Axe, hatchet & co. are constantly put to the test throughout the season – head and handle in steel and wood can cope with plenty, but the materials can suffer with the wrong care and storage. Cracks in the handle indicate that there is a need to act to prevent it from breaking while in use.

OCHSENKOPF explains how to relatively easy it is to replace the old handle with a new one.


Have a good look at your axe, splitting hammer and hatchet before you put them away in the shed at the end of the season. After tree felling and forestry work, the preparations for the next season, care and storage are the be-all and end-all. Otherwise you can expect a (nasty) surprise with the first stroke of the axe. 

Even though the hickory and ash that OCHSENKOPF uses for its handles are two of the strongest and longest-lasting materials there are, the fact is they are still natural materials. Environmental influences such as the weather and temperature can affect the wood over time. Product care and the right storage are also extremely important in order to maintain the quality for the long term.

But what to do if the handle cracks or breaks?

If the handle does break or crack, there is no need to replace the entire tool. We say: re-helve, don't throw away. However, to achieve the customary level of safety, quality should also be an issue when re-helving.

The OCHSENKOPF replacement handle is pre-milled to suit the particular eye. Then there is the safety equipment that is included in the delivery: the ring and wooden edge that guarantee safe working. Our OCHSENKOPF replacement handles come ready for use, and can be put to work straight away. The German Institute for Standardisation (Deutsches Institut für Normung – DIN) specifies what the maximum moisture content of a handle may be on delivery.

Out with the old, in with the new. The correct way to remove a faulty ROTBAND-PLUS handle.

The faulty handle has to be removed before the new one can be inserted. With the right tips and tricks, removing a broken handle is easy – even with the ROTBAND-PLUS system.

For optimum results, follow these instructions step by step. Get the required materials and tools in advance:

  • Twist drill
  • Hammer
  • In-hex screwdriver
  • Saw
  • Pin punch
  • Non-slip base
  • Replaement handle

Remove the safety disc

In the first step, remove the safety disc. Use e.g. an in-hex screwdriver to remove the wood screw. The safety pin can stay in the wood. Then remove the safety disc.

Remove the faulty handle

Establish whether the handle has broken outside or inside the eye. If it has broken outside, then saw the handle off under the axe head. If the handle has broken inside the eye, then there is no need to saw. You can also push or hammer out the wood remaining in the eye.

If you are unable to drive out the handle, that means there is too much pressure in the eye. In this case, drill a few holes. This reduces the pressure and makes pushing easier. Do this with the twist drill mentioned above. Please pay particular care to the ring wedges countersunk into the wood. Remove all traces of wood and/or adhesive from the eye to ensure that the new handle goes in smoothly.

Helving. An instruction for OCHSENKOPF ROTBAND-PLUS


Connecting head and handle

The protective steel sleeve is pre-mounted on the handle. Insert the handle in the axe head. Make sure that the wording on the handle and axe are on the same side.


Driving in the handle

Place the axe head side down on a non-slip base. Drive the handle into the axe head with a suitable tool (e.g. hammer). It is essential that the protective steel sleeve and the head fit together perfectly.


Inserting the wooden wedge

Insert the pointed side of the wooden wedge into the appropriate slit of the handle and hammer repeatedly until it no longer protrudes over the eye of the axe head. Saw off any surplus material. You can grease the tip of the wedge to improve its sliding properties.


Marking the hole

Place the safety disc on the eye of the axe head so it is completely covered. Now transfer the positions of the holes in the safety disc onto the handle using e.g. a pencil. Place the safety disc to one side.


Driving in the ring wedges

Hammer the ring wedges into the handle beside the marks leaving sufficient space for the safety pin and screw. It might be difficult to drive in the ring wedge (high repression). It is best done with a hammer and mallet to prevent damage to the ring wedges. Please note: The 18mm ring wedge is hammered into the wide side, the 16mm ring wedge into the narrow side of the eye.


Fixing the safety disc

Once the ring wedge has been hammered in so it is no longer protruding beyond the eye of the axe, use a 4.5mm drill bit to drill a hole approx. 60-80mm deep in the place marked for the screw hole. Now secure the safety disc with the countersunk drill hole to the outside, using the wood screw supplied. Please note: The safety disc must be aligned so it rests against the whole axe head and completely covers the axe eye.


Safety check

Hammer the enclosed safety pin through the safety disc. This prevents the disc from turning to the side. Then perform a visual check to ensure that all the components have been fitted and connected correctly.

Got any questions?

Perhaps our Magazine will help. And if you can't find what you're looking for there, please don't hesitate to contact us.


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