Taking a brief holiday the week before last, we went camping to a site that allowed fires and was surrounded by woods. Taking timber from them for burning was frowned upon and firewood was available from reception. This was some softwood that had clearly been dead-standing. It should have burned well, but was somewhat damp and so didn’t. Not only that, it came in overly large chunks which didn’t help.
I broke these down using a Fiskars X5 axe that I took with me. This took quite some doing as the hatchet has a very short handle. Fine for chopping small pieces of wood, it was not suited for splitting bigger lumps. The wood was soft enough and it would have been easier if the handle was at least twice as long. It did occur to me that it would be simple enough to fashion an extension from a piece of ash or something.
But then it would be simpler still to get an axe with a longer handle. I already have a couple at home, but because they are valued family pieces that have been passed down, I don’t want to take them out “in the field”. This set me wondering about the small axe I bought earlier in the year.
When I blogged about it I wondered what the hole in the blade was for. I have since decided that it is something for dealing with wire, or nails. I also speculated on the handle and a longer replacement.
Maybe with a new shaft that should be my camping axe?
Whilst we were away the kids all took to whittling, creating (in their eyes) all manner of objects (walking sticks, swords, wands, etc.) by simply removing the bark from a variety of sticks. Because of a lack of experience with blades the tools they were allowed to use for this were an old, blunt kitchen knife and a couple of Pound shop potato peelers. Of course the sticks immediately became precious items and were brought home.
On our return Little Boots asked if it would be allowable to continue whittling with a birthday present from two years ago (LINK). This was agreed with the proviso of only under close adult supervision.
Not that close though, because in a few short minutes that I was otherwise occupied, the saw blade was opened and used to cut the end off one of the sticks. It was safely and efficiently done, so I could not be mad, even though a small amount of censure for acting without permission was called for.
After a bit more whittling and sawing the project seemed to have been abandoned as Little Boots disappeared off up the garden. However this was simply a sourcing exercise for an axe blade which, with a little help from my drill was soon set in place.
I’m not sure you could chop much with it, but as an independent piece of tool-making I couldn’t help being impressed.