Making a stone axe from scratch

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If you want to make an axes from scratch, you must first create the universe.

Sorry, it’s almost automatic on hearing the phrase “from scratch.” :smile:


Finally, some “paleo” I can actually respect.


How/why does fire harden wood?

Similar to how magnets work, I think.

Nice video. The tips at the end are excellent. Not sure I understood the bit about the sides of the axe head touching the wood. I guess the stone is to be held in place by the wood only at the top and bottom of the hole. Interesting.

Dries it out, causing the fibers to contract, no?

Yeah, that was my first guess, but also maybe some chemical reaction in cellulose, which is I think sugar-based.

this might help


This guy really has an axe to grind…


“Rock stick no kill people; people kill people.”


I really enjoyed his hut making video I saw the other day. Just a guy out making his own stone age paradise.

I used to make them all the time as a kid… Several actually looked quite nice, but none of them could handle more than a couple whacks because I really had no idea how to make one properly.

The “don’t touch sides” tip, I imagine, is because any unexpected torque on the head in use would tent to split the handle. Those are the kinds of things that one might not think of unless it took you a day or two to make a new handle.

Because the fibers in a tree aren’t bound as strongly perpendicular to the trunk as they are parallel with the trunk. This is why if you swing an axe at a chunk of wood along the grain it will split neatly in two. By making the hole so the axe head only touches the top and bottom it applies the pressure along the axis that the tree fibers are strongest.

That’s really damn clever and I would have wasted days making a perfectly sized hole only to have the thing split in two after a few minutes.

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which is more rigid, a wet sponge or a dry sponge?

if you want to dry it without fire, evaporation takes like a year, depending on rainfall/local humidity.

edit: whelp, the best response wasn’t threaded into your replies, so I didn’t see it til after. and you were right about the chemical change. so, yeah. sorry.

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it’s cool, i just thought there might be something interesting to learn there, and it turns out there was.


Not just that, but if it gets wedged in far enough, it’ll blow out the sides. Remember that the grain runs parallel to the long axis of the handle which is also where the wood is thinnest and easy to split off. If it only contacts the top and bottom of the opening, then the axe head only applies force to the wood in a way that uses the tensile strength of the wood which is the part of wood that is most strong.

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Looks more like knapping, though I suppose there is some scratching involved.

He could have save a good deal of time and get a much sharper silex if only someone in his village would flake some cores for him to work into his final product.

Watched the entire video last weekend and had to pick my jaw up off the floor multiple times as this guy just kept making amazing stuff and building up his shelter. Sadly when I showed it to a couple friends the only response I got from them was “Holy sh*t! The next minecraft looks amazing!”

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