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Troels Saabye

handle for a broad axe plum wood ? Oak ? beech wood ?

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I found myself in the need of a broad axe, because I want to hew some oak logs into beams. But I can´t decide what kind of Wood is best suited for axe handles, I have the following in stock : Juniper, oak, beech Wood, Birch, plum, cherry, ironbark, Willow and Aspen(populus). It isn´t about the aesthetics since I like all of them and think they all make beautiful handles, but which one is best suited for axe-handles ? :)

Edited by Troels Saabye

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Plum would be the best out of that list as long as the grain is straight and knot-free. Can you get ash (Fraxinus excelsior)? It is one of the best European woods for axe handles.

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okay Alan :) - no I can´t get my hands on ash at the moment, maybe around september.. at the moment the list is what I can get a hold of ^^

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since this was asked, I see alot of old timey books referring to Dog wood as good handle material as well- any experience with this Alan?

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No, but it's true. Dogwood is rock-hard and very tough. So is hornbeam/musclewood/American ironwood. Not pretty, but strong!

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ok thats good info i fell a dogwood that was damaged and saved several sections to be used for handle materials :P

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Alan I was thinking - what qualities does Wood for axes and hammer handle needs ? flexibility ? :)

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Toughness first, then flexibility. Otherwise willow would be on the list. A willow-handled axe would be too flexible for efficient use. Oakis too brittle, and so on.

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Pretty sure Scandinavians often prefer birch for axe handles. Which seems weird to me but hey

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sounds familiar :) we have a ton of Birch, so maybe I should get one of those ;) right now I just have to wait for the Wood to cure so for now my go to axe is a 10$ axe with a hickory handle for felling and it seems to Work quite well

Edited by Troels Saabye

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What you're looking for, in general, in a tool handle is something that won't splinter, not prone to cracks or splits, with a little bit of flex to absorb impact. Straight grain is generally preferred.

I've not used plum for a tool handle as I don't have any that is straight but it is in the same family as cherry, as such I'd be concerned with cracks when drying. Otherwise fruit and nut woods tend to work well. Oak (depending on the exact species and how it's dried) can be prone to splintering.

Beech and aspen tend to have too much movement in service to make a superior tool handle.

Do you know a species for what you're calling ironbark? This is a common name I've heard refer to a few species and some make suitable handle material, others are not good for handles.

 

There is also the question of how much stress is put on the handle when in use. As I understand the use of a broad axe, it is often held close to the head for close work, if used as such, handle material becomes less of a concern than if it's used with a full swing.

 

 

ron

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hey, yes it is Eucalyptus crebra F.Muell :) , just got back from my grandmother - and they just cleared some garden Space. They had a Thuya with a 8 inch trunk ^^ and said I could have it, along with an appletree they too decided to get rid of :). with all the timber I get right now I could open a lumberyard ^^

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