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Old 5th August 2022, 02:01 AM   #1
JoeCanada42
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Default the green tomahawk of the Rogers Rangers?

Hi everyone, I just picked this up today, won it at a local auction, I think it could be as old as 18c, i think it may be called a belt axe or a hammer pole axe, I cant find any markings on the rusted axe head, it has also been painted at one point, a green almost blue color, quick search into the possibility of the color being significant turned out to be interesting. I acquired it in PEI Canada.
anybody with knowledge on the subject to share? thanks
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Old 5th August 2022, 09:33 AM   #2
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Looks like a common carpenter's hammer poll hatchet & nail-puller notched blade, painted with whatever paint the owner had on hand at the time. Probably many million of these rusting away in tool boxes around North America and beyond.
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Old 5th August 2022, 09:50 AM   #3
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A "Rodger's Rangers" tomahawk replica, it would have looked more like this:
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Old 5th August 2022, 11:28 AM   #4
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I'm afraid Wayne is correct. This is a common shingling ax. Although some of these tool types certainly date back to the Revolution, this specimen would probably date at latest to mid-19th. It is a cast piece with a notch for pulling nails. Sometimes, these notches were wide and used as a beaver trap chain pull, but this example has the more common nail slot.

Rogers' Rangers would have most likely carried a spiked ax/tomahawk type, but it should be noted that the so called hammer pole axes were also popular with the 'mountain men'. Contrary to popular belief, these early hammer pole axes were not used to hammer nails! The 'hammer' end was to balance the blade when swinging it.
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Old 5th August 2022, 11:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY View Post
...hese early hammer pole axes were not used to hammer nails! The 'hammer' end was to balance the blade when swinging it.

A hammer poll is also useful for driving tent stakes.
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Old 5th August 2022, 02:25 PM   #6
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Sorry to agree. It is a carpenters framing hatchet. I've owned a few. It is a much more common tool than the much more effective carpenters shaping hatchet which had a chisel type bevel on the blade and a symmetrically shaped head so that it could be flipped for a right or left hander. Both relics of time before power tools were common. I used both a lot working in areas without power before battery tools and very light portable generators. If you work much on old houses, you can see the marks of these on the framing members where material was "hogged out," removed rapidly and coarsely to make things fit.

I am going to slightly disagree, maybe more clarify MELEY's statement on this particular poll. It is a hammer head and a very effective one. The blade serves as a poll and really drives a nail. If you are in attentive you can lose your fingers. With this shape poll I would bet on pre-1950 manufacture. Look on old tool forums and you can find more info. There is proball a stamp on the side of the head under all the gunk.

Last edited by Interested Party; 5th August 2022 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 5th August 2022, 08:37 PM   #7
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hi thanks everyone for your comments and interest so far.
to clarify it was sold as an antique hatchet, no attribute to rogers rangers, this is only my fantasy,.
I did think this axe could possibly be old enough, I have come across many old old tools locally.
apparently this form of axe was popular circa 1760
how does one tell if it was cast or forged?
the hammer poll on my axe is cylindrical not octagonal like many I see.
is there any difference in the 19c vs 18c ones?

I found this YouTube video very informative

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHyZhRFWsUs

at 10:10 he talks about my form hatchet.

also I think its likely there was a wide variety in the styles of hatchet the rangers carried, and possibly they had carried this form. he had members from all backgrounds,
I thought this hatchet could possibly date to the fur trade and been used by a "coureur de bois".
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Old 6th August 2022, 12:14 AM   #8
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Old style roofing/shake hammer/hatchet.

If I may clarify, for trimming and nailing cedar shakes.
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Old 6th August 2022, 11:27 AM   #9
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Hi,

Prior to the last quarter of the 19th century nails were made by hand using hand tools and were of square cross section. Mass produced nails came along around 1880 with machines designed for that purpose. Nails then became round in cross section.

A 'vee' shaped nail puller is not suitable for square nails.

Up until the 1850/60s axes were made of iron with a small amount of steel to form the hard edge forge welded to the end of the blade. Steel was much more expensive and hard to come by. Unfortunately it is hard to tell the difference between the two without specialist equipment or a grinding wheel (different sparks), so this is not a useful way to confirm a date.

