Andrei showed us some skilled hatchet carving in the previous post, and in that post I also mumbled something about my own hatchet.
It is all David Fisher‘s fault. I’ve acquired a few “green woodworking” tools and am trying to learn how to use them. David’s bowls are spectacular, and it is this one that led me down the path. Of course, there was an initial obstacle. “The Great Adze Shortage of ’15” seems to be lingering. Inventory from the well known adze makers is still non-existent anywhere. Did they all go out of business, or is demand so high that traditional retailers simply can’t keep them in stock? Dunno. I found an answer (more on that shortly), and while waiting for the adze to arrive I turned my attention to refurbishing an old hatchet.
My “Boy Scout” hatchet*
It is a very simple, utilitarian tool. I don’t remember when or where I acquired it. I do remember replacing a cracked handle some years ago. After learning a wee bit about bowl carving work with hatchet, adze and drawknife, I realized the grind on this old hatchet was completely wrong. The grind was as it came from some store long ago, a blunt grind that is extremely sturdy and entirely appropriate for rough bushwhacking, definitely NOT for carving.
Job #1 then became regrinding the hatchet for carving. Using the “scary sharp” sandpaper method, I took it from the blunt near-40° to something closer to 30°. The result is much much much better. More bite, fewer glancing blows. It’s still not the perfect flat grind that I want, but I’ll get it there.
Job #2, and not absolutely necessary, …but since I was still waiting for an adze to arrive… was a cover/sheath for the hatchet. Of course, it is wood, and of course it has some carving involved. Inspired yet again by David Fisher, the result was fun to make.
*So… Is it “hatchet” or “axe?” Some answers to that question say that usage distinguishes the term. Use one handed: it’s a hatchet. Use two-handed: it’s an axe. I use this tool one-handed.
An adze and drawknife
I found my answer to the great adze shortage on Etsy. Search Etsy for adze and you’ll find several blacksmiths making adze’s, axes, drawknives and other green woodworking tools. After some additional research, I settled on making an order to Sergey Ivin from KharkivForge. Yes, it took a good while, but Sergey states on his Etsy store page an estimated fulfillment time. Add about 10 days for transit from Ukraine to the US.
Both tools arrived ready to use, sharpened to a level that easily passes the arm-hair shaving test. Each also arrived with very nicely made leather blade sheaths and the adze included a leather carry strap in case you want to take it along wherever you wander.
Clearly, I have no prior experience with these sorts of tools and don’t yet know what distinguishes one from another in terms of the best steel, the best handle material, the best working geometry, etc. Yet, after a few hours of using them, I find both tools very effective at doing what is expected, and very comfortable in handling. Sergey at KharkivForge delivered good tools and I’ll certainly consider him when I want more.
Now, to make something with them…