Earlier this year French and I started watching a real interesting YouTube channel - Buckin Billy Ray Smith, a logger, tree climber and arborist on Vancouver Island. This guy is also right into restoring and fitting new handles on vintage axes. Mark ordered a buckin special and I decided I wanted something unique as well.
I ordered this Hultafors Arvika 4.5lb polished steel axe (which is hand forged in Hults Bruks, Sweden), from a fantastic online retailer: Kent of Inglewood in Calgary, Alberta.
These axes are beautiful. I have a a Fiskars that I carry on the bike and a large Fiskars splitting axe which are both great every day beat around the ATV box, utility tools. I really wanted something pretty, unique and an axe with heritage.
Out of the box the Arvika is not fully sharpened and the head is coated in a clear varnish to prevent rust so the first step was to strip that coating with a chemical stripper to get ready for my next step.
I wanted a unique, fairly durable, dark finish so I used Gun Blue which chemically turns raw steel bluish-black like a gun barrel. I started with a Birchwood Casey gel style product following the directions on the bottle.
With the last application finished I treated the entire axe head with Break Free CLP gun oil for maximum protection against rust.
The handle of the Arvika came with a linseed oil finish which is nice but I wanted something a little darker. Based on recommendation from Buckin' Billy Ray I used Watco Dark Walnut coloured Danish Oil to provide a beautiful finished look to my axe project.
All in all I'm really happy with how this turned out. This will be an occasional use axe that will be kept in top notch condition and not something that will be beat around the back of the bike. Its a fantastic tool and a piece of art all at the same time.
The only other thing I did was make an edge cover out of some left over leather from my Council Tools #2 axe sheath project. This will protect the edge from damage but more importantly protect everything else nearby FROM the sharp edge while transporting! For more pictures and details of this axe project please check out my Hultafors Arvika Axe story on the Projects in the Shed page.
Copyright © 2011 Michael Smith