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:
- Cut off the existing shaft just below the head.
- Drill a number of holes in the eye.
- Tap out what is left and clean the eye.
- Press and tap the head onto the new shaft, firmly but carefully. Cut off the protruding part of the shaft.
- 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.
- 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.