“Contact Me” Form – Finally Working

I just want to apologize for not responding to all those who have sent me a message via my contact form under the “Contact Me” page.

Last summer I had problems with my email for my blog and subsequently the contact form. This has kept me from getting any of the messages sent to me. I have worked hard to get access to it over the past year without any success. Finally tonight I was able to get ATT to reset my password.

There are several hundred emails via my contact form that I literally just got tonight since July of 2015. I am going to work this week to write people back. My responses will be fairly short as there are so many emails to address, but I just wanted people to know I have not been ignoring you.

Thanks and sorry once again.



Watercolor Maple Leaf

As usual my busy life has cut into this blog. With building the house I have not had much time for any of my hobbies. 

That past week while visting my wife’s parents, I started playing around with watercolor painting. This is something I have wanted to try for a while. My father in law, Phillip, who is a fantastic watercolorist and acrylic painter, gave me a little lesson in watercolor painting. 

Phillip gave me some nice brushes and paints as well as this paper and some 140lb paper I am waiting to try out after I get a little experience under my belt. This will get me going and I am thankful for the help in getting started. 

I had a good time with him and I am inspired to start playing around with watercolors in the evening after the kids are in bed and we are not working on homestead and house projects. 

This little maple leaf is just my third watercolor and I think it is good enough to share. It is on a lightweight 90 lb paper so it buckled a little more then a heavier 140 lb or 300 lb watercolor paper, but still worked out well.  

Thanks Phil!

Making A Puukko Without Power Tools by Ilkka Seikku


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I found this cool article about making a traditional puukko (knife) and thought others might find it interesting like I did. This article is a reblog of a reblog, as it appears that the original article is no longer available.


nordiska knivar

Here is a very interesting piece by Ilkka Seikku about making a puukko without any power tools.  I hope he’ll favor us with a sequel on the leather work aspects of this project. Thank you Ilkka!

Ilkka’s website: http://tuluskivi.suntuubi.com/

and blog: http://rautasarvi.blogspot.fi/2013/11/blog-post.html

“First I forge the blade. I use my foot powered forge and hammer it from silversteel. It’s necessary to hammer the blade straight to its shape and even the bevels need to be almost ready after forging. It´s very hard to file the blade if during forging the hammering hasn’t been so good.

I forge this blade to be something like 90 mm long and 22 mm wide. It has rhombic section and the thickest point is about 5 mm. It´s quite regular and traditional size. If you’re lucky enough to have seen some old Finnish maasepänpuukkos, you may have seen they have hammer marks on the bevel…

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Ochsenkopf ( Ox Head ) Broad Hatchet


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Ochsenkopf Broad Hatchet ( Ox Head )
Bit Profile: Single Bevel Right Side
Weight: 35.2 oz. ( 998 grams)
Blade length: 5.5″ (139.7 mm)
Length: 15.75″ (400 mm)
Price: $100 USD (2013)

After Extensive Modifications

After Extensive Modifications

Back in 2013, after years of making do without a hewing axe, I decided to try this model from Ox Head. There are basically two options on the market, the inexpensive Kent pattern, or the European styles such as those offered by Gransfors Bruk, Biber, and a few others that are very high-priced.

After a little search today, it looks like the right hand version of this axe may no longer be sold in the US. You might be able to special order it or get it from Europe.

The build quality of this axe is pretty nice. The fit and finish is as good as any other high-end axe on the market. The head itself is well finished and the surfaces are all smooth. The handle is attached with one longitudinal wooden wedge and two round steel wedges.

Fit & Finish

Fit & Finish

The head is mounted straight but the handle is offset as you would expect from a hewing axe. It is not as dramatic as some of the old ones around, but sufficient for keeping your hand out of the way of the the wood you are hewing. This is something Gransfors has not done on one of their broad axes I have seen.

Handle Offset

Handle Offset

The axe came with a painted head and handle with a light coat of varnish over the entire axe. It also has a nail claw for pulling nails, that seems out of place. This tool is designed for hewing wood not driving and pulling nails, so the addition of the claw for me is unnecessary, which meant it needed to go.


From the Factory

The first order of business was to cut off the nail claw on my metal-cutting bandsaw. I was not sure how the claw would cut since it should have been hardened, but it cut without any trouble.

De-clawed OX

De-clawed OX

After the Ox had been de-clawed, I trued up the pole of the axe. One side was a little higher than the other and need to be flattened to square it up.

IMG_7318 IMG_7321

I didn’t take any pictures of reworking the handle, but you can get the idea from the comparison picture below. I thinned it down quite a bit and gave it my standard finish with homemade walnut stain and BLO(boiled linseed oil).


With these modifications this is a pretty sweet axe for hewing. It is simple to put a razors edge on it and it stays sharp even with a lot of use meaning this axe is made with quality steel and has been properly heat-treated. The axe is very controllable and removes wood with ease.

I feel comfortable giving my recommendation for this axe if someone needs a quality hewing axe at a reasonable price. As always, I welcome your comments and questions.



Lots to catch up on!



This past year and a half there has been a lot I have not blogged about because of the business and hard lifestyle of living in a tent and now camper while building our house.

I am going to try to go back and cover some things that have fallen into the depths of my computer. There will be a few more tool mods and reviews, more spoons, some house work, tile work, carving axe comparison, and some other things to come.

We finally got a phone line trenched out to our place, and even though it is slow, we do have internet again.

Keep an eye out for things to come. Soon I will be doing a review and some modifications of a hewing hatchet or side axe which ever you prefer to call it.

If there is anything you are interested in seeing let me know and I will try to get around to it.