Seam lines are often visible in very old axes not only at the edge but between the two halves where the iron has been folded over to form an eye and then hammer forged into one piece. However the best made axes will not show a seam

I agree with the other comments - your axe is modern and most likely made in a factory in the 20th century.
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Old 7th August 2022, 08:06 PM   #10
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This is also known as "half hatchet". Industrially-made. probably early to mid
20th c.
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Old 9th August 2022, 01:32 AM   #11
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thanks for some good info,
probably its not as old as I had hoped.
I realize the nail puller wasn't a good sign but I figured that feature could have been drilled in later, I read the possibility of this in a post on this forum..
Maybe I will clean the axe head and get a better look just for fun
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Old 9th August 2022, 03:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
Looks like a common carpenter's hammer poll hatchet & nail-puller notched blade, painted with whatever paint the owner had on hand at the time. Probably many million of these rusting away in tool boxes around North America and beyond.
Absolutely right Kronckew. Attached are my entry into the rusting carpenters hatchet competition. Officially named a shinglers hatchet. Beside it is a Carpenters shaper called by catalogs a broad hatchet. I guess I learned a regional vocabulary from my family when they were teaching me obsolete trades. Several members of my household when I was young up had grown up on self-sufficient farms where they had even made their own thread to weave into cloth and then dye with natural dyes. Not hippie communes but people who had never lived any other way. It was a good education that has benefited me my whole life as far as what random rusty objects are.

The terminology is getting confusing. Here are two shots from a 1939 Keen Kutter catalog, one from a 1920 Montgomery Ward catalog. These should help clarify the discussion. I left the URL in the edit. Archive.org is an excellent source of factory-made goods, if a little confusing and inefficient in its filters. They have catalogs back to 1767. Incidentally these items cost most of a poor man's wages for a day or more. In Appalachia a lot of workers who were paid in cash still earned $0.15 -20/hr. $0.25 was considered really good wages till the minimum wage was established.

I want to thank the moderators for letting this discussion continue on its natural course. Who knows, maybe we will get a post of a Rogers Rangers hatchet. I always read as a kid that the ax was the number one weapon for poor settlers in the push to and over the Appalachian Mountains. One day I would love to see a post of a homemade short sword that was supposedly used to great effect in the It the dense underbrush of the Carolinas' forest against the British (does this sound reminiscent of Indonesian and Philippino tactics to anyone else). Unfortunately, I fear they were converted back into agricultural tools 200 years ago like it seems the Scottish broad swords that were brought over may have been as well. The next time I am lucky enough to visit my dad I will snap a shot of an old trade spear head that was slightly reforged into a gardening trowel that was my grandfather's favorite for transplanting wildflowers to my grandmother's garden as an example of this phenomenon.
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Old 12th August 2022, 09:12 AM   #13
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Here is my contender in the "trade axe" category. Posted before, but fun to tag it on a thread about such. As you can see, it's a bit different to the industrially made axes/hatchets.
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Old 12th August 2022, 09:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interested Party View Post
...I would love to see a post of a homemade short sword that was supposedly used to great effect in the It the dense underbrush of the Carolinas' forest against the British ...

This sword was made by a village blacksmith for Natty Bumppo in 1755, he carried and used it thru-out the French & Indian wars of the period. It was bequeathed to his descendants, who used it in the Carolinas ravaged by Cornwallis' cavalry in the revolutionary war later in the century. The photo was taken by his current descendent, who wishes to remain anonymous.
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Old 12th August 2022, 10:21 AM   #15
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[QUOTE=Interested Party;274105 ... I want to thank the moderators for letting this discussion continue on its natural course...[/QUOTE]
So we did. Just a pity its natural course didn't divert from modern to earlier implements. Topic not to serve as an example; only an exception ... in context .

Keep safe ... and remember the Forum scope .



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Old 12th August 2022, 03:15 PM   #16
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David R, thanks for the example. No seam visible do you think it is a punched eye? That wide opening at the back would make it harder to break the handle where it meets the head. Where was this ax? from? Is it an ax in scale or closer to a hatcher? M Eley would you call this an early poll design?

kronckew, that was just mean From what I heard these were oiften made them from crosscut saw blades. Corn knives, tobacco knives, and cabbage knives in order of size were also made from sawblades. Later for smaller cutting tools mechanical hacksaw blades were the gold standard, higher carbon, a very hard temper, abrasion resistant but very brittle. My guess if these blades ever existed, they became the above-mentioned tools, then butcher knives and small belt knives, scrapers, and finally rust. As I said before I would love to see one with providence.

