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Thread: Hatchet Help and WIP

  1. #1

    knyfeknerd's Avatar
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    Hatchet Help and WIP

    Okay, this isn't a kitchen knife(obviously) but I've taken on this project for my CDC at work. This is an Estwing hatchet that he's had for a long time, maybe 25 years or so. I'm pretty sure this is a very common hatchet, and he could just buy a new one on EBay for $20.................
    .....but this thing holds a lot of good memories, sentiment, etc.
    So I offered to bring it back to life using whatever knife refurbishing knowledge/skill I've accrued thanks to KKF.
    The whole thing was quite rusty and pitted. The handle was made of compressed leather with some (I guess) plastic spacer decorations/accents.
    I cut the handle off and cleaned it all up. I'm looking to keep it the same style/shape as the original.

    My question is:

    What should I use for the handle material?
    I'm really leaning towards wood, as that is my only experience. I'm guessing I don't want anything too expensive, fancy or brittle. I'm thinking African Blackwood would be perfect.............
    ...but I just don't know.
    I'm looking for any answers, recommendations, whatever. I'm sure I could just Google it, but I wanted to ask you guys first.

    I'm sure there's probably a hatchet forum out there!

    Here's some pics I took of the before, during and after
    [IMG][/IMG][IMG][/IMG][IMG][/IMG][IMG][/IMG][IMG][/IMG]
    And Voila! It's all nice and shiny with just a minimal amount of pitting leftover.
    Thanks in advance for any and all help!
    -Chris
    If "Its" and "Buts" was candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas
    -Cleon "Slammin'" Salmon

  2. #2
    Nice work! Please tell us how you cleaned it up.

  3. #3
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    sachem allison's Avatar
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    Chris,
    One of the reasons they used leather was it acted as a shock absorber. It deadens the vibrations from the hatchet striking the wood. With that in mind if I was going to use wood I would use something soft and shock absorbent like birch bark or Cork and treat with minwax wood hardener or shellac. Other wise stick with the leather. If he doesn't use very often then I would say use what ever would you want but, probably not anything really hard and brittle like ironwood,ebony or black wood. Hickory , oak and ash are very tough and excellent tool woods.
    I haven't lived the life I wanted, just the lives I needed too at the time.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sachem allison View Post
    probably not anything really hard and brittle like ironwood,ebony or black wood. Hickory , oak and ash are very tough and excellent tool woods.
    +1 on that. I've never rehandled a hatchet, so no first hand experience there but African Blackwood I know pretty well. It's gorgeous....but it's "feisty." It's so dense that it is both hard to work and, as mentioned, potentially brittle. Not long ago, I had a piece explode...literally explode....from not paying clsoe enough attention to the friction and vibration on a drill press.

    Whatever you go with here -- I'd also keep in mind that the kind of vibration you'll likely get with a hatchet (even if the wooden handle is strong enough to take it) could also mess with your glue joint over time. Make sure you use an epoxy that has some flex and isn't too brittle if you're gluing anything to that tang.

    Another idea - for what it's worth - I've seen people rehandle tools with leather grips meant for tennis rackets or bike handlebars....and in both cases the results looked impressive. I'd have never guessed they were repurposing materials.

  5. #5
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    Go for a stacked leather handle, the end result will be much better than wrestling with trying to fit scales, there are plenty of tutorials online

  6. #6
    I agree with going with a stacked leather handle. You can buy replacement leather washers HERE
    The colored spacers can be made from sheets of vulcanized spacer material or G10 or something like that scored from one of the knifemaking supply companies.

    Here's a video on how the factory does it....

    2:28

  7. #7
    Twistington's Avatar
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    I saw a video some days ago on youtube when Jimmy Diresta rehandled one of these hatchets, search for "Diresta hatchet" and you should find it pretty easy(can't embed or link, i'm at work and my reception is crap here).
    [FONT="Microsoft Sans Serif"][I]-"we're gonna make gluten free lasagna"[/I][/FONT]

  8. #8

    knyfeknerd's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!
    If "Its" and "Buts" was candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas
    -Cleon "Slammin'" Salmon

  9. #9
    Horse stall matting is what all the pro knife competition cutters are using.
    Twitter: @PeterDaEater

  10. #10

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