These days’ people have a choice to buy modern axes with unbreakable fiberglass or steel handles. People also have a great desire to buy old traditional axes with wooden handles and why not? These traditional axes with classic handles made mostly of American hickory have their own charm but they certainly need maintenance. You need to know which is the Best oil for axe handle and head to maintain your favorite ax.
Why do we need to maintain an axe?
Newly bought wooden axes come with a protective finish that is provided with linseed oil and beeswax. This finish is very important to keep the wooden handles away from,
• Getting dull
Extreme weather conditions certainly have some severe impact on the wood and get it cracked or shrink. Once the crack starting to appear in the wood then it’s certain that handle can break any moment while working.
Wooden handles and the axe head need to be oiled at least once in a year and you need to have the best oil to do the job.
Best oil for Axe Handle and Head
There are plenty of drying oils available in the market like
• Linseed oil
Although you can use any one of them but the best one we recommend is the linseed oil which is widely used by most woodsmen. Boiled linseed oil has some great advantages which we have discussed, so better read the full article.
Linseed oil has 2 types
• Boiled linseed oil
• Raw linseed oil
Linseed oil is not only easily available in the market but it’s quite cheap as well. Before we discuss the Linseed oil I would like to write something about additives.
Adding additives to the oil to get different finishes
Remember different additives are added to the oil to give a different finish to the wood. Additives include
• Pine tar
Pine tar is added to the oil to give dark color and protection from mildew
It gives penetration power to the oil to get soaked by the wood easily
Help to fill the pores of the wood and give extra shine
Boiled vs raw linseed oil
Raw linseed oil
It’s thick as compared to boiled oil so you may only require a single coat of oil. Wood absorbs the oil slowly and gets saturated with a single coat.
Raw oil doesn’t have preservatives therefore don’t provide mildew protection.
- Ability to dry quickly
- Easily removes scratches from the wood
- Affordable and easily available
- Deep penetration in the wood
- Provides resistance from water and Uv sunlight
- When applying boiled linseed oil you need to apply several coats so that wood gets completely saturated with the oil.
- A bit more work is required as compared to using raw linseed oil.
Methods or technique used to apply Oil on the axe handles
There are two way you can finish handle wood
This is a very simple method to get your ax wood saturated with oil. Just put the ax handle in the oil and let it submerged for at least 7 days. You will notice that after a weak the wood no longer able to absorb oil, and at that point take the handle out and let it dry.
This method works best with unsanded or open-pore wood. Open-pore wood is soaked in the oil for 12 hours and then let it dry for a weak to get best result.
This method surely get the deep penetration
It’s about putting oil to the brush and then applying coating on the handle wood. You can apply both thick and thin coating while brushing.
You just apply thin layers of oil repeatedly one after the other until the wood gets saturated and doesn’t absorb oil anymore. You may have to apply many coats in this process but the benefits are that, wood gets dry quickly.
This method allows the oil to get exposed to oxygen better which helps the polymerizing process. The chemical reactions help to tighten the molecules to give wood more power and strength.
This method works best with slightly damaged wood, and it’s a slow process you have to be patient.
This method is very useful for more damaged wood where you apply thick oil coating and wait for the wood to get dry. Wood gets saturated with a single coat so you don’t need to put much work.
If the wood is sanded you can apply thick oil coating with the hand and let it dry and repeat the process until it gets saturated. Sanding the wood gives more shine and finish.
We would like to share the combo to three-component that will give you some extraordinary results.8 part of boiled linseed oil 1 part Turpentine and one part of Pine Tar will give you excellent combination. This combination really works, boiled linseed oil gives great penetration and strength to the wood with great smell added by pine tar.
Best oil for the axe head-how to maintain head?
In order to maintain the head of an axe you make sure to keep the metal of the head safe from moisture. Mostly with quality axes head is made of steel and it can get rusty.
You can use linseed oil for that purpose or gun oil which dry quickly.
Steps to clean head
1. Take off the mask first
2. If the metal is already rusty, oil the metal and remove the rust first by any wire wool
3. Apply the oil on the affected area and again remove the rust and keep on going until you apply it to the whole area of the head.
4. Let the oil dry
5. Clean the head to finish
How to maintain a head mask?
Quality axes with some famous brands do provide masks to protect us from the sharp edges. Head masks are normally made of leather. Leather of the mask can be treated by applying any waterproofing wax like Nikwax on Amazon. Apply a small amount of wax and rub the mask with some soft cloth to give it a new shine and look.
You need to make sure the mask doesn’t get loose or stretch that why better not to apply any oil on it.
we recommend Best oil for axe Handle and Head is boiled linseed oil to protect and give a great finish. You can add some additives like pine tar to that for some extra results. Boiled linseed oil is also cheap and easily available in the market and recommended by many experienced woodsmen.
What is the best time to oil handles?
The best time to oil the wooden axe handles is when the sun is shining brightly so that oil gets dry quickly and gives more penetration. During winter you can use stoves to provide heat but the best is to expose the wood in bright sunlight.
What precaution should I take while finishing axe handles?
The rag gets oily when used to remove the extra oil from the handle. You should be aware of the fact that oil emit heat and when exposed to oxygen it can combust spontaneously.
Why boiled linseed oil is preferred over Tung oil?
Although Tung oil gives some extra protection from water but it comes 3 times more expensive than the linseed oil. Overall the result with both is the same so the point is why we need to spend more on buying Tung oil, better to stick with linseed oil.