Fernando, I think it has been a productive exception. I learned how valuable a ax or hatchet was in the late 19th and early 20th century. Both by the variety of specialized designs and in cost. In poorer parts of the US in the period of the Montgomery Ward catalog 15 cents (there is a change in times there isn't even a cent symbol on a modern keyboard) was a common wage for someone using this tool. At that rate this half hatchet took 15 hours of work to buy. Now for a roofer, carpenter it would take 1 or 2. For some reason I thought this forum went to 1920. 1900 is a much rounder number though. In the Ethnographic category it seems based on a cultures technological level?
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Old 12th August 2022, 04:56 PM   #17
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Old used Saw blades can make excellent knives and swords. Especially if properly heat treated. The Philippines has a number of excellent pandays and sources for these.
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Old 12th August 2022, 06:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interested Party View Post
... In the Ethnographic category it seems based on a cultures technological level? ...
The text in the scope would be self explanatory; above all a certain age, prevention of reproductions, items only within antique weaponry ... are the game.
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Old 13th August 2022, 01:38 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
This sword was made by a village blacksmith for Natty Bumppo in 1755, he carried and used it thru-out the French & Indian wars of the period. It was bequeathed to his descendants, who used it in the Carolinas ravaged by Cornwallis' cavalry in the revolutionary war later in the century. The photo was taken by his current descendent, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Looks like a Filipino ginunting.
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Old 13th August 2022, 11:00 AM   #20
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David's example is indeed a nice trade ax. I've seen this pattern on French trade axes coming to the Americas. The fact that it has a maker's stamp makes me think more early 19th c, but there were some early (18th c) axes with maker marks, but they usually were accompanied by maker stamps (trade marks like flower shapes, diamond pattern stamps, etc). You know, I can't tell for sure, but it seems to have evidence of hand forging. The problem is, axes that were blacksmith-made and done well is hard to tell and cast (post-1820's) axe heads often had their seam-lines filed down to appear more seamless. Better, close-up pics can help identify
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Old 13th August 2022, 06:19 PM   #21
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In the hand it looks to be of the wrap around type with an inserted edge, but pitting hides a lot of this sort of detail. What I can say is that it takes a very sharp edge and was my favourite camp axe, retired when I realised that it was probably an antique with some history.
Bought off "Bodger's" stall, at a reenactors fair.
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Old 14th August 2022, 11:43 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeCanada42 View Post
Hi everyone, I just picked this up today, won it at a local auction, I think it could be as old as 18c, i think it may be called a belt axe or a hammer pole axe, I cant find any markings on the rusted axe head, it has also been painted at one point, a green almost blue color, quick search into the possibility of the color being significant turned out to be interesting. I acquired it in PEI Canada.
anybody with knowledge on the subject to share? thanks
its a modern carpenters hatchet probably post ww2.. older once are more fancy and a more complex consturciton in the head ther eis for example on the old handforged ones some style to the bevelling of the surfaces .. especially unde rthe beard of the axe. older ones have larger cheeks on the eye that extend down somewhat below the socket
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Old 14th August 2022, 12:42 PM   #23
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Cool stuff folks, Nice axe David, and thanks also to the moderators, I am learning quite a bit,
What a coincidence I just found something else very interesting.
at the garage sale I was told it was a black smiths tool for removing scale.
I am not so Shure.., the seller is not a blacksmith,

If it is something of interest, I could bring it to work to have better quality photos taken.
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Old 14th August 2022, 02:07 PM   #24
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It certainly roughly resembles a modern welder's hammer, used for chipping the slag off after a weld, so could well be an older blacksmith tool.

Although concentrated on N. America this site is very good for photographs, information and how to spot fakes and is well worth a look. It shows axes going back to the 1700's. There are pipe tomahawks as well but the trade axe pages are very good.

https://www.furtradetomahawks.com

David R. I remember the previous thread on your axe - amazing that you still used it and it took an edge after a century or two! I guess that confirms the steel bit insert with the rest iron. Is it just the photograph or does the darker colour at the blade edge indicate the steel section?

