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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Aug, 2007 7:35 pm    Post subject: An alternate explaination of axe flanges         Reply with quote

I have one quick question about the flanges that extend from the axe socket of many viking era axes. Every explaination I have come across (from far more reputable sources than myself) suggests that these are to strengthen the haft, but even if these were an embryonic form of langets, I think they would be vestigial at best.

I own several axes, and use them hard and often, primarily for throwing. They ALWAYS come loose on the haft no matter what method of securing I use. I have tried everything from wedges to gorilla glue, I even have one cold steel axe that has a jam screw in the back to limit movement, all in vain.

I've got it into my head that the flanges, which are, by the way, beautifully executed on Patrick's new huscarl axe, could be hammered into a wooden haft to reduce slippage. I have no evidence whatsoever to justify this, other than my long, losing battle with my own axes. I think a good iron wedge above, and the flanges hammered into the wood, could just do the trick. They are always triangular, which should provide a good bite.

Does this sound far-fetched?
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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2007 5:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I take it that no one has an opinion, or else no one understands what the heck I'm talking about WTF?!
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2007 6:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
I take it that no one has an opinion, or else no one understands what the heck I'm talking about WTF?!


Sometimes it takes more than 24 hours to get answers. Patience, grasshopper...

Happy

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2007 6:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
I take it that no one has an opinion, or else no one understands what the heck I'm talking about WTF?!


Oh, I may have an opinion but not one supported by anything more than guesses. Wink Laughing Out Loud

Guess number one is that at the very modest size they are mostly aesthetic or decorative and one does have to admit look rather better than plain strait edges.

Guess number two:
On the Albion Danish axe I bought and mounted myself on a aft has these projections ( languettes " buds " ! ) top and bottom: I drilled a 1/4" hole in the aft just above and behind the top languettes on the side opposite to the axe blade. I then glued in a quarter inch steel pin that completely locks the head from coming off.

The head of the axe is also blocked by this pin from rotating around the aft by the top projecting languettes. ( This is sort of redundant since the aft is oval in section, but it does make any lateral movement or loosening even less probable ).

Now, where these languettes used this way with a locking pin in period ? Probably not and there is no proof of this being done that I have ever seen or heard about, but it does work great at keeping the axe head in place: No way is it going to slip off even if it loosens a bit.

Alternatively one could also carve the aft to mirror the shape of the languettes " inletted " into the aft at the bottom of the axe head and a pin like I described locking the top languettes. Or just the top of the aft could be carved if the aft was fitted in from the top through the eye of the axe. ( Body of the aft of smaller diameter than the eye ).

Well, maybe ALL the above is just my overactive imagination but at least you got a response of sorts. Razz Laughing Out Loud

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Gavin Kisebach




Location: Lacey, Wa US
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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2007 7:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A lot of modern reproductions use pins; my cold steel axes all have them. What I don't get is why this is not tjhe case with the original axes. I've seen scant evidence if any that this was done until recently.

Now of course spears have made use of pins for a very long time, but they make use of a single opening conical socket, or a tang.

A good cross wedge (one wood, one iron) will hold a head in place for quite a while, often until the handle breaks, but they still get wiggly. Gluing thin leather around the very top of the haft mitigates this somewhat, and several danish axeheads that i've seen have a soft metal cap that may also serve to keep the head tight. This is one feature I plan to incorporate into my dream axe. Big Grin
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2007 7:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
A lot of modern reproductions use pins; my cold steel axes all have them. What I don't get is why this is not tjhe case with the original axes. I've seen scant evidence if any that this was done until recently.


The difference with my idea is that the pin doesn't go through a hole in the axe but just block the head from coming off with a hole through the wood. Left a good couple of inches of aft over the top of the eye of the axe wall so that the wood wouldn't spilt as easily.

Anyway, it seems to work well even if it's just my unsupported idea. ( Thanks for confirming that the idea isnt completely stupid. Wink Big Grin ).

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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Tue 21 Aug, 2007 7:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't suppose I could impose upon you for a picture or two, could I?
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2007 1:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
I don't suppose I could impose upon you for a picture or two, could I?


A pic of the real thing eventually but here is a graphic rendering showing what I mean about the position of the steel pin.



 Attachment: 54.43 KB
Axe03 copy.jpg


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Jeroen Zuiderwijk
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Aug, 2007 4:59 am    Post subject: Re: An alternate explaination of axe flanges         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
I have one quick question about the flanges that extend from the axe socket of many viking era axes. Every explaination I have come across (from far more reputable sources than myself) suggests that these are to strengthen the haft, but even if these were an embryonic form of langets, I think they would be vestigial at best.

