The following guide was very kindly provided by Woodlore customer and Camp Craft course attendee Martin Dryden:
Just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks again for sorting out the Wildlife Hatchet Axe Head for me. It took a little while to source some suitable Ash and to shape the handle, but below are some pictures. The axe head is a really high-quality item and was a pleasure to work with.
My Small Forest Axe (issued on the Camp Craft Course) made light work of the job of splitting the Ash log I had. The wedge is the Holly Glut I made on the course also, so it’s now served use again.
Once in half I split them down into quarters, which gave about the right size I felt to work with. In retrospect, I may have been better splitting it into 1/6 rather than 1/4, but we learn by doing.
I then worked one of these down to a suitable-sized board. It was hard work as the Ash was seasoned and not green!
I used the existing Small Forest Axe as a guide to mark out a handle, with some slight tweaking and roughed out the shape.
With the axe, crooked knife and carving knife I set to carving the basic shape I wanted; then lots of trial fitting of the head and taking this down to fit. Getting the alignment right also took some time, but with practice this would get easier.
The finished axe – it took a lot of shaping to get it to fit the head right and to fit my hand how I wanted it. I see improvements I would make next time and mistakes I would try and avoid. However, I think it turned out quite well. Lots of scraping to get a smooth surface and a boiled linseed oil finish.
It’s got an Oak Wedge with a metal wedge across this.
The two axes side by side – the Wildlife Axe has a 40cm length in total and feels really light and easy to use. It will be great for light carving jobs, spoons etc.
Just again to say thanks for all the help in sourcing the axe head. A big thanks to Ray as well for inspiring me to have a go, with the great Northern Wilderness series."
The problem now is wanting to do more and learn more each time. I have three more sections to play with and if I ever need to source more I will definitely look for green wood. That said, using seasoned shortened the time I had to wait before fitting the axe head.
Thanks Woodlore – all of you.