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Re: [medievalsawdust] Axe handles

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  • Gary Halstead
    I m not aware of any survivals, but ash has been a pretty common choice since it s fairly tough and absorbs shock well. Other woods that could be used for
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 11, 2003
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      I'm not aware of any survivals, but ash has been a pretty common choice
      since it's fairly tough and absorbs shock well. Other woods that could
      be used for tool handles include: oak, service tree, whitebeam, yew, and
      hazel. To a large extent it's going to depend on what's available.

      Ranulf

      sdhunter3 wrote:
      > Anyone have an idea of which type of wood would have been prefered
      > for an axe (maul, hammer, etc.) in 12th-15th C. western Europe?
      >
      > Thanks,
      > Stanford
    • C N Schwartz
      Agreed. Fortunately, our hobby is known for it s conservatism, so it can reliably assumed that something used 200 years ago would also have been used 500
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 11, 2003
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        Agreed. Fortunately, our hobby is known for it's conservatism, so it can
        reliably assumed that something used 200 years ago would also have been used
        500 years ago, 1000 years ago. At least on the basic things. And wood
        properties for tool handles is something that doesn't change much.

        After Columbus and the settling of North America a radical new wood variety
        was found. Hickory. Very similar to ash but maybe a bit more flexible.
        Hickory would have been used in Europe except that it is not a very cold
        tolerant wood. At least in comparison to oak or ash. The ice age pushed
        the hickories up to the alps where it could go no farther and died out in
        Europe.

        Axe, adz and hammer handles: Ash and oak, chestnut, even elm. Generally
        diffuse porous woods for the strength and flexibility

        Chisels and slicks: boxwood, elm, hop hornbeam, fruitwoods.

        planes: beech birch boxwood (if you can find a big piece of boxwood)

        Anvil stump: definitely elm. You know why elm? What else are you gonna
        use elm for? You aren't gonna split a big log into firewood or rive it for
        boards. If you can split elm with a wedge and splitting maul I want to see
        you demonstrate that at Pennsic. If you have no elm to demo I will settle
        for sweet gum. ;-) Elm does have some application for water pipes and
        waterwheels (because of rot resistance when kept wet). And turned wheel
        hubs for wagon wheels, also because of the interlocking split resisting
        grain.

        Sorry I have no definite source/bibliography. But I know the reluctance to
        split elm has from personal experience.







        -----Original Message-----
        From: Gary Halstead [mailto:ghalstead@...]

        I'm not aware of any survivals, but ash has been a pretty common choice
        since it's fairly tough and absorbs shock well. Other woods that could
        be used for tool handles include: oak, service tree, whitebeam, yew, and
        hazel. To a large extent it's going to depend on what's available.

        Ranulf

        sdhunter3 wrote:
        > Anyone have an idea of which type of wood would have been prefered
        > for an axe (maul, hammer, etc.) in 12th-15th C. western Europe?
        >
        > Thanks,
        > Stanford
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