Tog news • 4 minute read
TOG X Alex Pole Kitchen Axe User Guide
Thank you so much for purchasing a TOG X Alex Pole Kitchen Axe. There are only 24 of these axes in existence and we hope you like it.
A lot of time has gone into creating this project as well as into physically making the axes. Like the knife, the axe is one of mankind’s oldest tools. With careful use and maintenance, your axe should last multiple lifetimes. Please read the guidance here to help you safely get the most from your axe.
With the outdoor kitchen in mind, this hatchet is designed for butchery and preparing meat (in place of a meat cleaver) but also for kindling and making fires. It is sized so that it can be carried in a small backpack and it can be used for carving (e.g. spoons) too!
THE MAKING OF YOUR AXE
A separate article documenting the making of your axe, with video clips of most stages can be viewed here.
There are a couple of things to add to this. Firstly, the smith who forges each axe head traditionally stamps their initials into the metal. In your case it is JG (Joe Garnett) who, as Alex Pole’s head blacksmith, did the majority of the work on the axe heads.
The leather sheaths for these 24 axes are bespoke and handmade in Bristol by craftsman Jason Gardhouse (coincidentally another JG!).
The leather lanyard on your axe is for hanging the axe for storage. We have designed it to be too short to get your hand through – it is dangerous to use a lanyard as a wrist loop as the axe can swing and hit your body.
AXE PART NAMES
According to Alex Pole “An axe is only as dangerous as the person using it.”
Here are some safety tips but remember safety is the user’s responsibility. You only have to slip up once…
• Make sure there is nobody else nearby – there is danger from flying debris as well as swinging axes!
• Think about where the axe will go if you miss your target. Make sure it can’t hit your body.
• Consider kneeling down to make the axe more likely to hit the ground than your legs.
• Wear safety specs if debris is likely to fly off
• Keep your axe sharp and check the head is securely fitted to the handle – this can come loose over time.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Thanks to Alex Pole for providing the following information which will help keep your axe performing at a high level for many generations:
“Your axe should always be kept in a dry place and the head should be cleaned and oiled after use and before putting into the sheath. The axe head will become rusty if left outdoors.
Do not hammer the poll (or back) of your axe to help split wood as this can damage or deform the eye and loosen the head.
Always keep your axe edge sharp. This will make splitting both easier and safer (a blunt axe can skip or bounce during chopping). You can use a hand stone, or puck, which has different grits on each side. Use this in a circular motion, first with the course and then the fine, from toe to heel and following the original bevel.”
Note from Bert: Examine the edge straight away after starting to use the puck to see where exactly it is grinding. Your kitchen axe has a convex bevel, so you’ll need to vary the angle a little as you sharpen anyway. Make sure you use a high enough angle to reach the very cutting edge.
“Keep the handle oiled [TOG Kitchen Axe is oiled with Tung oil] and waxed to prevent drying out and shrinkage, as a loose head is dangerous!
If loose you can soak the axe for a few hours in water or linseed oil to swell the wood and secure the head.”
More notes from Bert:
• There is a possibility of marking the handle when splitting logs apart. We don’t recommend being too precious about this! Patina adds to the character of the tool.
• If using your axe for light butchery, remember it can make quite a scar in a chopping board so use a piece of wood you don’t mind damaging.
TOG X ALEX POLE KITCHEN AXE TECHNICAL OVERVIEW
EN9 0.75% Carbon Steel
Vegetable tanned leather, hand made in Bristol