Collection of antique hatchets and vintage axes shows varied use of simple but essential farm tools.
This hatchet was made by (or for) the Worth company.
David estimates this claw hammer to date to the 1700s, and believes it was either European-made or produced in the U.S. by European immigrants. “I’ve been told that the shape of the head and the lack of a taper in the handle where it meets the head indicate that it’s probably handmade,” he says.
This hatchet, manufactured by Plumb, was known as a vegetable hatchet (or crating hatchet). “It was used to make wooden crates,” says David Johnson. “They’d saw the lumber thin for side slats. If it was good lumber, you could get four 2-inch slats out of an 8-inch board.” The notches on the hatchet’s head were used to pull nails.
A PEXTO utility hatchet manufactured by Peck, Stowe & Wilcox Co., Southington, Conn. “If a carpenter used this piece, he could also pull nails with it,” David notes.
A double-bitted cruiser’s axe with leather case that once belonged to David’s father. “This was an axe made for a timber cruiser,” David says. “He’d use it to blaze the trees that were to be cut for logs or girdled (thinned).”
This piece features a single cutting edge.
A portion of David’s hatchet collection on display at an antique farm equipment show. David has replaced some handles on pieces in his collection, but most are original.
David’s show display of hatchets and axes. The panel at left shows shingle and lathe hatchets (and at the extreme lower right, a shingle-splitting froe believed to be at least 200 years old). The center display features axes. From the top: a double-bitted axe, two Hudson Bay axes, a barn axe, ice axe and others. At the bottom, a west coast felling axe and a broadaxe, used to hew square beams from logs. The display at right consists of axe and hatchet heads found with missing or bad handles.
David has used hatchets and axes since he was a boy. But when he cuts wood today, he says, “I use a hydraulic splitter and chainsaw.”
This “Au-to-graf” Anchor-brand axe head is a signature release made by the Plumb company and sports the signature of then-company President Taylor Plumb. David believes the piece dates to the 1930s.
A hatchet, manufactured for U.S. Army issue likely during World War II.