Fixing a loose ax head

March 17, 2014

In my preparations for our winter camping course I inspected my trusty ax, that had been with me for a few years of service now.

Turns out the head was loose. Probably due to me moving from humid Oklahoma to drier Colorado.

I had read a bit on knife and bushcraft forums and suggestions pointed towards dipping the head and eye into boiled linseed oil. The oils supposedly penetrate into the wood and swell it up, tightening up the wood inside the eye of the ax. Some estimates suggested this would be a week long process, and I have 24 hours so lets see how this goes.

There was also the suggestion to stick a nail into the ax wedge as a quick fix.

Either way, off to the hardware store I went. I ended up with a bottle of boiled linseed, and rather than get nails like Woodtrekker suggested, I found in the odds and ends drawer 6 different types of wedges for axes, hammers, and other wood handled tools. I grabbed 2 of the smaller sizes.

I didn’t want to start putting metal into the ax prematurely, so I dunked the hatchet, and its little brother a Vaughn subzero .5# into a paint pail of boiled linseed.

I put some plastic over the top to keep the flavors down.

48 hours later, the axe head is still very loose. I apply the last ditch efforts from the new wedges. I understand that applying metal wedges instead of re-wedging the wooden wedge damages the shaft and could shatter it preventing future repairs, but I need this axe tomorrow morning for the Snow Orientation course. 

The wedge holds fast and chops just fine for now.

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