I picked this one up a few years ago. It’s a small double bit, marked “Lakeside”. My uncle told me that was the name brand for axes released by Montgomery Ward. In my experience, old hardware store brand axes are worth holding onto, pre…..oh, let’s say 1990, give or take.
The thing that intrigued me about this one is the fact that it is a small double bit. You can find them, but they certainly aren’t as common as single bits. I would say that this is camp axe size with a 28″ handle. The head weighs 2 1/2 pounds, though the head is marked with a 2.
I kept this in my tool box on the back of my truck and hadn’t done anything to it, other than put it in there. It was my just in case axe. I’m not a fan of double bits; I like poll weight on my axes, but I thought this one was worth keeping around.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it, purpose-wise. I hit a coyote with my truck on the way to work the other day and he was on the side of the road, not quite dead. I went for this axe, but had already taken it out of the tool box. Being that I only had my hatchet, Mr. Coyote got a painful reprieve.
So, this is the project. I’m going to attempt to save the handle, mostly because small double bit handles aren’t that easy to find, and the ones that I have found have had grain issues.
I started by loosening the head off of the haft. I did some wiggling and tapping with a hammer, though lightly. I soaked it in a white vinegar bath. If you haven’t heard about this method for rust removal, it works really well. You’ve got your warning, though – wear gloves. Below is the head soaking in vinegar. 12 to 24 hours is sufficient for most projects.
I donned my wife’s pink gloves and started in with 00 steel wool. Notice the differences in color? Those are temper lines. I *think* the darker areas contain more carbon.
When you finish with the scrubbing, you should have a nice grayish blue color. Notice the bottle of WD-40 beside the head? After the vinegar bath and scrubbing, it’s important to get some kind of lubricant on the head immediately. Vinegar does a great job eating rust, but left to its own devices, it will flash rust the head. I’ve used anything from olive oil to motor oil. Just something to inhibit the rust from developing.
The haft isn’t in great shape, as I’ve already mentioned. There were no obvious splinters and the wood is good wood, so I decided to sand it down.
I started with a really aggressive grit and moved smoother in succession. It doesn’t look great, but the handle is smooth.
I threw it in the vice and lit into it with the file. It is pretty decent metal and a worthy tool.
Hopefully we’ll find a few more coyotes to knock out with this one.
Mike Oscar Hotel…..out.