I own several axes, and use them hard and often, primarily for throwing. They ALWAYS come loose on the haft no matter what method of securing I use. I have tried everything from wedges to gorilla glue, I even have one cold steel axe that has a jam screw in the back to limit movement, all in vain.
Ha, that's where bronze age socketed axes are superior: they never come loose Happy

Quote:
I've got it into my head that the flanges, which are, by the way, beautifully executed on Patrick's new huscarl axe, could be hammered into a wooden haft to reduce slippage. I have no evidence whatsoever to justify this, other than my long, losing battle with my own axes. I think a good iron wedge above, and the flanges hammered into the wood, could just do the trick. They are always triangular, which should provide a good bite.

Does this sound far-fetched?
That's actually what I always assumed. The strengthening of the haft I actually didn't even consider, althought that seems quite logical as well.

N.b. has anyone checked out the latest assembly of Gransfors historic axe reproductions? http://www.gransfors.com/htm_eng/index.html. I'm be quite tempted to get one myself.
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Corey Skriletz




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PostPosted: Tue 27 Dec, 2011 5:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I own several axes, and use them hard and often, primarily for throwing. They ALWAYS come loose on the haft no matter what method of securing I use. I have tried everything from wedges to gorilla glue, I even have one cold steel axe that has a jam screw in the back to limit movement, all in vain.



I'm not sure how historically accurate this is, but here it goes anyway. I throw all the time, and I had that same problem, so I drilled a hole through both sides of the head while it was pushed as far up the handle as it would go, then I hammered a nail through the other side. After that, I peened the other end down and presto! It still jiggles a little, but that head hasn't slipped off since.
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Matthew Kelty





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PostPosted: Tue 27 Dec, 2011 10:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just my .02 on wedges. Rather than a cut notch and smooth shaped wedge a la modern carpentry hammers, have you ever tried simply doing a short split and hammering in a rough wedge? Cut the wedge with the grain running vertically. I've done this with semi green or even seasoned wood ( not kiln dried) on hachets and bearded axes and have never had it loosen on me. The compression with hammering it in is phenomenal and the fibers really cinch it in nicely.
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Mark Routledge
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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2011 12:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For my two pennys worth Happy

Pinching in those short spurs might help and pins will do the job but are a pain when you do need to get the head off to replace the handle.

Fit the handle nice and tight with wooden wedges, both good and dry. Keep your axe in a shed not in the house and when you are going to use it sit it in a bucket of water for an hour or two. Dry off the head of course if you are worried about corrosion, the head should not come loose. Our ancestors did not live in centrally heated houses so I do not think their axe handles dried out so much.

The other thoughts I have is perhaps they had exactly the same problems but just got used to replacing handles often and maybe we actually give our axes a harder time of it than they did ?

Just my thoughts....

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Ben Bouchard




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2011 7:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My understanding was that the projections were to increase the surface area that the wood inside the eye was gripping once expanded with the wedge, giving a more secure grip than those without. You see similar lugs on many modern axes, especially "Jersey" pattern ones.


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Ken Speed





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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2011 7:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Throwing an axe, even one supposedly made for throwing is inevitably going to loosen the fit between the head and the handle unless you 're dealing with a one-piece all steel axe. Repeated impacts will cause the haft to wear and it will loosen, pins and wedges will be temporarily fixes until more wear occurs.

I can't say that I'm confident about pinning the axehead either because it seems to me huge stresses are now placed on the haft where the pin's hole is located. I would expect a pinned haft to break pretty quickly.

If you're going to throw axes I think you need to find a way to replace the hafts inexpensively. How are your woodworking skills?
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Corey Skriletz




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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2011 3:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I can't say that I'm confident about pinning the axehead either because it seems to me huge stresses are now placed on the haft where the pin's hole is located. I would expect a pinned haft to break pretty quickly.


I don't know about that, I put my pin in over a year ago, and the haft hasn't broken to this day, despite its constant use. As long as the handle is made of a good strong hardwood, it should work fine. As for a cheap way of replacing the handles, I usually go to http://www.black-bear-haversack.com/index.php...919cb8cf1a. They have replacement handles for a pretty decent price, although they've gone up in price of late.
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Ken Speed





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PostPosted: Wed 28 Dec, 2011 5:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Corey Skriletz wrote, I don't know about that, I put my pin in over a year ago, and the haft hasn't broken to this day, despite its constant use. As long as the handle is made of a good strong hardwood, it should work fine. "


OK Corey, if you say it works fine then it works fine. Quite frankly though , I'd never feel secure using a pinned axe.
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Owen Bush
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PostPosted: Fri 30 Dec, 2011 4:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the ears on axe sockets are often found on axes with quite a small height of socket so they are to an extent allowing the axe to be made of less material whilst allowing for enough socket side to handle contact to allow the axe to function.
longer ears can certainly be tapped into the shaft to add a little grip.
wood as a natural material expands and contracts and the maintenance of ones axe would have been a standard part of the owning and using it .

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