Monthly Archives: March 2009

Restoring a broad axe

A couple years ago I bought a battered broad axe on Ebay. The front end of the blade had broken off and the rest of it was rusty and pitted. The handle had many small cracks, suggesting too much exposure to extremes of temperature and humidity. However, the price was right: About $50, compared to a new retail model like this.

I used a grinder to reshape the broken front of the blade, and bathed it in vinegar to loosen the rust. A wire brush in an electric drill then finished the rust removal. Not much can be done about the pitting, but the edge was clean enough that I could sharpen it.

I filled the cracks in the handle with a structural wood filler and let that dry. Afterwards I sanded it and applied several coats of boiled linseed oil.

The axe still needs some work, but it is now presentable:

There is a larger image here.

Sometime this summer I hope to try it out.

Simple tool mod

A couple years ago I bought a Kuri-Kuri Mini Drill from Highland Woodworking. It is a nice little tool (particularly because it uses standard hex-head bits), but I thought that as a “miniature bit brace” it needed some improvement. So I added a freely rotating grip and came up with


This was a little harder than it looks. The wooden grip started with a cut down spare file handle. I had to drill a 1/4″ hole straight through the center (I do not have a drill press). I then took a rip saw and cut it in two longitudinally, then put it back together around the shaft of the original drill. I did not trust glue to hold under the strains this will go through, so I screwed the two pieces together. Even with countersinking the edges of the screws stuck out too far, so I had to grind them down. After that some sanding smoothed it out. At first the grip did not turn smoothly—perhaps I should have used a 17/64″ bit (if I had one)—but some WD-40 fixed that. Then one heavy coat of boiled linseed oil as an initial finish. After that I can count on the natural oils from my hand.