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Axes and Hatches

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Axes and hatches

Axes and Hatches

Axes and hatches

Though both the axe & the hatchet are highly useful to the woodsman, weight usually eliminates one, & then the scout has the problem of selecting the best tool. Experts favor the sort axe which is carried in your pack – never on the belt. Select your type of axe just as you do a pair of shoes. It must ‘fit’ you in handle length, weight & appereance &, of course, must do the job at hand. The right axe soon become a reliable old friend.

Axes and hatches

  • Good axemen treat their axes like a wildcat does his teeth.

    • They keep the blade sharp enough to bite as well as chew.

  • A dull axe is dangerous, it slips & skips & does not cut.

  • Keep the handle tight with wedges.

  • Keep the axe off the ground.

  • It belongs its sheath or in a block, never where it is dangerous to yourself or others.

Axes and hatches

  • An axe is not a pick or a hoe.

  • But a poleaxe ( one with a flat surface opposite the blade) may be a hammer, maul, or wedge if it is struck only against or by wood.

  • 2 old loggers’s jingles to remember are –

    • “Clear the ground an axe length around,”

    • “On lookers stay two axe – lengths away,”

      -- to which we add that an axe length is the combined length of your arm & axe.

Axes and hatches

  • In passing the axe to another person, hold it by the handle, with head down, & be sure that the receiver has a firm grip on it before you let go.

  • Never leave an axe lying unprotected on the ground, the moisture of the soil will rust the blade.

  • Handle every axe as though it were “loaded.”

  • Use it with common sense as well as strength.

To split wood

To Split Wood :

  • Put axe against wood & bring both down on chopping block together.

To split a log

To Split a Log :

  • Rest it against chopping block together on side away from you


To chop a stick

To Chop a Stick :

  • Rest it across chopping block, with end in ground or under log


Axes and hatches

  • When sharpening an axe, knife or a bolo always try to use an old fashioned whetstone.

    • It will take longer than if sharpened on a modern composition stone but the result will be much better.

    • If the axe, knife, bolo is badly nicked o very dull, start sharpening it with a fine file before using a stone.

  • There are whetstones that are embedded in woodblocks & this make for stability while sharpening.

  • Keep the whetstones firm otherwise it will take you a long time to sharpen your axe, or the result will not be satisfactory, or worse still, you might get hurt.

To sharpen axe knife or bolo

To Sharpen Axe, Knife or Bolo

  • Lay the blade flat on the whetstone.

    • Moisten the surface of the whetstone first with a few drops of oil or water.

  • With an edge towards you, raise the back very slightly & draw the blade over the stone toward you.

  • Later turn the blade over, edge away from you, and push it away from you for several strokes.

  • Continue working on the side, one rough & the other fine, use the rough side first & finish with the fine side.

Axes and hatches

A sharp knife or axe are signs of a “sharp” woodsman. Skill in keeping them sharp comes through practice.

  • With axe head embedded firmly in a log. File side of head gradually working to the cutting edge.

  • File contact with axe on the down stroke only.

  • Protect hand with a block of wood or a heavy guard of leather.

Axes and hatches

  • File the V-shaped part

  • File straight down on side of axe-head at first file same way on other side.

  • File at angle to axe only for the final sharpening.

  • Work in form the edge rounding slightly repeat on other side and then hone.

  • Use a rotary motion in holding your axe.

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