Refurbishing a Hatchet

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Introduction: Refurbishing a Hatchet

Hi, this instructable will show you how to refurbish an old camp axe or hatchet like the one I found while working at an urban farm in Cleveland, Ohio. The hatchet belonged to my friends grandfather, Hal Johnson. Hal did a lot of work with this hatchet and his granddaughter, Dawn Johnson, couldn't bring herself to throw it out so I thought I would give it a second life. Now it is a tool that my friend loves to show off at her outdoor events at the Johnson Family Farm.

First I had to remove the old torn leather rings from the handle because so many rings were missing I decided to cut the rest off with a sharp utility knife.

Step 1: Refurbishing a Hatchet

After I cut off the leather rings I found spider eggs and rust had settled in on the handle so I used steel wool for the first cleaning and 220 grit sandpaper. I wanted to start gently because I didn't want to destroy any markings that I might find that Mr. Johnson might have left on his hatchet. Using gloves are extremely important because steel wool can cut unprotected hands.

Step 2: Refurbishing a Hatchet

Soaking the hatchet in a rust removing agent saved me a lot of energy and time. I choice of rust removers was vinegar. I let the metal hatchet soak for about two hours in a bucket of vinegar for then wiped off a lot of the rust with a clean rag. I also started using an electric hand sander with 80 grit sandpaper.this is my result.

Step 3: Refurbishing a Hatchet

Once I removed the rust I still wasn't satisfied because I felt the hatchet needed a protective coating to help delay the return of rust. So I sprayed it with a combination paint and primer. I used three coats of rustoleum to give it a nice smooth look.

Step 4: Refurbishing a Hatchet

After letting the hatchet sit in a warm place for two days i started wrapping the handle in paracord. I admit I should have used a darker color paracord but I used what I had. To help make a nice tight grip I used a strong cement to help hold the cord in place as I tightened it while wrapping. The end result was worth the effort.

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    20 Comments

    Meanie1500 I bet the wire wheel was quicker than my sander. I thought about putting a leather wrap on the handle and baking the finish on the tool at about 200 degrees, but I lost my patience. I like your wrapping technique. I considered using the whipping technique but the adhesive I used was too strong.

    I looked at that hatchet about a month ago, the paracord is still intact even though it was tortured on the farm.

    Thetutor11 where did u get your knife

    I know this is a ridiculously late reply I do apologize for the tardiness. I think I got the knife from Home Depot.

    I restored my step dad's old work(truck driver) hatchet that had so much dirt & rust it was almost black. Was able to get it shine with a vinegar soak, metal scour pad (fine) & very little elbow grease. No sandpaper needed or any other abrasive metal removing labor.

    Abeimers I bought that knife at Home Depot on clearance sale

    Thank you pudtiny ! Paracord is extremely durable, true paracord is designed to tolerate 550lbs of stress before breaking although one source tested his paracord and it took a thousand pounds of pressure. There are a lot of imitations out there because it is fashionable now so read up on what you are buying.

    Nice work, how durable is paracord ? Does it come in different qualities?

    Hmmmm @fresnoparacord I will try the beeswax on another project, Thanks!