How To Replace An Axe Handle & Make Your Tool Last Longer

Have you noticed that your axe handle has a crack?

If you want to keep using your axe for years to come, then replacing the handle is a must-do repair. This guide will show you how to replace an axe handle.

How to choose the right axe handle?

An old axe

An old axe

Here are several factors you should consider when considering how to replace an axe handle.

Axe Handle Length & Shape

An axe with a long handle

An axe with a long handle

Handle length is a matter of personal preference and the task at hand. For example, a longer handle is better if you use your axe to split logs because it gives you more leverage.

If you’re planning on chopping firewood, a shorter handle would be better as it’s easier to swing without losing control of the axe.

Grain orientation

An axe with a strong handle in action

When choosing an axe handle, you must know its grain orientation. It refers to how parallel or perpendicular to the head of your axe the handle’s fibers are. 

The best grain orientation comes from straight-growing trees.

The parallel running fibers make handles from such trees strong enough to handle the impact and pressure of splitting wood.

Heartwood or sapwood

The difference between heartwood and sapwood

The difference between heartwood and sapwood

Heartwood is wood cut from the center of a tree trunk and has a darker color. Sapwood comes from the outer layer of bark on trees and tends to be lighter in color.

It is also less dense and lighter in weight. Due to the two’s inconsequential strength difference, the sapwood makes a better axe handle because of its lightness.


Varnish is the most common type of finish on an axe handle. The Varnish protects your axe from moisture and helps it stay in good condition. Varnished handles are easier to grip.

But the chemicals used to formulate Varnish, like formaldehyde, can irritate your skin.

How to Replace an Axe Handle?

You will need the following:

  • A drill
  • Hammer
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Mallet
  • Wedge
  • Punch
  • Your new axe handle

Wear work gloves and eye protection.

How to Remove an Axe Handle- Step by Step 

Now that you have all the tools you need let’s learn how to replace an axe handle using them.

 Remove the Old Handle

A carpenter sawing wood

A carpenter sawing wood

Saw off ¾ of the handle, leaving a small part to make for easy handling. Use your hammer to knock off the remaining part of the handle from the axehead.

You can hasten this process by drilling holes into the attached handle.


If there are still tiny bits of the old handle, use sandpaper to smoothen them out. Ensure the eye of the axehead is completely clean and dust free before installing the new handle.

How to Install a New Axe Handle

Fit in the new handle

Long wooden axe handles

Begin by creating a small groove in both ends of your new handle using a hammer and punch. When you’ve made that groove, slide it onto your axe until it fits snugly over both ends.

If you have any gaps or issues with fitting, sand them down or shave off extra material until everything is tightly attached.


Once you’ve fitted your new handle, wedge it into place by placing a small block of wood between it and the blade, then hammering down on top of that block until it’s secure inside your axe head.

You can add a bit of wood glue and let it dry overnight. It will ensure that your axe head stays together when it’s time for action.


Axe handles of good quality make your work easier and more efficient.

However, picking the best axe handle requires effort, as it must fit your height. Furthermore, it would be best to consider what you’d primarily use the axe for.

Therefore, it’s helpful to know how to replace an axe handle so that everything goes according to plan.