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Antique Hatchet (Remade)

$540

A restored antique hatchet head with hand carved black walnut handle, finished with 100% natural urushi lacquer with string wrapped pommel. Comes with hand crafted copper riveted leather edge protector dyed with iron and vinegar.

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Product Description

Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade

Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade

Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade

The handle is fairly compact for the weight of the head, making this a good hatchet for strong users who want the weight behind the head but need to keep things in close quarters. The handle is thin enough to be comfortable for long use or smaller hands, and can also bear a para-cord wrap without becoming overly bulky.

The head is a hefty 1.3 lbs, 5.25″ long with a 3.5″ cutting edge and the handle is 14.5″ from end to end.

Process

Read about the full restoration process here: Case study: Antique Hatchet Restoration

Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
In its “as found” state, the overall geometry is still good but the heel is in rough shape and there is some irregularity and pitting at the edge that will need major work.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
Heel damage and internal corrosion is visible, as well as the forge welded eye. Depth of corrosion in the eye and on the nail is indication of just how long the head was exposed to the elements.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
Another look at the forge welded joint at the front of the eye. After filing smooth, all of the profile surfaces are finished by drawfiling to leave a smooth surface.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
A preview of the new shape, with all heel damage removed, blended in, and filed smooth.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
A “stone” textured hammer is used to work over all the bright surfaces and give them a pebbly texture more fitting to a tool of this age and experience. Care must be used not to hammer near the hardened strip along the cutting edge to prevent a crack or chip.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
Some of the loose rust carefully hand sanded off with fine grit and the profile of the edge reestablished by filing.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
Removing the pitted steel and beginning to set the new bevels on a #120 Japanese waterstone.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
After cleaning and soaking with a hot water and vinegar solution. Rust is chemically removed without damaging the steel texture and the surface is etched to a deep grey.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
The vinegar etch also highlights the original hamon or temper line at certain angles of light.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
Round one, with a hatchet to remove as much wood as possible without tearing out any of the final material. Splitting the blank to start aligns the grain with the direction of the handle.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
Round two, with a kanna (wood block plane) to thin and flatten the sides and outline the shape as much as possible.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
Round three, with a kiridashi (carving knife) and nomi (chisel) to fit the eye and add the final details to the shape. Fitting the eye before final shaping allows for adjustments to align the handle accurately with the head’s position.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
Round four with a fine rasp and then sandpaper to refine the surface and final details.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
Round five, applying several thin layers of fukiurushi and curing each layer for several days. Natural urushi (made from the sap of a specific tree) applied in this way does not form a thick layer on top of the surface but becomes part of the surface, allowing the wood texture and grain to come through while imparting a lovely warmth and glow.
Island Blacksmith: Antique Hatchet Remade
Round six, once the urushi has fully cured, the head is installed permanently and wedged in place. Soaking the (unfinished) top of the eye in 100% pure natural tung oil swells the grain and cures inside the wood cells to lock things in place. A hemp string wrap sealed with urushi adds a visual and functional detail to the end of the haft.

Read about the restoration process here: Case study: Antique Hatchet Restoration