When repair is more than just a repair

A member of our community brought, along with a number of old yard tools, her father's carpenter's hatchet to us at the farmer's market a few weeks back.  She has had it for years and loves the feel of it but in recent years the head has come loose and the neck eventually cracked.  Her husband tried to tape it together, but to no avail.  So she brought it to us, hoping we'd have a solution, which indeed we had!  Instead of throwing it away and buying a new one, we told her we could remove the rust, put a new edge on and replace the handle.  She was thrilled, so we set to work bringing this tool back to life.

 Rusty, dull, chipped edge and a broken handle.  It was a sad sight.

Rusty, dull, chipped edge and a broken handle.  It was a sad sight.

First, we set about getting a new handle.  We sand it smooth, and trim down the neck so that it fits inside the head at the cheek; snug, but not too tight.

 We like American hickory for it's feel and toughness.

We like American hickory for it's feel and toughness.

Next, we clean up the head, but a fresh edge on and shine up the hammer poll.  Then we mount the head on the handle, and drive in a wooden wedge, which expands the neck to fit the head.

 A dab of wood glue on the wedge helps keep it in place while it cures inside the neck once in place.  

A dab of wood glue on the wedge helps keep it in place while it cures inside the neck once in place.  

The final step is to sand the excess neck down flush with the head, drive in a metal wedge to help keep every thing in place, then put a fresh coat of 100% pure tung oil on the handle.

 Works like new, but keeps it's wonderful patina

Works like new, but keeps it's wonderful patina

 Edge clean, sharp and polished.  All nicks and scratches removed for a nice, clean cut.

Edge clean, sharp and polished.  All nicks and scratches removed for a nice, clean cut.

 Cleaned up the hammer poll as well.  I like how it looks.

Cleaned up the hammer poll as well.  I like how it looks.

In the end, we were able to save save this much loved tool, so it can be used for another perhaps another generation.