Introduction: Hatchet Restoration

About: I'm a self taught troublemaking woodworker that loves scroll sawing and making other random stuff and love to get dirty while doing it. I also mess in metalworking and love making sparks fly.

Ahh... The hatchet, a useful tool and ancient weapon. Where would we be with out it? Well, the book Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen wouldn't exist. It is such a small and handy tool to have. So today I made an indestructible about restoring an old hatchet.

Step 1: Acquire a Old Hatchet

I was at a hope gospel/goodwill like store and i ran across this old hatchet. It was 5 bucks and i thought what could go wrong? (quite a lot actually) It is pretty pitted with rust so i probably won't be able to sand the pits out. I started with a flap wheel in a drill, but switched to a flap wheel in an angle grinder for faster rust removal.


-filings and sawdust can get in your lungs and it never comes back out. Plus if you get something in your eye you risk going blind!

Step 2: Remove the Handle

The handle that was on it was an old rubber handle that left your hands black after you touched it. I ended up using a knife to remove the rubber. It was just like whittling. :)

Step 3: Making the New Handle

I had a scrap piece of maple (that otherwise would have been burned) to use as the handles. I started by ripping it down to 2 inches wide on my small band saw. I then took the hatchet and removed the bark as best I could. On the flat side, trace the profile of what is left of the handle. I did this twice, once for each side.

Using a rotary tool with a routing stand and HSS burr bit i went to work taking shallow passes and building up to a depth of about 3/16 of an inch. I am honestly surprised my rotary tool still runs after this, as it was quite warm when I was done:) You could use a normal router for this but you can get more exact with a smaller bit-plus I don't have a router.

Step 4: Glue It All Together

You probably notice that I have a "cap" on top of the handle. This was to cover the gap left on top. I later removed this as I ran out of epoxy (great planing) and the top of the handle wasn't flat where the halves meet.

Alright, I didn't show this part cause i didn't want epoxy on my camera:)

Overall its pretty straight forward, you mix the epoxy and spread it on all surfaces that are being stuck together.

TIP-put tape over your clamps in case you get epoxy on them you can still pull it off.

Step 5: Shape the Handle

Your almost to the end!

OK, to shape the handle i basically drew the rough outline of what i wanted it to look like. Then using a flap sander wheel thing and belt sander i shaped it to that profile. In the end it was what i really pictured, but it fit in my hand and was comfortable.

Step 6: Sharpen

To sharpen the blade you hold it at about a 30 degree angle and make a few passes on both sides. You could also use a file, angle grinder, of bench grinder too.

Step 7: Finished

I needed to fix the handle because I sanded through to the channel in one spot. I used a Zar brand wood filler that dries hard, and is sandable and stainable. I left it a little proud of the wood and then sanded the excess off.

I am waiting until summer to stain the handle because its cold out and it wouldn't dry properly.

I left the pits of rust in it because i want it to be a working hatchet-not just for show.

Things i may change.

I might add brass pins to the handle if it becomes loose. i am avoiding doing this because it has a weird finish on the tang that is really hard.

I think it would be cool if the handle was rapped in leather for grip and to cover up the gap on the top of the handle. I would have done this but I am not sure where to go to get leather-menards or my local sewing shop didn't have any. So... maybe in the future sometime:)

I also want to make a new leather belt sheath for it for when I go camping so I can carry it on my belt. -maybe a future ible?

Step 8:

Feel free to ask any questions you have. This is also and entry in the trash to treasure challenge so please vote if you think its worthy:)

Trash to Treasure

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure