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  1. #1
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    Default Rare Timbers; Axe Handle Wood.

    Rare Timbers.
    I'd like to think that there are some wood workers who like using some of the very special rainforest timbers that we have in Australia. Just recently a smallish Aphananthe philippinensis which has the interesting common name of Axe Handle Wood was blown over here on my farm. Naturally I have collected it and have sawn it up. If you consult, Rainforest Woods of Australia, it is described as being like American Hickory, with colour, sheen, toughness and elasticity and apparently as the name indicates makes good tool handles. It is described as being 720kgs/m3 but it seems heavier to me. Sometime soon, I will try to take a photo of the wood and upload it.

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  3. #2
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    Townsville. Tropical Nth Qld.
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    Bob, if it dries ok, I would be interested in buying some off you, might save me importing Hickory from the US.Rgds,Crocy.

  4. #3
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    Aug 2007
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    St Georges Basin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Croc View Post
    Bob, if it dries ok, I would be interested in buying some off you, might save me importing Hickory from the US.Rgds,Crocy.
    I don't know what you're using it for, but have you tried the more local Hickory Wattle (Acacia implexa). I've used it for tool handles in the past.

  5. #4
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    Here are two photos, but what an effort. I still have no idea how to up load photos!!
    [/IMG]2019-06-21 09.32.51.jpg
    2019-06-21 09.33.02.jpg

  6. #5
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    Australia
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    Default

    If this works, here are two photos of the Axe Handle Wood.

  7. #6
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    May 2007
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    Varsity Lakes
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    That looks like it was a fair size tree! The only tree I knew was Axe Handle Wood was a fairly small girthed tree on a walking trail in the Bunya Mountains that had name plaques attached to a lot of the obscure rainforest inhabitants.

    BTW. I see two photos in post #4 but none in #5.
    Franklin

  8. #7
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    Australia
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    Fuzzie, Usually the tree is quite small, maybe probably because it is slow growing but this one had a little size to it and has good quality wood. Sorry about #5 but I had a lot of trouble getting the photos to upload. I'd delete #5 if I knew how. Yes, there are many rainforest trees and for most of them, really not much is known.

  9. #8
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    Apr 2011
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    McBride BC Canada
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    Take a look at the end grain with a magnifying glass. The hickories (Carya sp) and the Ashes (Fraxinus sp) are ring porous.
    This provides some of the elastic properties that you would expect in the performance of leaf springs.
    I'd look for that in any tool handle woods.

  10. #9
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    Nov 2004
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    Millmerran,QLD
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    Bob

    Allegedly there are many trees in Australia whose wood is suitable for impact type handles. However, most of them are not commercially available. The Axe Handle tree would be in that category. This is a link I found and it says that the trunk usually is of poor form. I also states quite a few "local" or common names including Wild Holly, Rough Leaved Hickory, Rough Leaved Elm, Grey Handlewood, Elm, Asbestos Tree, Native Elm and of course Axehandle Wood.

    Factsheet - Aphananthe philippinensis

    Spotted Gum is the commercial timber for impact handles in Australia and according to the data is superior to Hickory. However, Hickory is preferred and I believe that is because only the select grades are chosen for tool handles. If it was simply "run of the mill" it might well appear to be inferior to Spotted Gum. Conversely, if Spotted Gum was "selected" it may rate higher. Bootle's book "Wood in Australia" clearly shows the properties of Spotted Gum to be superior to Hickory. Unfortunately there is no reference to the Axehandle Wood.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  11. #10
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    Jun 2005
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    Townsville. Tropical Nth Qld.
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    Quote Originally Posted by burraboy View Post
    I don't know what you're using it for, but have you tried the more local Hickory Wattle (Acacia implexa). I've used it for tool handles in the past.
    I am rehandling hammers for myself and a couple of Blacksmiths. Contrary to what a lot of people say, I will not use Spotted Gum and my customers won't either. Any idea where I can get a piece of the timber you mentioned?Rgds,Crocy.

  12. #11
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    bilpin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Croc View Post
    I am rehandling hammers for myself and a couple of Blacksmiths. Contrary to what a lot of people say, I will not use Spotted Gum and my customers won't either. Any idea where I can get a piece of the timber you mentioned?Rgds,Crocy.
    What is the problem with Spotted Gum?

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustynail View Post
    What is the problem with Spotted Gum?
    If you get 2 identical hammers, one Hickory, one SG and spend a day on the anvil with each of them, your hand will tell you in the evening that SG does not absorb the vibration. Bit like using a elcheapo 4 inch grinder or a Hitachi, same effect.Rgds,Crocy.

  14. #13
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    Aug 2007
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    St Georges Basin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Croc View Post
    I am rehandling hammers for myself and a couple of Blacksmiths. Contrary to what a lot of people say, I will not use Spotted Gum and my customers won't either. Any idea where I can get a piece of the timber you mentioned?Rgds,Crocy.
    Not commercially I'm afraid, there's plenty growing around the Lithgow/Hartley area.

  15. #14
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    Mar 2004
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    Brisbane (western suburbs)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushmiller View Post
    ..... quite a few "local" or common names including Wild Holly, Rough Leaved Hickory, Rough Leaved Elm, Grey Handlewood, Elm, Asbestos Tree, Native Elm and of course Axehandle Wood.....
    Easy to see where a couple of those common names come from, Paul. The juvenile leaves in particular are quite spiky & Holly-like and the grain pattern on the tangential surface is very reminiscent of Elm! No idea where asbestos comes from, but maybe it would be advisable not to breathe the sawdust?

    I'd like to get my hands on some to try for hammer handles, too, Bob, so when you have some ready for sale, I'll be utting my hand up wth the others...

    There are several good-sized trees along the creek adjoining our property, but they are on council land and quite out of bounds for me, unless one blows over my fence in a storm & has to be removed immediately. I have a small seedling 'volunteer' beside my shed, but it's only about 500mm high after a couple of years of growing, so I don't think I've got enough years left in me to wait 'til that one reaches handle size....

    Cheers,
    IW

  16. #15
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    Well, thanks to Bob, I received a small consignment of hammer-handle sized bits of handle wood last night.

    The A. philippinensis was far too green to get stuck into, as he suggested, but he slipped in a piece of dry native Olive (Olea paniculata) for me to try. I can't resist a new wood, so I trimmed it & chucked it in the lathe this morning, It turned beeyootifully, and finished very easily. It has a superfine grain and even though I stopped sanding at 180, it ended up far smoother than most woods.

    I used it to make a small mallet: Olive handle.jpg

    That won't be a terribly tough test, as a small mallet doesn't meet the sort of stresses, an axe or sledge hammer handle is confronted with. I did my crude 'snap' test with a sliver of offcut, and it passed that well. The wood hjung on until it was almost doubled, then broke with long splinters leaving about half the thickness still more or less intact: snap test.jpg

    The only other local wood I know that does as well as that is one of the hickory wattles that grows around our yard.

    You'll have to wait some time for my report on the A. philippensis., but as soon as it's dry, I'll be sure to try it....
    IW

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