Axes are often faked using modern ones as a base. There are lots of fire axes out there masquerading as naval boarding axes! That's why I think the post 1900 catalogues that Interested Party posted are useful and Fernando was right to allow them.

Regards CC
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Old 14th August 2022, 09:54 PM   #25
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David R. I remember the previous thread on your axe - amazing that you still used it and it took an edge after a century or two! I guess that confirms the steel bit insert with the rest iron. Is it just the photograph or does the darker colour at the blade edge indicate the steel section

Regards CC[/QUOTE]

It took a fantastic edge, and cut like nothing else I had ever used.Sad to retire it in a way, but I retired myself at the same time due to age and infirmity! "Does the darker colour at the blade edge indicate the steel section" probably.
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Old 15th August 2022, 11:51 PM   #26
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thanks cutlass collector now that I search for chipping hammer I find similar examples, seems its more for welding then blacksmithing.
thanks to everyone for helping satisfy my curiosity on these pieces.
and thanks for that link to fur trade axes/pipes, doubt ill ever find something as recognizable as a pipe tomahak, but now I have a better idea what the axes look like I hope one may turn up.
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Old 17th August 2022, 11:58 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian View Post
Looks like a Filipino ginunting.
It was a joke response to 'interested party's previous post's request.


He wanted to see a story, so I made up a cheeky story for him. It is of course a 20c villager ginunting made by Jun Silva in the Philippines. About as far from the Carolinas as possible.

Still, would have worked well in the swamps & woods there, better than Mel Gibson's tomahawk (in the Patriot) I suspect. (It's one of the sharpest blades I own)
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Old 17th August 2022, 03:37 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew View Post
It was a joke response to 'interested party's previous post's request.

He wanted to see a story, so I made up a cheeky story for him. It is of course a 20c villager ginunting made by Jun Silva in the Philippines. About as far from the Carolinas as possible.

Still, would have worked well in the swamps & woods there, better than Mel Gibson's tomahawk (in the Patriot) I suspect. (It's one of the sharpest blades I own)
I'm not looking a story, but an example with providence. It was checky though. Natty Bumppo was a Vermonter, a different ethnic group, and an English apologist, not a Jacobite refugee. If I remember correctly Cooper had to flee the US for a time as his political views were unpopular, but a man ahead of his time in that England and US eventually developed a "special" relationship a hundred years later and archeological evidence gave his books view of the French Indian war validity after nearly a hundred years of it being considered over the top in the description of the collateral damage incurred to the frontier settlements.

And yes, this blade would have worked well in underbrush and swamps. It looks like a chisel edge that would produce a very smooth cut on the backhand stroke for a right hander. Like a broad ax or a slicker chisel. A little forward curve for vines and a sharpened false edge allowing clever falso dritto and montante sotto mano cuts. As a utility blade I have wondered if the blade was wrapped in cloth, leather, or leaves so it could be gripped near the false edge, and the false edge then could be used to skin animals? Off in the ethno weeds here.

Who knows maybe these ideas will grow in my mind. Looking for these short swords and Scottish basket hilts in the Carolinas could be for me what the espada ancha and verdadera destreza are for Mr. McDougall.
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Old 17th August 2022, 04:24 PM   #29
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Quote:
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I'm not looking a story, but an example with providence. It was checky though. ...
Who knows maybe these ideas will grow in my mind. Looking for these short swords and Scottish basket hilts in the Carolinas could be for me what the espada ancha and verdadera destreza are for Mr. McDougall.

You didn't mention 'provenance' in the original what if.


Fortuitous, you mentioned Scottish basket hilts (I don't have one). I've been looking for info on why the UK switches from the protective but heavy basket hilt to a simple crossbar guard as the 'service hilt'.The last UK Officer to actually carry one into battle (as far as I have heard) was 'Mad Jack' Churchill, and he had the basket hilted version. And a piper!
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Old 17th August 2022, 05:03 PM   #30
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Here's an early hammer pole ax of the tool type versus those that were both weapon/tool types (i.e. rifleman's belt axes, see Neumann). This blacksmith-made hammer pole has a cut channel nail puller, chestnut original haft.
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