Received an 18" white hickory handle. good grain and shape.
had to reduce the diameter of the eye and the helve's shoulder (reducing the shoulder diameter makes it look more proportional).
the head still needs to be hung.
the new handle laying next to the older one. looks more balanced and definitely feels more balanced. Handles can be too long: however my preference is that a bit longer is better than too short. better leverage, better reach and less fatigue. if one needs more control just choke up on the handle.
From the Findley are two great hatchets: one is a Wards, the other is a Hackett Diamond. both are brilliant hatchets from his family's past. it has been great fun working on these Americans. both of these are to be in the hands of the next generation, gifts to outdoorsmen: used and relied on.
both are and will be treated differently.
the Wards here is to be brought back to an earlier age where the new bearer (a nephew) will make his great grandfather's hatchet age as he did. this is the original patina. the tool itself was well taken care of.
testing the temper, this is a very functional tool.
with a bit of work the initial polish shows good shine and the cutting edge angle was tightened up.
a sharper angle will give this tool better cut and more function.
the Hackett is of an older era (older that the Wards) and was one of those real treats to work with. after all it was in the hands of great great grandfather. from the patina to the old school modifications, this tool read to me like a real sense of reality (a "give it a fix so i can get back to work" feel). with this in mind, we wanted to do less shine and more leave it as it is look.
had to remove the older handle. i did save the handle and the eye hardware so Findley could use them for later. i do try at not letting anything go to waste, especially if they have some significance from the past.
this hatchet shown NO use of modern grinders, so i was not worried about the temper. in fact, his hand filing was so obvious i could see a slight curve in the file marks. just like words on a page i could actually read the movements of his great grands sharpening technique, right down to the direction his hand favored when applying pressure to the file. good book.
this hatchet was about leaving a bit of the past; therefore some of the patina. there was some rust, so oil and some hand rubbing reduced its impact. for a bit of show, the hatchet's steel was removed to show it in a more original state. this photo does not do it justice, GREAT steel and great shine.
this cutting edge was also tightened up.
both hatchets need a final polish (mostly the Wards) and cutting edge hone. as well as re-handling( i have had to order some new Tennessee hickory handles for these) and flash.
Our house enjoys almost every style of beer, but we do prefer the big beers: high grain bills with lots of octane. we also enjoy traditional ciders but the following recipes are about exploring our diversity.
these cider recipes are extreme variations of cider and are designed for the very hot summer days of Nebraska: cleaner, lighter body, higher octane and served very cold.
Using the champagne yeast converts more of the body into alcohol resulting in a lighter and higher alcoholic beverage. here are some of the steps we take to achieve this: add 1 pound of sugar to the recipe before fermentation, sometimes a red juice for even more, let the cider sit in the carboys for a complete fermentation (including multiple rackings if we want, this could go as long as two months), at priming time we add quite a bit of priming sugar.
And finally we serve these very cold. when the apparent temperature is in (or past) the 90's and one is working outside these ciders are a welcome addition.
Re-establishing the edge of two Plumb hatchets this morning.
The best jigs are the ones we make. this one was from a scrap piece of bamboo from work, some wood from a pallet, 2 x horizontal clamps and a close line tensioner. when using the protractor level i can get an exact angle.
The value of an axe is only measured by its ability to perform or in its ability to remind us of a person or event. With that being said there are two types: those in use and those that have to be retired.
First, those that should be retired are those that can not function anymore yet have a historical significance, say grandfather's tried and true. no matter what its condition (mushroomed all to hell, deformed eye, crack) they deserve a place on the wall. the object itself is as valuable as any portrait, at times even more potent in reminding us of their strength and hard work.
Second, those that are in use. this should be all axes/hatchets. ready to go at anytime. there are many great new axes out there: however i find myself reviving the old steel. any axe will not do. there must be some qualifications met before it is worth not taking to the scrap yard.
When you get your axe, you must check the temper. no temper means the axe is of no use. to do this, fill a bucket with distilled white vinegar. the vinegar will dissolve the rust and expose the temper. below are two heads to describe some of the issues out there:
The single bit had little rust and a nice patina. patina is nice for antique dealers and for those who want a snap shot of the steel's potential, but we still need to get to basics and test the temper. if anything with proper oiling, use and age that patina will come back. even better you made that patina with your own experience, not someone else's. after just two days in vinegar this head showed its good temper. the darker area is the tempered steel.
The double bit head was badly rusted but still had a pretty well defined edges. this head was worth testing and after being in the vinegar (6 days, three times as long as the craftsman single bit) showed its temper well in tact.
The next steps will be to polish, re-establish a proper edge (using hand files and a jig), hanging and then a small amount of flash for easy spotting in the field.