Peter Follansbee on Hatchets

Since the publication of “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree,” many readers have asked what sort of hatchet they should buy to get started hewing the legs for their joint stools.

Peter Follansbee, one of the two authors of the book, took a few minutes to show me how you can do the work with either a single- or double-bevel hatchet. And he discussed several brands of tools that are available on the market now. He also showed off a hatchet that Jennie Alexander, the other author of the book, had converted to a single-bevel hatchet.

If you are curious about hatchets, this quick video will get you started.

— Christopher Schwarz

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12 Responses to Peter Follansbee on Hatchets

  1. St.J says:

    Side axes are quite easy to get hold of in Europe.
    Do you have a Stubai distributor over there?
    They make a respectable, and very reasonably priced model that I’m told German and Austrian roofers use.
    No idea what for.

  2. Joe Olivas says:

    Sometime last fall, I contacted Gränsfors Bruks, and pointed them to Peter’s blog entry on hatchets to see if they had anything that would be equivalent. They suggested their Swedish Carving Axe, which comes in either a single or double bevel, so that might be another option.

    • pfollansbee says:

      Joe – I was under the impression that the GB carving hatchet has two bevels…the one I know that they sell was designed by Wille Sundqvist, who uses double-bevel hatchets to make spoons & bowls. When I get home & have some time, I’ll look into a single-bevel hatchet by GB – I’d be interested to see one. I know they make a large carpenter’s axe with a single bevel, but if I remember right, it’s about 7 lbs – too heavy for me.

      Right now I’m at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, ME coaxing the students into using hatchets. they’re getting the hang of it…

      • Joe Olivas says:

        They don’t seem to advertise it well, but the Wille Sunqvist carving axe is available in right and left handed bevels, though they appear difficult to find.

        There is a seller on eBay (imaginegear) who offers the single bevel versions at the standard retail price. Might be worth checking out.

  3. Dean says:

    Thank you Chris for posting Peter’s excellent video on the hewing hatchet. Much appreciated.

    Bob Rozaieski blogged a few months ago on the hewing hatchet. He definitely gives much credit to Peter, but was sharing some of his thoughts as “…someone who has not done a lot of this kind of work.” The names I’ve learned for this type of hatchet so far are the broad hatchet, single-bevel edge, chisel grind, and of course the hewing hatchet. I noticed that St.J refers to them as “side hatchets”. This could get confusing. There seems to be a number of suppliers for this type of hatchet, including ebay sales.

    http://logancabinetshoppe.com/blog/2012/03/observations-on-working-green-wood-2/

  4. aschenher says:

    Peter is an awesome guy, but think of what his neighbors think , some long bearded guy with a cut off shirt, outside all the time swinging axes. I bet they think he is a crazy old man, but they don’t know him like we do. I guess it might be funny if he lived at the end of a cul-de-sac.

    • steveschafer says:

      I’ve lived in Appalachia for the past ten years. I learned a long time ago that you DO NOT drive down a dead-end road out in the country.

  5. Peter:
    The Alexander modified hewing hatchet you chiped away with in the Boog is much too light for substantial work. I thought I also sent you a heavier one but… If someone wanted to modify a double beveled hatchet or axe head for general joinery hewing what weight would you sugrest?
    Jennie

  6. willem says:

    I have the single bevel “carving” axe from Gransfors Bruks and it is a great tool.
    Moreover, the Gransfors philosophy is totally in line with the “anarchist” way of life.

    http://www.gransfors.com
    “A smith at Gränsfors Bruks has nothing to hide and he is proud of his professional standards. When he is satisfied with his work and has accepted his axe, he marks the head with his initials beside the company’s crown label.”

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