‘Hawk Bit Guard “How-To” Added

This week’s post started out as a discussion about how I came to the decision to make a leather bit guard with a Native American influence for the Long Lake ax, rather than the more elaborate Alexander-MacKenzie-style sheath and shoulder strap.

John Cummins forging a reproduction trade ax.

John Cummins forging a reproduction of an 18th-century ax head found in Long Lake near Hastings, Michigan.

I’ve had the Long Lake ax head for longer than I wish to admit to. John Cummins did a fine job with duplicating the head with only a photocopy to work with. Hafting the ax proved problematic, and once completed I needed to protect the historical me from the ax’s keen edge.

Like so often happens, an article “grows legs” and morphs into a much bigger project, and thus the addition of two more pages to the How-To section of the site.

The first is an introduction that addresses some modern safety concerns, tells how I came to the decision to make a bit guard and what primary documentation I based this not-so-period-correct choice on.

The second page is the actual How-To for making a bit cover. Down the road, I expect to make a sheath for the Long Lake ax as I will be using it with my trading post hunter persona, too—same trade ax, same 1790-era time period and region, but different social standing and background for the persona.

With any luck, over the next few weeks I’ll make a dent in my backlog of How-To projects that are already completed. These articles take a lot more time than a blog post, so please bear with me.

Be safe and may God bless you,

Dennis Neely

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