Sinew Wrapped Axe Handle Experiment

This experiment is to see what the advantages and limitations are of using a sinew with hide glue wrapping as a method to protect axe and hammer handles from incidental damage.  Sinew is the tough fiber that connects bones to muscles to effect movement.  When applied to wood with hide glue it makes a tough and resilient layer that can prevent splintering when wood is under heavy stress. This method has been used in some of the strongest traditional bows in the world.  It is something like fiberglass, but the fibers are much stronger.  Hide glue is also remarkably tough and resilient.  Just try to break a sheet of it sometime.

The experiment is to see how the sinew holds up under impact and abrasion and also how well a coating of linseed oil will protect the water vulnerable wrapping and hide glue from moisture under normal use.  The known advantages of sinew are that it is strong, shrinks on drying and can be applied in such a way as to have a very low profile.  The result is little added thickness and a smooth transition from the handle to the wrapping.  I have experience using it on bows and for wrappings on arrows.  If wrapped on the tip of an arrow it prevents nearly 100% of damage to the tips of arrows shot into logs, dirt and rocks.  I think there are probably better alternatives, or perhaps sinew combined with other materials would be good.  I know I've used it on a handle before, but it's been so long, I can't remember what happened!  I hope to get around to more experiments around this subject sooner than later.

Since there are strong proponents of the double bit axe for splitting wood, including my buddy Wylie Woods, I hope to test it's advantages and limitations this year.  The axe in this video is an old plumb I got at a yard sale.  The bit is very fat, which I have found to be common in Plumb axes and hatchets.  it would need a lot of work to use for chopping, so I've been splitting with it, for which I imagine that is an advantage.  For now, I reserve judgement...

My homies the Vidos are worth your time: Axe Connected website  and  Scythe Connection Website


Buckin' Billy Ray Smith:  Keep in mind this wood is as he says is in very nice splitting condition.  Dudley Cook recommends this method in

 Hide glue series playlist:

Posted on April 6, 2016 .