Axe Handle Replacement

 

Note:  I typically rehandle the “house” axes at Rome Axe Throwing. The handles I replace are purely functional and not intended to be high end pieces of art. There are numerous ways to replace a handle. These methods are typically how I have done it and what works for me. As always, ensure the method you chose to use is safe and ends with a tight mount of the axe head on the handle.   


      No matter your skill level, if you throw axes long enough eventually the handle of your axe will need to be replaced. There are numerous businesses that you can find replacement handles for most any axe head. When looking for a new handle, always start by going to the manufacturer of your axe. Most times they will have replacement handles available, but you may need to reach out to them directly as they are not always listed on their online stores.   

     When looking for a new handle outside of the manufacturer of the axe head, there are a few key dimensions you will need to have from the axe head. First you will need to know the overall handle length you want; you can always buy a longer handle and cut it down to size later. The next key dimension is the size of the eye (opening in the axe head for the handle).  

Step 1   Remove the Handle from the Head

Start by cutting the handle off below the head. 



      Option 1: Secure the axe head in a vice or in another manner and drill multiple holes through the eye of the axe head into the handle. Once you have removed enough material, knock the remaining handle parts from the axe head.  





      Option 2: If you need to remove handles from axe heads on a regular basis, a slightly modified hydraulic press is ideal. (This version is from Harbor Freight and has worked great for 1.5 years) Place the axe head in the press and allow the hydraulic press to push the handle out of the axe head.  


Step 2 Insert and set the new Handle 

       If using a handle purchased from the manufacturer of the axe head, little to no shaping of the handle is typically required. If you are fitting a handle from a different supplier/manufacturer you may need to remove a bit of material to create a good fit. This part of the process is a bit tedious, but the best thing to so is to take a little bit of the material off, test fit, and remove more material, test fit and repeat until a tight fit is achieved and the top of the handle is protruding just a bit from the top of the axe head.  




      Option 1: 

Use a draw knife or any tool that can remove small amounts of material at a time such as a hand plane or rasp/file. (A draw knife can be bought relatively cheaply online)  


      Option 2 : 

Use a power sander, preferably a belt sander. Be careful with a belt sander as this tool can quickly remove too much material.  

 

Step 3:  Insert Wooden Wedge

      Pour glue or an epoxy, like Gorilla Glue, into the cut of the axe handle top. Next put the wooden wedge that should come with your handle into the slit in the wood. Hammer the wedge as far into the handle slit as possible. This will push the handle sides out and create a strong friction fit inside of the axe head. Once the wedge is in place allow the glue to set up completely.   







Step 4: Insert Steel Wedge

If the wooden wedge is protruding more than ½" from the top of the axe head, put the axe into a vice and cut off the excess. There should be a Small Steel wedge that came with the handle as well. At this point you will drive the steel wedge into the wood perpendicular to the wooden wedge set in place in the previous step. Drive this wedge until it is flush with wood of the handle.  





Finally check that the head is sufficiently tight and there is no wiggle or movement of the head on the axe. Pushing and pulling by hand and throwing the axe a few times should be testing to know if the fit is tight enough to last for another couple thousand throws. 









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