The last time I was visiting my girlfriend in Austria we found a hewing axe blade rusting away outside in a chopping block. It was in a pretty sorry state with no handle, rust and some horrendous dents and nicks in the blade. The owner told us he used it for splitting kindling and cutting bones and had no idea what it’s real purpose was. My enthusiasm must have won him over because in the end he said I could have it if I thought it would actually be any use to me.
It took few hours with the angle grinder to take away the nicks then files and whetstones to shape and sharpen the edge. The ash handle fits into a tapering sockets in the head and is offset from the line of the blade. This allows the user to work along the side of a beam without grazing their knuckles as they work.
I find a special sort of pride in rescuing and restoring old tools for use. There’s a feeling that I am honouring the work not only of the original toolmaker but all the craftspeople who used that tool until the time when it was discarded. Tools are important, they deserve respect.