Thursday 23 March 2023

Making & Kolrosing A Felling Axe Handle

A while back, in the bleak mid winter (around January) I had an idea for a magazine article, I wanted to do some more kolrosing and try it out on an axe handle.

Of course I could have bought a handle and tried it on that. Instead I thought I'd make the handle from scratch and renovate an old axe head back into service. My friend found me an old 6lb felling axe that had been hung the wrong way round (for use as a sledge hammer I think). 

So I removed the old handle, tidied up the head, gave it a sharpen, then made a new handle for it from ash. 

With the handle made I retreated inside, lit the fire and worked about 3ft from it during a cold snap. It was nice conditions for me, radio playing, fire crackling, and kolrosing makes no mess at all, well not until you add the coffee grounds. 

I made a video showing the process, as well as a step by step article which will be in the next issue of Woodcarving magazine,  but it's really simple, you score in the lines, rub with oil, then rub in coffee grounds, then burnish with a smooth stone. 

I'm not sure how long this pattern will last in the handle when it's used regularly. In all honesty a felling axe isn't something I use that much. I might be better off doing this with a side axe or a hatchet and seeing how it holds up to everyday use. I wonder if the pattern would wear away or if the dirt and grease from your hands might even make it stand out more. 

One for future experimentation, that's for sure! Be cool to do some carving chisel handles like this as well for easy identification when carving. 

Let me know what you think of it. 

Do you have any fancy tool handles?


  1. It's excellent. A good hiking stick with a kolrosing pattern would be something really nice to own.

  2. Ditto northsider's comment. I would probably be more likely to do it on a hiking stick than I would an hand tool handle that I don't use that often. But it does look nice!

    1. Yeah, I'd not really done it on a handle before, just messed about with kolrosing on a few small pieces, so was good to see if it would work. I will be doing some other handles with it later I think.

  3. Very nice! My dad often carved our family brand into the wood working projects he did, and burned or stained with black walnut or whatever he had on hand.


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