Before factories began manufacturing axe handles, carving your own axe haft was an important craft. Axe handles are traditionally made from hickory in the United States, but white ash and oak are also popular due to their sturdiness and flexibility. As you pick out the wood you want for your replacement handle, test axes with different handle lengths and design until you find an optimal size and style.
Designate a working area with ample light that is clear of any excess dirt or debris. Prepare your working surface with your tools and materials within reach.
Design a pattern for your axe handle based on the desired length and curvature. Sketch the design until you are fully satisfied with the pattern and include the necessary dimensions.
Measure the length of your handle on a two-by-four of hickory or other wood and mark the length and width (including curve angle) with the pencil. Carefully run the board through the table until the desired dimensions have been cut.
Tighten the carpenter's vise around the lower part the wood. Shape the wood with a rasp, gradually removing unneeded wood.
Cut customized notches, corners or indentations in the handle with the drawknife.
Sand the handle with a hand sander to ensure smoothness throughout the haft.
Secure the handle in the carpenter's vise and create a "slot" for the blade of your axe by inserting a thin-bladed dovetail saw. Make the incision carefully and cut 1/2 inch into the handle. Insert the wedge and gently tap with a rubber or wooden mallet.
Place the axe head atop the axe handle and insert it to the gap created by the wedge. Gently tap the head with the mallet, hammering harder as you go. Remove the wedge and complete the axe by applying tung oil to create a smooth finish.