Originally Posted by glennpendlay
A big guy with a long stick of wood is a scary thing. When I was pretty little, my dad owned a gun store that was right next door to where we lived. We came home one night rather late and found that 4 guys were robbing the store. Dad got out of the truck and grabbed a long stick of wood that was lying on the ground, think it was some sort of a cross member from a wooden cart that we hooked to the horse (or to a 3 wheeler im sure) to carry feed to the animals... it was partially disasembled and in the process of being fixed... anyway it was a substantial piece of wood, probably close to 3 feet long and id guess roughly 2 inches in diameter. Anyway he walked in behind them and held that thing like a baseball bat and told them to freeze or he would take their heads off. I can still remember those guys faces getting absolutely white and them just standing there without moving while my mom called the cops and the cops eventually getting there and arresting them... now my dad was about the size i probably would have been had i never lifted weights, a bit over 6 feet and around 250 pounds and in good shape. pretty big guy just naturally... i kind of chuckle when i think of the thoughts that must have gone through those guys head when he was suddenly right behind them with what amounted to a giant baseball bat!!! Ive often thought that that would be the ABSOLUTE LAST person I would ever want to get into a fight with, a big guy with a big stick!!! Way more scary to me than a guy with a knife!
And by the way, I know you'll appreciate this given your lumberjack interests... my VERY FIRST PAYING JOB was splitting wood with a sledge and a wedge. My family used to cut firewood and sell it by the rick and cord for income. Basically, my dad and sometimes my grandpa cut, and me, my brother, and my mom picked it up and stacked it in the trailer. At one point, my dad, thinking that I needed a bit of spending money (i was about 12) would give me some of the bigger stumps in return for loading all the wood. I was then free to split them myself and sell the wood. I split it and tied it in little bundles, and my grandpa took me around to convienience stores to sell it to them, where i lived most convienience stores had little bundles of split wood for sale outside... the type of things people who have fireplaces they light 2-3 times a year buy when they get the urge to burn some wood.
So anyway, being a "lumberjack" was my first job! I quickly graduated from sledge and wedge to a light maul that my grandpa made me... he made mauls in his machine shop and sold them all over, lots of farm and ranch stores in Kansas used to carry grandpa's mauls. He filled the head with differing amounts of lead to get the weight right, sold them from 6lbs up to 16 or 18lbs I think. Made me a special smaller one when I was 12 or 13. We always split all out wood by hand, dad used a really heavy maul and could swing the crap out of it, could split anything.
Ive also always been a bit interested in competition axes, because I used to make custom knives... always thought it would be fun to make a really good carbon steel axe head. where do you buy such a thing? are they custom made? are there designs somewhere available? what steel are they usually made from? do you have any knowledge of the rockwell hardness of a good competition axe head?
well, thats enough for now...
Awesome story and awesome similarites. Seeing your large father with big stick would have been very "walking tall" and quite the site. I love it.
Your firewood gathering experience is Very similar to my own. Except my father, a legend in lumberjack sports, would have disowned me if I had ever used a sledge or wedge. No offense meant at all, but my family is very well known in my crazy sport/hobby. I and about 17 relatives compete in the sport and four of us are ranked in the top 25 or so in the world. My father and three generations of Cogar's prior were/are loggers. My father had me working in his firewood business by the time I was six. Basically, I was charged with the duty of lugging all the butts and unmillable pieces of timber to an area where my father could split them between dozer runs. It's one of the reasons (other than heredity) I've always been a natural puller/simian of rounded thick back and long arms. I took my own little axe and widdled on what I could. As I got older and stronger, he gave me progressively heavier axes. Eventually I started working as a choker setter/gin hand. And finally started falling timber around the age of 12. But I always split wood during the lunch hour and during the winter months throughout high school.
Wow, I could write a book about my competition axes. They're a high carbon steel that are very strong yet soft enough to manipulate with files, diamond stones, barber hones, and other whet stones. There are a few mass producers. The best and most respected is a company in New Zealand called tuatahi. I hope Greg doesn't mind me posting a link to their site as it's very informative:
These axes are actually rolled tool steel that has been shaped into an axe, heat treated, then ground out my machine to percision. It can be edged at this stage and used in compeititon, but it would be far from what it could be.
A few individuals do the exact same process by hand (rolled tool steel, machine shaped, heat treated). They are located in Australia and their axes, which are top of the line, are very expensive. Others have cast molds made and pour metal in to the molds, grind the rough stuff off, then have the front ends of the blades heat treated.
The axes from Tuatahi are very consistent. They're rockwell hardness, prior to being ground for competition normally ranges between 55 and 59. Some of the individuals harden their axes to 60 rockwell. Most of the cast axes are "suppossed" to be hardened to 60 rockwell. But it's not an exact science and the cast axes are like a box of chocolates in regards to sand bubbles and pits.
I should note, which you probably know, once a person applies a grinder to the metal/axe, the first step in getting it ready for competition, the heat applied to the axe can alter the hardness.
I know way too much about this subject. Thanks for asking.
All the best,