Not Just An Axe

Today’s post was written by The Deer Hunter.

Pap's Axe

I haven an affinity for old tools. Old garden tools, hand tools, knives, and especially axes.

I have several axes, a couple of expensive ones, but most of them are just average.

One in particular is very special to me, even though it is not one of the expensive ones. The axe that means the most to me belonged to Pap.

It was mostly used in the garden cutting roots or vines or some invading sapling so it was no stranger to dirt and rocks. I don’t recall how it became mine, but I wouldn’t part with it for any amount of money.

Not long after Pap passed I happened to see it down in the basement. I picked it up and just held it for a while, thinking of the times I’d seen him use it. I quickly decided it should be restored and put to work.

The axe was pretty beat up and the edge was nicked and dinged, even the handle was cracked. I cleaned up the head, reground the edge, and put a new handle in it.

I’m careful with it now. The axe no longer sees dirt nor rocks and I keep the handle well oiled. It has become my favorite wood splitting axe. Each time I use it, I remember not only the fine man that Pap was, but a man who was very good to me and who taught me the importance of family.

The Deer Hunter

Please remember Blind Pig reader Randy and his wife in your prayers. She has suffered complications with her recent heart surgery and the situation looks very grim.


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  • Reply
    Gina Smith
    April 17, 2021 at 10:42 pm

    I love old tools too. I’m reminded of an old joke about a man who owned an ax that belonged to Abraham Lincoln. He took such good care of it over the years he’d only had to replace the head once and the handle twice.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    Hey deerhunter what is the mora knife you use.?is it a companion?

    • Reply
      April 17, 2021 at 9:03 pm

      WncTurkeyHunter- I have one companion that I really like and I have a garberg carbon that I like.

  • Reply
    Leon Pantenburg
    April 16, 2021 at 7:49 am

    That ax is a touchstone to your fond memories. Nice post!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 15, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    My daddy carried a double bitted axe. One side he kept fairly dull and used it for splitting. The other was razor sharp and used for cutting down trees.

    My father’s father Allen Ammons was a woodsman. He made a living from wood. Daddy grew up in the woods. He carried that axe in his hand and a bowsaw slung on his shoulder like an archer carries his bow.

    When it came time to kill a hog Daddy sharpened up his axe. When most people hang a carcass they split it into two sides with a saw. Daddy dipped his axe in the boiling barrel of water and cut the sides away from the backbone.
    Then he cut the ribs into two inch wide strips and cut up the backbone. I don’t remember exactly how he chopped up the backbone. I never liked backbone so I had no interest in knowing I guess.

    One would think that there would be mangled meat and bone splinters from using an axe in butchering an animal but I saw none of that. Everything was as perfect as anything you would see in a butcher shop or a meat display in a grocery store.

    An axe in the hands of someone who knows how to use it is equal to a multiplicity of power tools! An axe is not a tool for a lazy man or a fool though. You have to have the smarts to keep from killing yourself and the willingness to make a living by “the sweat of your brow”.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2021 at 1:28 pm

    Oops! I meant to type Ammons!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    April 15, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    Super column. And I’m praying for Randy and his wife, too. Ed Emmons’s comment says it all.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2021 at 11:44 am

    Tipper, you really have a “keeper” in the Deer Hunter. I too have a Deer Hunter and my boys have learned so much from their dad. A tender, thoughtful, giving and honest man, is to be held in one heart and soul. They are rare and need to be reminded of our deep appreciation.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2021 at 11:30 am

    A beautiful heart felt post and one that so many of us can certainly relate to. I love the old cast iron skillet my mother used that belonged to her mother and now my son loves to use it. We do treasure these old items that were used by our parents and grandparents and people special to us. Prayers lifted for Randy and his wife.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2021 at 11:02 am

    My Dad left many tools. I think I have three hammers, and I cannot bear to part with any of them. He left items none of us recognize their use. Unlike most people, the majority of what he leftis very useful. They leave us many things, but the memories and the knowledge we gained from them is priceless. Deer Hunter, you are a keeper to take such great care of what was left behind by a very great man. For Randy we send thoughts and prayers.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    April 15, 2021 at 10:45 am

    Very good story!

  • Reply
    Sallie, the apple doll lady
    April 15, 2021 at 10:34 am

    What a special tool! And I expect it will continue to be treasured through the generations. As the youngest of 6 I have a few family treasures that I hope will continue to be special. But I also have two special mattocks. I bought the small heads at estate sales and a man who volunteered at the museum where I worked replaced the handles. He hand-carved them and customized the shape to fit me. One looks very curved and crooked but is so comfortable to use. He brought it partially finished and had me pick it up as if to use it. He then marked where I held it and carved it to fit. Of course I think of him each time I use it. These are not family pieces but I wonder about who used them before and am thankful that I was able to restore them to useful tools. If you haven’t posted before I would like to know the kind of oil used to preserve the handles as well as how to care for and preserve the heads. I never thought to ask those around me who should know. Also how to sharpen tools. I’m sure I can look it up. Thanks to you and Matt and to Pap, too.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 15, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Randy, if you are reading this remember that the thing that has failed is only a muscle that pumps blood. Her real heart is where Jesus is and it is still as perfect as when she invited him to dwell there!

