My little hewing hatchet only needed a short handle for the kind of work it is meant to do, so it seemed a good opportunity to begin learning. I chose an unlikely wood specifically because it was unlikely. It is made from Redbud, a short living, often twisted tree that most likely wouldn't yield a straight board any longer than my handle. They grow very fast, as you can tell from the very wide growth rings. Getting a suitable piece was actually pretty difficult but we managed to saw out a small section and I began whittling at it with an axe. With a rough shape finished I set it aside to dry for a few weeks. It had come from the stump that had been left high after the dying tree had been taken down, but it was very wet - shavings felt damp to the touch. I doubt it is dry even now, but I don't have the sort of patience needed to let it fully cure. Worst case scenario is that the handle shrinks and loosens in which case I will pull it, and simply rehang it. Loose tool heads are not difficult to remedy and rehanging them on the same handle is the best option in my opinion when the handle itself isn't damaged.
In the end it ended up being an awfully attractive piece of wood and certainly unusual. It's already helped with some minor carving which will be seen in the pictures. Thanks for reading!
|Kelley-How Thomson Hickory Hewing Hatchet made by Plumb|
|Everything came out nice and straight.|
|Another shot of the alignment. It all came together smoothly.|
|I made sure the wood bulged pretty good from the top in hopes of keeping it tight as it dries.|
|I tell you what, this hammer is actually great for driving wedges.|
Another thing worth noting is that Boker Plus Titan seen in the last picture. I used it in a number of different ways on this project; as a fine scalpel, push cutting with both hands, a mini draw knife, you name it, and it was really excellent. I highly recommend it. I have an overview of it elsewhere on the blog.