Handle Care for your Axe!
The truth is, I not only love using my tools but also love caring for them. There is a saying that contains a lot of truth: “If you take care of your tools they will take care of you!”
That is a fact. Our tools (not only in bushcraft) are there for a reason and that is to make life so much easier for you in helping accomplish different things that would be at times almost impossible to do without them.
They are bought with your hard earned money so it is common sense to take care of them so that not only they last long but when needed they should perform to there maximum effectiveness and not fall apart.
In bushcraft that is especially important because most of the time we are away from civilization. So we need our tools to function properly and this will only happen if we take care of them not once in a while but as often as needed.
First, the wood should be protected from moisture. We all know that dry wood is a very thirsty natural product that if given the chance will take in a lot of water. If not taken care of it this will lead to severe damaging. Yes I know it can be replaced but it is a much easier road to take if you just care for it.
Boiled Linseed oil is one of the best commonly known products for protecting wood.
NOTE: Boiled linseed oil is heated and treated with chemicals such as solvents and resins that make it unfit for human consumption.
The main quality of linseed oil when used for wood is that it will repel water and keep it out of your very important tools when it comes to wood handles.
Something else that I do is to protect it from splintering just below the front part of the axe head. Damages to this part will happen when limbing a tree. Where there are a lot of branches sometimes when using the axe to chop off a branch, another branch that we did not see will hit the specific part and damage it enough that it can become dangerous to use. Now this does not just happen when limbing but splitting wood if we are not careful.
I used to wrap on lanyard around the specific area. The problem with that is it would slide down and this would become more of a pain than being useful.
Inner Tube I SAY!!!
Oh! Yes! That works like a charm!
Find the right width; cut it to desired length; slide it on and your set my bushcraft friend.
I also like to blacken it a bit. You can use just about any oil based products you have in your home. I simply used a metal polish conditioner and it worked fine. This is completely optional of course.
Rubber is not only great for protecting your axe handle from damaging blows but it will keep your hands from slipping even when wet. It’s also a great firestarter when everything is soaked.
It’s cheap to buy and certainly does not add too much weight to your tool. This is absolutely a WINNER!
Now there are other uses for inner tubes such as ranger bands, sling shots and what we covered in this blog. There are a lot of things that the inner tube can be used for. But I will let you figure other ideas as you seek wisdom and spend time with your rubber friend. 🙂
To make it a little easier for you if ever you do not have any at home or you simply want to know the perfect width (by the way… fits perfect for the small forest axe and small hatchet handles from Gransfors and Bruks) here is a couple of pictures of the products I used.
I’ve heard someone say once… “You are as sharp as your knife!” I believe this to be true for all your tools.
You want to do a good job? Make sure you take good care of the things that will help you do just that.