Thursday, July 5, 2012

Vintage Axe Restoration Project- Kelly "True Temper" Axe

Recently, a local horse wrangler asked me to restore an old Kelly True Temper Axe that had been in his family for several generations.

The bit had seen better days, and it had obviously been ground down several times on the toe end. The wood inside the eye was also chewed up. He asked me to hang a new 36" handle on it, clean up the head, and profile and sharpen the bit.

It ended up being a fun project, and true to the "True Temper" name, the bit ended up taking an incredibly fine edge, one that easily dry-shaved arm hairs after the edge work was complete.

(click to enlarge)

AFTER PICS: When I hung the new handle, I decided to follow US Forest Service specs and use a wooden wedge only. I also used "Swel Lock" for the first time, thanks to Joe Flowers who was nice enough to send me some to try out. I also left some of the wood protruding ala' Gransfors' style.

I might also try Swel Lock to tighten loose heads on a couple of my existing Council axes. If it works I'll make sure to post the results.

(click to enlarge)

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ (without spaces)