A few whacks with the revised blade in some truly hard oak reveal more of the internal condition of my axe and exposed the connection between axe head and grip to be tenuous. A whack or two more and what was tenuous is insufficient with the axe head rising off the tongue of the handle. The friction fit of the outward tapering socket is fine for transferring the shock of the blows, with all the information or feedback contained. Being literate in interpreting this feedback will provide you much helpful guidance in your work with axes.Well, when I removed its handle the reason for this dissonance was easy for anyone with eyes which are working to grasp. For one reason or those other it has been shimmed in excess and the continuity of the axe as a whole interrupted not to mention the vital friction holding the handle and head effectively to each other more or less rendered ineffectual.
As much as I prefer to keep such a fine old beech handle, (the common handle of Europe to the south of let’s say roughly Paris but even on up through Bavaria and the Alps), as this one is I like having a good axe and handle combination even more so the course of action is obvious and the work of a replacement now gets undertaken with no equivocation.
I have the luck of having a piece of holly for the handle which will work, given by Marc the axe handle wood expert of France. Holly like this is great fun to work. Take an axe, drawknife, knives even spokeshaves and planes, that fine structure it has makes it more pleasant than ash to me.
And it seems to be a wood giving a good grip which you wont get with a handle from, oh say, elm for one.
To be continued, in my own good time.