How To Make An Axe Handle By Hand

This guy is awesome:

If one of your old hand tools broke, could you take a chunk of firewood and craft a new handle for it?

Personally, I think I’d start with a sapling of a comparable dimension to the handle I was hoping to replace, but seeing this dude shape up a piece of a log with a hatchet is pretty sweet.

Along these lines, I have hickory seedlings coming up here and there in my front yard. Since most of my yard is a food forest, there’s no way I could let hickories grow to maturity – yet I’m mowing around the seedlings and letting them grow. At some point, they’ll be fine young saplings that will be perfect for making a scythe handle… or making table legs… or repairing a shovel. The seedlings of today are the towering trees of tomorrow – or just the perfect piece of wood you needed to finish a project.

It’s easy to mow (or scythe, as I’ve been doing lately) around young trees. It’s just a little investment for the future.

This is one of the reasons I over-plant my food forest designs. You can always thin later – and those “thinnings” can be used for wood, or at the very least, used for mulching around other trees. It I had more land, I’d deliberately plant a bunch of timber trees. Black locust, persimmon, pines, walnut, osage orange – it’d be like owning my own store of lumber.

Now if I can just get my bike hooked up to my tablesaw, I’ll be all ready for that EMP strike

About David The Good

David The Good is a naturalist, author and hard-core gardener who has grown his own food since 1984. At age five, he sprouted a bean in a Dixie cup of soil and caught the gardening bug. Soon after, his dad built an 8’ by 8’ plot for him and David hasn’t stopped growing since. David is the author of four books, writes a regular column for The Ag Mag in North Central Florida, is a Mother Earth News blogger and has also written for outlets including Backwoods Home, Survival Blog and Self-Reliance Magazine. You can find his books on Amazon here. David is a Christian, an artist, a husband, a father of seven, a cigar-smoker and an unrepentant economics junkie who now lives somewhere near the equator on a productive cocoa farm. Visit his daily gardening and survival blog here: The Survival Gardener And for lots more gardening info, click here and subscribe to his often hilarious YouTube channel.

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2 Responses to “How To Make An Axe Handle By Hand”

  1. Woody Wright Says:

    Starting with “a sapling of a comparable dimension,” is a recipe for failure. The wood will split as it dries.

    You must start with wood at least two or three times the diameter of the final project, and bigger is better, so that the growth rings in the final product do not have any substantial curve in them.

    Best to take a really large diameter log, split it into slim wedges, and carve your ax handle out of one of those wedges.

    It will be a decade or more before your hickory trees are big enough to make a hatchet handle out of. Say eight inches diameter, minimum.

    You don’t get to use the bark, or the very center of the tree, so make sure to factor that in.


    • David Goodman Says:

      That’s good to know, Woody. Sounds like you have the right name. However – if using something of comparable dimension is a problem, what about things like scythe handles? Seems like they simply let a long piece of sapling season up a bit, strip the bark, and start whittling handles, etc.

      You know, my Grandpa knew lumber and exactly how to build with it… he probably forgot more knowledge of woodworking than I’ll ever have.


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