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Jeroen Averhals




Location: Flanders, Belgium
Joined: 16 Feb 2007
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Posts: 66

PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar, 2009 4:31 am    Post subject: Help to identify this axe         Reply with quote

Hello,

I have bought this axe some years ago from an antique dealer. I would like to know if anyone knows this type of axe. The blade is quite thin and is attached to the inside of the handle.
I think because of this the axe can't take much abuse.
Is it a ceremonial piece, a weapon, a tool?
The antique dealer told me it was an 18th century axe given to slaves who bought themselves free, but I find that hard to believe.

thanks,

Jeroen Averhals



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Vigor et Veritas
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Sa'ar Nudel




Location: Haifa, Israel
Joined: 02 Dec 2005
Likes: 16 pages

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar, 2009 9:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nice item, the head is styled after 16th century axes. You are correct, the method of attaching a flat axe head into a wooden haft with rivets cannot stand the same abuse as a socket attachment.
I think it could be a tobacco chopper.

Curator of Beit Ussishkin, regional nature & history museum, Upper Galilee.
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Allan Senefelder
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Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

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PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar, 2009 1:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I think it could be a tobacco chopper.


That was what came to my mind. My father's owned several over the years as part of his American Civil War collection although none were anywhere as nice as this one.
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Sean Flynt
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Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar, 2009 2:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

An observation: Many of use who use large knives for cooking often "choke up" and pinch the blade between the thumb and first fingers for fine work. The cutout in the blade and thin haft of this axe would allow the user to do the same thing, working with greater precision as needed. In this case, the two smallest fingers would extend into the cutout and the thumb and first two fingers would pinch the blade above the cutout.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Leo Todeschini
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Location: Oxford, UK
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PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar, 2009 3:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Personally I would say that if this was used to actually chop anything with any force it would break. So I would say it was never made to be used to chop things ie it was decorative and probably a wallhanger

Probably of some age by the look of it and so probably Victorian era/19thC and made to look medieval but made in the cheapest possible way and yet still create an impression. All guess work, but it just doesn't look like a working tool to me so I am looking for another purpose.

Makers marks would be interesting.

Tod

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Allan Senefelder
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Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

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PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar, 2009 5:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Leo, this method of attachment is exactly how tobaco axes were made with the blade riveted ( one of my faters was even screwed and bolted ) in place in the wooden haft. Tobaco plantes are not particularly tough and cut easily so for the intended agricultural purpose they worked fine 100 years ago. Thats why this one reminded me of one. The blade however is far more refined than any of the purely agricultural axes in my father collection which may lend itself to some cerimonial purpose.
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Jeroen Averhals




Location: Flanders, Belgium
Joined: 16 Feb 2007
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 66

PostPosted: Fri 27 Mar, 2009 7:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sirs,

Thanks for all your help.
I checked the axe and found no makers marks.
In Belgium we used to grow tobacco so it is possible that the axe was used for that purpose.
I will send the picture to a tobaccomuseum.

thanks,

Jeroen Averhals

Vigor et Veritas
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