How to re-handle axes

If an axe breaks, it is almost always the shaft/handle that is the culprit. A poor quality or damaged shaft is a major safety risk. However, if the head is still in good condition, you can re-use your tool by fitting a new shaft.

When fitting a new shaft to your tool, it’s important to ensure that the shaft is dry. If it’s not and dries after the head as been fitted, there is a danger that the head will come loose. This also applies to the wedge if you fit a new shaft using a wooden wedge.

To fit a new shaft to your axe, do the following:

  1. Cut off the existing shaft just below the head.
  2. Drill a number of holes in the eye.
  3. Tap out what is left and clean the eye.
  4. Press and tap the head onto the new shaft, firmly but carefully. Cut off the protruding part of the shaft.
  5. Fit the steel wedge so that the end of the shaft fills the eye. If the steel wedge is not sufficient, you should fit a wooden wedge before the steel wedge. You can make this by cutting a wedge from a dry piece of hard timber. Then split the end of the shaft using a chisel. Apply some wood glue, tap in the wooden wedge and then cut off the excess.
  6. Tap the steel wedge out so that it locks the wooden wedge in position. Then apply oil to the end of the shaft to protect it against moisture.

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