  • Reply
    aw griff
    April 15, 2021 at 9:56 am

    I thought about the tools I have that were Dad’s and I do have several. The one that is most precious to me may not be considered a tool by some but Dad considered it a tool. It is his 20 ga. franchi shotgun. It is slightly scarred and a little bluing wore off but functions very well. Dad and I spent over 40 years grouse hunting together and I relive many hunts we had together. As the old saying goes: I wudn’t trade a farm in GA. for it.

  • Reply
    Patricia Small
    April 15, 2021 at 9:49 am

    It’s a special thing to hold something that once belonged to someone we loved and remember them.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2021 at 9:29 am

    Deer Hunter, you have a way with words. Reading this entry made me want to take that axe in my hands and feel its heft and smoothness; feel the memories of the man you knew.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2021 at 9:20 am

    My ex-husband took all my family’s old tools including my papaw’s old sickle and mom’s garden hoe with an extra long handle. Among the other tools he took was a very unique ax my uncle found in the hills while he was hunting ‘sang’ as a young boy. The ax had a small head and a shorter than normal handle, a real treasure for a young boy to find so many years ago. Sadly, no amount of money could have bought the tools that were take out of revenge by the most evil man still living.
    Praying for Randy and his wife and will continue to ask the Lord to wrap His loving arms around them during this troubling time.

  • Reply
    Ray Presley
    April 15, 2021 at 9:19 am

    It’s obvious that Pap’s old ax still holds some very fond memories. Even after it was cleaned up, his personality, with the still-visible nicks and gouges, still shows. As we go through life, each of us leaves a mark and we never know whether it will be held dear or not. I remember when one of my uncles died and left an old, beat-up Dodge pickup truck which you think would evoke fond memories. Perhaps it did for some, but my cousin (his son) pointed to the old , worn and torn work gloves that were left over the gear shift. They still held the imprint of my uncle’s hands and those were what he wanted to hold on to.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    April 15, 2021 at 9:13 am

    Deer Hunter has deep thoughts like Tipper and they’re both so very well spoken. That’s more than an axe, it’s a part of your life history. Family is everything and sometimes includes non- blood kin you’re proud to call family. Pap had to have been a mighty fine man in all he did in love for his family. He would be proud of you all today and he’s smiling down from heaven you can believe it!!!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    April 15, 2021 at 8:43 am

    That looks like a Hudson Bay pattern to me, kinda like a long-handled tomahawk. I have one and they are the most versatile kind of axe; light and small enough to make shavings, split kindling, sharpen and drive a stake, etc but that long handle allows for at least medium chopping work. It is an excellent choice for boat, car or tent camping and I have even taken mine backbacking, though that is a stretch. I won mine in a field day competition, which adds a bit extra.

    Randy, praying for you and your wife in this time of trouble. Lord, walk with them each step of the way, hold them in the hollow of your hand and turn these trials into blessing according to the working whereby you are able to subdue all things unto yourself.

    AW, sure good to see your post again. Like Tipper, I’ve been concerned about you. Sorry to hear you have been so sick and praying for your steady recovery.

    • Reply
      aw griff
      April 15, 2021 at 9:37 am

      Thanks Ron. I probably won’t be on here everyday, too many appointments and my wife is sick also and has lots of Dr. appointments. It’s been a trying winter for us and then all the ice storms.

  • Reply
    Sanford McKinney Jr
    April 15, 2021 at 8:04 am

    Dear Deer Hunter,
    I like that axe and the restoration you did.. It is obvious to me that Pap left many happy memories with the family and I expect even those outside the family. Your tribute to Pap was beautiful.
    Excuse my stutter in the salutation.

  • Reply
    April 15, 2021 at 8:02 am

    Family is everything and sometimes doesn’t rely on blood to make it so.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 15, 2021 at 7:59 am

    Holding good thoughts for Randy and his wife!
    Yes, Pap was a good man and wonderful father to his children and their families. I do think he is one of the finest men I have ever known. I also put you in the category of fine man and father.
    The ax is beautiful and it has a wonderful feel. I know that because I have held it in my hands. I really love the old tools both for their quality and their longevity, there was a real quality to the older tools that you don’t see in the newer made ones. There is an energy of quality that is missing in the tools made today.
    I miss pap too, he was a fine man!

  • Reply
    Glenna Smith
    April 15, 2021 at 7:49 am

    I will remember ,Randy and his wife in my prayers,God is the great healer. I also love using items that were my parents and grandparents. I can get upset when I lose one or some were stolen. It’s like they took a piece of my heart that I’ll never get back. I still use mom’s iron skillet and rolling pin.. A beautiful vase my uncle brought back from Japan and a table from my grandmother were stolen and my dad’s steel slide guitar. I still have a Duncan Phyfe sofa that needs recovering. I don’t feel that the younger generation cares or wants these things. That is sad to say. I love your story about your Pap’s axe and hope you enjoy the use and memories it brings to you.

    • Reply
      April 15, 2021 at 7:57 pm

      My youngest daughter has my Mama’s rolling pin, iron skillet, cake pan, and cookbooks. We have my Daddy’s level. It’s wood and a long one. I treasure all the family heirlooms I have. They furnish most of my house.

  • Reply
    Walter Holokai - The Hawaiian Hillbilly”
    April 15, 2021 at 7:04 am

    It’s an heirloom and a treasure. Well written and heart felt.

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