

#8 posted 10-09-2013 01:14 PM

Beautiful ax, glad that it is going to see some use, hard to find any of these old axes or hatchets anymore,
everyone calls them antiques, puts a big dollar amount on them and hangs them on the wall, it is cheaper to
buy a new one, when you can find a good one. Not too many people think about that offset handle.
Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 3115 days

#9 posted 10-09-2013 02:03 PM

Nice one. I’ve got an old hatchet head that will get the same treatment once I find a suitable billet for the handle.


View Grumpymike's profile


2480 posts in 3290 days

#10 posted 10-09-2013 04:49 PM

Great restoration on an old classic.
Most folks don’t know that a broad axe was only ground on one side. (A chopping axe is ground on both sides)
So the broad axe can be a lefty or a righty depending on who is using it.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4889 days

#11 posted 10-09-2013 05:04 PM

Bluepine38 – It frustrates me when I see perfectly good tools hanging from a wall like a trophy. We used broadaxes for thousands of years. I see us returning to this useful tool again in the future.

Grumpymike – indeed you are right :) I’ve hung this one for a right hander but it could easily be hung for a leftie with a handle inserted from the other direction ( though the curve would have to be opposite).
For that reason, some broadaxes have straight handles which can be easily removed and reinserted on the other end.
Many hewers could handle a broadaxe both right and left handed and indeed both were in use at the same time on large trees:

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3831 days

#12 posted 10-09-2013 05:15 PM

Nice piece of steel, good handle
That will last you.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View mafe's profile


12870 posts in 4064 days

#13 posted 12-13-2013 09:42 PM

Wonderful restore.
The tools we bring back to life always gets a special value to us.
Fine broad axe you have now.
may it serve you well.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4889 days

#14 posted 12-13-2013 10:01 PM

Thanks Mads.
It will have some very important work to do to hew some timbers for a small timberframe cottage – at least some of the beams anyway – some special ones
For the moment, the landscape is frozen and winter will be used to select the (im)perfect trees to be used and possibly move them to location over the snow.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View mafe's profile


12870 posts in 4064 days

#15 posted 12-13-2013 10:30 PM

Thought you had a cool sled…

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

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