Saturday, September 10, 2011

Resurrecting A Norlund Hatchet

When I was about 10 some one, I think it was my grandparents, gave me a hatchet for my birthday.  It was made by Norlund and had a forged steel head. I thought it was a very good tool.  I liked it quite a bit and I used it a lot.  Somewhere along the way it got lost or misplaced or someone borrowed it and didn't put it back in the right spot and I never saw it again.  Until a couple years ago.  I really had no reason to use it again so it was put up.  Then just recently I got to thinking about it and decided to put it back into action.  But first, it needed a little work.

The handle was broken and split inside the hatchet head and it was partially rotten also.  The sheath for it was nowhere to be found.  And someone had given it a hideous orange paint job.  See?

 Note that hideous orange paint job.  Note also the piece of leather I'm going to use for a sheath.

Before doing anything else a suitable piece of thick leather was located and trimmed to size.  After the sheath was mostly formed it was time to put in some rivets.  I got a little rivet kit from Hobby Lobby for a few dollars, followed the instructions and a few rivets were put in along one side for the blade to rest on and a couple more were added to keep the sheath together.  Helpful hint-use the shortest rivet that you can to fasten the two pieces together. At first we tried the longest ones but they just bent, the shorter ones worked much better. Then holes were punched along the side and leather lacing was added, both for decoration and function.

      See the rivets?  See the holes for the leather lacing?

Then it was time to do something about the handle.  The old handle was rotten enough that we just pounded it out of the hatchet head with a screwdriver, didn't even have to put it in a vice.  I couldn't find a replacement handle just like the original so had to use a straight handle.  The new handle basically slid right in, didn't even have to do any grinding or sanding to get it to fit.  All that was required was to cut off 3/4 of an inch that was sticking up above the top.  Then a wedge was driven down into the top of the handle to hold it securely in place and that was that.

After putting on a new handle a wire wheel on a bench grinder was used to strip off the hideous orange paint and a snazzy new paint job was installed.  And it got a fresh clean edge and a new lanyard.


After the sheath was all laced up we left enough leather hanging off so that when the hatchet is inside the sheath there is enough left to tie it securely.


And here it is in its new home, tied in securely and snug as a bug in a rug.  Easy project.  And it's always good to put an old war horse back into action.

Here is an interesting tidbit-- if you have a tool with a head that keeps loosening up on the handle, turn it upside down in a bowl of antifreeze and soak the head and handle in it overnight.  This will tighten it up and it will never come loose again.  Do this somewhere where animals will not get to it.  They like to lick antifreeze because it is sweet but it will kill them.  I have not tried this but I read it somewhere at a credible source.

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