Best orientation of grain for handle

Discussion in 'The Off Topic Room' started by Bert2368, Feb 11, 2020.

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums by donating:

  1. Feb 11, 2020 #1

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2018
    Messages:
    704
    Location:
    Hellish frozen Northern wasteland, aka MN
    Of a striking tool, such as an axe or hammer.

    See below pictures of two axe handles, would you choose:

    The one on the left, where grain runs front to back of handle, in line with an axe or hammer head's long dimension?

    The one on the right, where grain runs from side to side of handle, perpendicular to the long dimension of such tool heads?

    Assume re handle of tools for normal day to day work, not anything crazy like "timber sports".

    First pic: looking at butt end of handle

    axehafts1001Medium_zpse8d8fbe9.jpg

    Second pic: looking down handle towards the head end.

    AxehandlesII017Medium_zpsbdf6be3f.jpg

    Please, don't threaten axe murder against people holding the opposite opinion.

    If you have a concrete reason for your preference, briefly state it?

    If you think it is conditional on what striking tool it is for, species of axe, various hammers or sledges? Please briefly explain what the conditions are?

    And if your dad/uncle/grand dad told you to do it one way, what did he do for a living?
     
  2. Feb 11, 2020 #2

    McMan

    McMan

    McMan

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2018
    Messages:
    1,205
    Left. For the same reason you hold a baseball bat looking at the label.
     
  3. Feb 11, 2020 #3

    Barmoley

    Barmoley

    Barmoley

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Messages:
    1,741
    Don’t you want grain perpendicular to the angle of force? The handle will bend easier that way and be more durable and less shock will be transferred to your hand.
     
  4. Feb 11, 2020 #4

    RDalman

    RDalman

    RDalman

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2015
    Messages:
    1,494
    Left is stronger right is unacceptable on a axe i would say.
     
    Benuser, Nikabrik and M1k3 like this.
  5. Feb 11, 2020 #5

    M1k3

    M1k3

    M1k3

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2018
    Messages:
    1,517
    I'd say left for strength as well. I'd rather have the shock in my hands than the axe head flying.
     
    Carl Kotte likes this.
  6. Feb 11, 2020 #6

    Dhoff

    Dhoff

    Dhoff

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2018
    Messages:
    406
    Location:
    Denmark
    Should have included a votebox, "Which butt is best".

    I am in preference of the left functionally, and the right aestetically :)
     
  7. Feb 11, 2020 #7

    McMan

    McMan

    McMan

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2018
    Messages:
    1,205
    This is what happens when perpendicular to the grain (Red). Parallel (Green) prevents this.
    upload_2020-2-11_0-14-20.png
    Or just think of it like a cutting board ;)
     
    Nikabrik and Barmoley like this.
  8. Feb 11, 2020 #8

    McMan

    McMan

    McMan

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2018
    Messages:
    1,205
  9. Feb 11, 2020 #9

    pistachio

    pistachio

    pistachio

    Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2020
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Western Australia
    Left. It is how I remember the axes of a family friend who was (now retired) an old time, life long logger.
     
    Nikabrik likes this.
  10. Feb 11, 2020 #10

    Barmoley

    Barmoley

    Barmoley

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2016
    Messages:
    1,741
    Good to know. Thanks for the explanation.
     
    McMan likes this.
  11. Feb 11, 2020 #11

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2018
    Messages:
    704
    Location:
    Hellish frozen Northern wasteland, aka MN
    OK- Thanks all. Thinking about making "Thor's hammer".
     
  12. Feb 11, 2020 #12

    milkbaby

    milkbaby

    milkbaby

    Well-Known Doofus Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    2,050
    Location:
    Sunny Florida
    This was a very good question to axe here! Enjoyed it. :D
     
  13. Feb 12, 2020 #13

    panda

    panda

    panda

    O.G. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Messages:
    7,146
    Location:
    south florida
    Surprisingly I've never given this any thought.
    So what affect does the grain orientation have on the function?
     
  14. Feb 12, 2020 #14

    M1k3

    M1k3

    M1k3

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2018
    Messages:
    1,517
    Pretty much same as a knife. Vertical pressure produces little to no bend, but, side to side will.
     
    RDalman likes this.
  15. Feb 12, 2020 #15

    boomchakabowwow

    boomchakabowwow

    boomchakabowwow

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2013
    Messages:
    1,943
    even in engineering we calculate the loads on lumber as perpendicular and parralel to the grain.

    but honestly, i think the few axe handles i manage to break have been the result of a poor swing, or badly placed grain "run-out"
     
  16. Feb 13, 2020 #16

    RDalman

    RDalman

    RDalman

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2015
    Messages:
    1,494
    Yes but if aware of it one can avoid using axes handled with grain run-out also. Buyer beware, these faults are way too common these days.
     
  17. Feb 13, 2020 #17

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

    Bert2368

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2018
    Messages:
    704
    Location:
    Hellish frozen Northern wasteland, aka MN
    People who want some "spring" to the handle might pick a perpendicular orientation, especially if long term durability is not the prime consideration- Some "Timber sports" participants are said to do this, in particular.

    Why I specified normal, day to day use...
     
  18. Feb 13, 2020 #18

    RDalman

    RDalman

    RDalman

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2015
    Messages:
    1,494
    Why not go with a softer wood but the stronger grain orientation in that case? I know some woodcarvers that say spruce is nice. Also my favourite forging hammer is handled with elm. Might be size but I think the wood there is nicer handling than a regular hickory.
     
  19. Feb 13, 2020 #19

    Caleb Cox

    Caleb Cox

    Caleb Cox

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2019
    Messages:
    211
    Location:
    Danville, VA
    The days are numbered for a wooden handle for any striking tool (throwing axe, etc). Careful grain orientation will help. Hardness and density only do so much to predict the durability of a wood in this use or how it transfers energy to the user. Hickory isn't the only suitable wood but there are several reasons that it's king. Ash is also great for striking tools, but then again baseball bats break every day. Of course any species is a natural product so natural variation and invisible flaws can cause a skilled craftsman to create a handle that will blow apart on the first impact.
     
    RDalman likes this.

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

Group Builder