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Thread: Camp Hatchet/ Axe ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Kenosha Wisconsin
    Posts
    573

    Default Camp Hatchet/ Axe ?

    I have checked several sites and cannot find what would be a proper small hatchet or small axe that would have been carried by a soldier in the field.

    Not looking for a weapon but something that would have been sued to chopping tent stakes, camp fire wood etc.
    Richard Schimenti

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    WNY
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    9

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    Richard,

    IMHO the best thing to do is go to the Library of congress site and check through any camp scenes - especially winter camps being constructed - zoom in and see what they are using; this is what I did. Then go to Ebay, there is usually a decent variety of hatchets to choose from. Other options might be a local flea market or used tool shop.

    The one I chose has a hammer on one side and a blade on the opposite side. Some of these might be flat completely flat on one side because they are for a specific purpose which for some reason cannot recall at the moment, possibly something to with shingles???

    Hope this was of some assistance.
    Bob Roeder

    "Why, it's just like shooting squirrels, only these squirrels have guns, that's all."
    Pvt. A.C. Varis, 17th Illinois, at Shiloh

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill, FL
    Posts
    3,858

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    http://www.yesteryearstools.com/Yest...ools/Home.html A link to a site with dozens of sources on period handtools - just look for the hatchet or axe links. There are also two books listed there that I have in my library that are excellent guides to "what's right"
    Ross L. Lamoreaux
    Tampa Bay History Center
    www.tampabayhistorycenter.org
    On Facebook at: Tampa Bay History Center Living History Programs

    "The simplest things, done well, can carry a huge impact" - Karin Timour, 2012

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    187

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    Another good place to check is the Liberty Rifles site. Paul Boccadoro(sp?)has helped me out before with tool questions. They have some great pics and info there. I'm a bit of a period tool hoarder. You can get just what you need(as far as hatchets) on Ebay, and usually at a decent price, IF you know what you're looking for. Hewing hatchets look really period cool, but are only beveled on one side. Period tools are another "under represented" item in the hobby, especially in living history and static type displays. Good handles are harder to find than heads, in my experience. A well preserved "D" handle for a shovel is a thing of beauty to me.

    D.W.(Trace)Scalf

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Princeton Jct., NJ
    Posts
    8

    Default camp hatchet/axe

    There is an example of a hatchet used by federals on display in the Union Drummer Boy in Gettysburg. It is what we might call a carpenter axe. My father, grandfather and I have used the same type of axe to recooper cargo on the waterfront. Hatchet blade with a notch to pull nails on one side and hammer head on the other. I carry one in my knapsack.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    187

    Default

    Well, after going to the Liberty Rifles site, I can't find the research article on axes and tools. But you could probably get it from Paul.

    Trace Scalf

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, NC
    Posts
    92

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    http://sykesregulars.org/equipment/hatchet_pics.php

    Also on same site, look under Uniform Guidelines/photo Image Studies (right sidebar) for a great view of miscellaneous tools. This is a very good site for photo research.
    Bob Williams
    26th NCT
    AAIG, Carolina Legion

  8. #8

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    On p. 84 of Francis Lord's Encyclopedia of the Civil War, Vol. III, there is a photograph of 7 hatchet heads recovered from Spotsylvania, Wilderness, Cold Harbor and Bethesa Church. The dimensions of the heads are given in the text. In vol I, on p. 48 there's a less helpful paragraph description which includes the observation that "there has been practically no change in the design and size of hatchet heads in the last 100 years." (Now remember that he was writing in the early 1960s.) Among the hatchets in the photo are 3 with hammer heads, the first looking surprisingly modern. There are nail pullers present on 2 as well. Antique hatchets aren't hard to find, at least where I live, and are affordable. I bought one for $9 a few years ago. The US Army used to have an issue hatchet, I think the nomenclature was something like "1943 hatchet" that would be perfect for reenacting use. If you google this hatchet, you'll probably find pics of it. Aside from the head and handle being painted green, it's a very run of the mill tool. You should be able to remove the paint without too much trouble. A word of warning: old axe heads are just fine; old handles are not! Even the best handle is going to be dry and will crack and break quickly. You don't want that to happen while you're pounding in your tentpegs.
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Kenosha Wisconsin
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    Thank you for your assitance...
    It is the little things that can make a big difference in your camp impression....
    Richard Schimenti

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    King of Prussia, PA
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    The hatchet in question is known as a shingleler's hatchet. They were designed to shingle roofs. You used the axe side to split shingles and the hammer side to nail the shingles down. You can go to Home Depot, or your local hardware store, and buy one today. Back in the day, these hatchets came in different sizes. I was able to find one with a axe blade only about two inches wide. It's perfect to carry with you when everything goes on your back.

    Another common hatchet was designed for splitting firewood. The axe blade is only beveled on one side. The idea is that the blade kicks the split wood away from you. They are much more heavy than the shingle hatchet. I bring this hatchet to events where I'm not carrying everything on my back!
    Bill Rodman, If you need a really bad example.
    King of Prussia, PA
    wrodman1@aol.com

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