Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

The Junk Drawer is for those Off Topical discussions where we can ask questions of the community that we feel might have the ability to help out.

Moderators: Harold_V, websterz

Glenn Brooks
Posts: 1362
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:39 pm
Location: Woodinville, Washington

Re: Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

Post by Glenn Brooks » Wed Sep 12, 2018 9:35 pm

Steve, I wouldn’t worry much about dings in the edge of an axe. Even a new one. Soon as you start chopp8ng up the stump you’ll find every rock in the ground there is. Plenty of dings, even big divots will show up in the blade on short order. No big deal, just go off to your bendh grinder and make it right again. My doubled bladed axes have been sharpened many times over the years, sometimes taking a 1/4” off the blade to get a smooth, sharp, elliptical edge. All part of the game. Actually I grind the edges almost every time I use it. I would never own a stainless axe, or anything with a high temper edge. To prone to chipping and really hard to dress up to good cutting edge again.

A Pulaski or Mattock are pretty good for chipping down round the stump. But personally I’ve found them to be more limited in usefulness than a decent double bladed axe. Chop into the stump, then flip the axe over and use the keen edge to cut off the slabs you just made. Rough edge into the ground again, flip over and slice, repeat, repeat, repeat... pretty soon, chips everywhere....stumps gone. lots of fun!

Glenn

Glenn
Moderator - Grand Scale Forum

Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

Ahaha, Retirement: the good life - drifting endlessly on a Sea of projects....

User avatar
SteveHGraham
Posts: 6978
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

Post by SteveHGraham » Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:33 am

The problem isn't a ding. The eye is distorted so a handle won't go in.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

User avatar
BadDog
Posts: 4513
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 8:21 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

Post by BadDog » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:14 am

I expect he was talking about the one you already sent back for damage in shipment.
Russ
Master Floor Sweeper

User avatar
SteveHGraham
Posts: 6978
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

Post by SteveHGraham » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:21 am

That one is now in Kansas.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

User avatar
SteveHGraham
Posts: 6978
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

Post by SteveHGraham » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:26 am

I found myself another old axe head. Wondering what will be wrong with this one.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

User avatar
SteveHGraham
Posts: 6978
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

Post by SteveHGraham » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:12 pm

More interesting info: I asked for help sharpening axes. I was told to use files. I now have a Plumb single-bit head and the Collins double-bit I'm sending back. I tried a file on them, and it bounced off both. I guess filing only works on Chinesium.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

User avatar
BadDog
Posts: 4513
Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 8:21 pm
Location: Phoenix, AZ

Re: Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

Post by BadDog » Fri Sep 14, 2018 8:58 pm

Growing up in rural N AL, I've sharpened many quality axe and hatchet edges with a file. It should be drawn back enough that a good sharp file can cut it, though not easily as with low carbon or annealed steel. I guess it would be correct to say that the edge should be very "tough", not "hard".
Russ
Master Floor Sweeper

User avatar
SteveHGraham
Posts: 6978
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

Post by SteveHGraham » Fri Sep 14, 2018 9:29 pm

I can't file either of these axe heads. The file didn't even leave marks. I am planning to use a belt sander anyway, but it was interesting to find out the file didn't work.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

John Hasler
Posts: 868
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:05 pm
Location: Elmwood, Wisconsin

Re: Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

Post by John Hasler » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:55 am

Did you try the file on the body of the axe heads or just on the edge?

User avatar
SteveHGraham
Posts: 6978
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

Post by SteveHGraham » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:32 am

Only the edges.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

User avatar
steamin10
Posts: 6658
Joined: Sun Jun 08, 2003 11:52 pm
Location: NW Indiana. Close to Lake Michigan S. tip

Re: Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

Post by steamin10 » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:54 am

I have a file like stone that I wet the edge with. The boyscout handbook I have says to lay the head againsta stake, and push the file into the edge. I never had any luck as the heads I have are too tough/hard for that to work. We have grandpas sharpening wheel that is about 24 inches in diameter with a three inch face. It makes short work of any grinding job. A good belt sander would work OK i would think. I like a keen edge on my axes so they bite hard. Most I have seen have too thick blades right behind the edge. Especially old heads that have been around get thick there to the detriment of the depth of cut. Old single bit axes that are thick are prefered to do splitting, not felling, or limbing. It just works better that way.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

User avatar
SteveHGraham
Posts: 6978
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:55 pm
Location: Florida

Re: Best Type of Axe for Busting Rotten Stump?

Post by SteveHGraham » Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:35 pm

Why is it that life is never simple?

Today I hung my Ebay Plumb single-bitted axe head on a handle from the local hardware store. To do this, I had to get the wood out of the head. Simple, right? You drill a few holes through it and use the hydraulic press.

I drilled several 3/8" holes through the wood, and then I tried the hydrauling press. It's not easy getting an axe head to sit on a press in a way that gives one confidence, so I was not willing to drive it full blast. I drove it pretty hard, however, and it went nowhere, even with the wood split by a series of holes.

I got out a coping saw and used it to connect the drill holes so the wood would be weakened even more. The blade got stuck in the wood. I had to spend quite a while trying to get it out.

Finally, the wood gave way. About 80% of it fell out. The rest was stuck in the front corner. I figured it would pop right out with a punch. No, of course not. It was stuck to the steel. It took me another 15 minutes to get it out, and when it came out, it fell out with no explanation. One second, it was stuck in there like it had been welded. The next, it fell out on the workbench.

The people at the Plumb factory apparently glued the handle to the axe head. I think they painted the handle and somehow managed to hang the axe while the paint was wet. There was crap in there after the wood came out, so I had to sand it clean by hand. Naturally, the paint did not respond to solvents.

I thought I knew how to hang an axe. I watched some Youtubes to make sure. I learned that about 95% of axe-hanging Youtubes are bubba productions. People use wedges wrong. They force axes onto handles without shaping them. They don't seat the axes down as far as they should.

I finally found a couple of guys who seemed to know what they were doing. They used tools like rasps and spokeshaves to trim axe handles down to the right size. Apparently, you are not supposed to need a hammer to get an axe onto a handle. It should go on easily when you bang the handle on a piece of wood on a concrete floor. The guys who pound their axes onto handles, so shaved wood curls up under them, are doing it wrong.

When you're finished getting the axe where you want it, it should be down close to the little elbow thing on the back of the handle. It shouldn't be two inches above it, waiting to fly off and disappear into the woods.

When you get your axe head where it should be, and you're sure it's pointed in the right direction, you can either coat the wedge with glue and hammer it in, or, instead of glue, you can use a product called Swel-Lock which makes the end of the handle swell up.

I used a belt sander to trim the handle, and I tried fitting it in the axe over and over as I removed wood. Finally, it fit. The only thing left was the wedge, right? Of course not!

The axe handle I bought was covered with varnish, and varnish prevents an axe from sliding in your hand. I had to use lacquer thinner to take the varnish off. Then I sanded the handle and applied paste wax.

Everything is fine now, right? NO! I thought I considered everything, but I managed to forget something. The rings in an axe handle are supposed to run parallel to the axe head. Otherwise--supposedly--it's more likely to break. Guess when I remembered to check. After I did all the other work.

My axe handle's grain runs the wrong way. I don't know if it's going to be a problem or not, but I'm out $17, and I spent two or three hours doing the job incorrectly. I'll try to use the axe. Maybe the grain won't matter.

My conclusion: axes are stupid, and I should stick to chainsaws.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

Post Reply