Saturday, September 26, 2015

3-1/2lb Beveled Plumb Jersey Axe Project

Credit for this pic goes to someone on ebay.
This is the first time I have cracked an axe while driving the wedge and the experience sent me to researching, particularly when several people reported that they had experienced cracked Plumbs as well. I won't speculate too enthusiastically, but it looks like Plumb did have some special processes involved with their heads and as one of the biggest names in axes for a very long time, it seems possible that the steel around the eyes on some of them was hard or brittle enough to crack. What hardships my Plumb had lived before it got to me is impossible to say and there are several ways that a poorly cared for axe could get damaged. At the very least, this example had seen some pretty substantial beating to the poll. All I can guess is, a combination of possible factors came together with one final blow from my favorite wedge driving mallet. Not to be deterred I had someone with welding skills fill up the crack and went back to work. To further test my patience, I sheered off a sliver of wood from the shoulder of the handle while removing it from the cracked head. With morale circling around the bottom of the tank I put a flat on the shoulder and tongue, and glued on a new sliver in place. You will notice the seam in some of the pictures. In the end, with the eye welded shut, my handle repaired, it was time to get this project on the right track. In order to somewhat capture the look of an old Plumb, I blued the head and stained the handle red. Leather dye works extremely well for coloring Hickory, in case you're thinking about giving it a try. Go very light at first, because it lays down color fast! I have used it several times now to get different effects and I really like it. For this handle I used Fiebings "tan" and "red", red first, then tan over top to warm it up. Finally, I made a quick leather mask.

As it arrived - ebay score.
The crack!
Here you can see the seam at the repair and the final fit.
The Plumb evolved over the course of several days. No red yet.
vintage axe restoration rehang refurbish

plumb beveled jersey pattern axe head vintage



Finally, some red, and a mask made up as well.

ka-bar mk1 usn
Here the Plumb is with a Ka-Bar USN Mk1 and Cold Steel Pipe Hawk
american tomahawk company, custom, mod, blued head