From the Saw Shop, questions and answers: axe head mushrooming, axe handle length.

Vern Burke, SwiftWater Edge Tool Works

Skowhegan, ME

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works restored antique tools

You’ve got questions, I’ve got answers!

1. (question about axe head mushrooming)

Mushrooming occurs when the poll (back) of a poll axe is used to pound hard steel objects, such as splitting wedges. Since the core steel of a poll axe is relatively soft, the poll deforms, leaving steel pushed out and hanging over the sides of the head.

If the mushrooming is solid (not cracked) and isn’t fragile enough to come loose, it’s best to leave it alone. It isn’t very pretty but it’s part of the honest history of the axe and grinding steel off the poll is highly likely to unbalance the axe head.

Mushrooming that is cracked and hanging way off the edge is in danger of coming loose and causing a safety issue and should be removed. The problem is that most axe heads when they reach this point have related issues that make them unsafe to use even with the mushrooming cleaned up. These issues include distorted eyes from the same pounding that caused the mushrooming and chips from the polls. Best to can any axe head in that condition, it’s not worth the risk.

2. (question, is a 19″ handle too short for a 2 3/4lb axe head)

Yup, most certainly. Axes 2 1/2lbs and up need at least a 28″ handle to balance properly.

Visit me at any of the following locations:

B&G Treasures, 11 Depot St, Norridgewock, ME (Mondays)

Tractor Supply, Skowhegan, ME (Tuesday)

Somerset Woods turnout, Canaan Rd (Rt 2), Skowhegan,ME (Wednesday)

Arundel Flea Market, Rt 1 & Log Cabin Rd, Arundel, ME (Saturday)

Fryeburg Flea Market (Fryeburg Fairgrounds), Fryeburg, ME
(Sundays, Memorial Day thru end of September)

298 W Front St, Skowhegan, ME (all other days)

If you’re looking for a special tool, please drop me an
email and let me know and I’ll restore one just for you!

SwiftWater Edge Tool Works provides mobile sharpening services across Maine and mail in services around the world for handsaws, carbide blades, planer knives, hand planes, chain saws, knives, scissors, hair clippers, router bits, and almost any blade!


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