My sister and brother-in-law have been asking me for a while to make a sheath for their axe. The family was getting together yesterday for dinner to celebrate my sister’s birthday so I told my brother-in-law to bring over his axe so I could take a look at it.
The axe in question is a 3 1/2 pound hardware store model with a 36 inch handle. One look and I could tell that the butt had been abused (apparently by striking it with a hammer). However, the eye was not distorted so it was not a total loss. I gave my siblings a few wood chopping hints so they can avoid damaging the head when trying to get through the large, knotted logs we tend to get in local campgrounds. The grain in the handle is far from ideal, running perpendicular to the orientation of the bit. Well, we can fit a new handle some other time.
I happened to be at Tandy Leather Factory yesterday morning and acquired a few new leather crafting tools and supplies. I decided to use my new 3D deer head stamp and oxblood-coloured dye on this sheath. A light gel antique coat over the dye really brings out the grain of the leather and the detail of the stamp.
While the sheath was drying, I took some time to clean up the axe. I peeled the ugly manufacturer’s sticker* off the handle, cleaned off the sticky residue, filed off the mushrooming edges of the butt, and sharpened the bit. Normally, when doing a full restoration, I like to strip all the paint off the head and sand down the handle, replacing any lacquer finish with linseed oil and beeswax. However, I know my siblings will appreciate something a little lower maintenance, so in this case I opted to simply re-paint the head matte black.
All-in-all the axe looks a lot better now than when it came into my shop. I hope my sister and brother-in-law are pleased with it when they see it.
My wife thought the sheath looked pretty good, but she did ask a funny question when I showed it to her, “Is’t that the axe that Marcus cut his finger with and then had to go to the hospital to get a bunch of stitches?” Yes, indeed.
* I was just ranting to my wife the other day about one of my pet peeves: stickers on products. To me, the worst thing a maker of things can do after spending precious resources designing and manufacturing a product is slap a nigh unremovable sticker on the thing before shipping to the consumer. At best, stickers slapped on the finished product are an annoyance to your customer, and what company would purposefully want to annoy its customers? At worst, a crappy sticker symbolizes the lack of pride the maker has in the product they produce and a total lack of respect for me as a consumer and human being. Even if I’m buying a plastic tub from Ikea, I want to think that the people who made it had the goal of creating the best damn tub in the world. If they slap a sticker on it, and I have to scrub, and scratch the surface to get the sticker off, then I think the manufacturer doesn’t care about the product or the fact that I have to live with it everyday.