Done with the vinegar mixture and all rust cleaned off (thanks dodgynomad, I will be using that again). It has very little pitting and after rubbing some 3-in-1 oil on it, I think I will leave the finish as this. I have fully polished an axe in the past but I really like the way this one looks.
Next step is to clean up the edges on the poll and get the edge how I want it. I think it will be used for general chopping/ felling/ limbing and trail clearing.
This has been a huge debate for a awhile. If you are a beginner at hanging axes I would suggest going to the local hardware and buying the straightest handle you can find. This way if you screw it up you are only out $14.00. There are places online with perfect grain orientation and no grain run out and all the things all the the YouTube bushcrafters tell you are important. I say F all that non sense. Plus all the boutique handles are usually sold out or crazy expensive. If you feel you need or still want a boutique handle look up kilinger on you tube or Google kilinger axe handles. Plus, Bucking Billy Ray is cool and all, however, there is a new kid on YouTube doing a real good job with axe videos. Kevin kevech. Check him out too.I will watch these. Anyone with recommendations on where to get a handle? I can look at TSC or local hardware store and check for good grain, but are their good online sources?
A 4in hand tool or wood rasp works great for shaping the handle so it slides in the eye nicely. A palm sander with 80 grit works to, however, it just creates a lot of dust though. Don’t be scared to thin the handle down. Hardware store handles come super thick. Don’t be shy to shorten it some too. I’m guessing it’s a 36” handle? I’m also working on hanging an axe with a hardware store handle. I’m experimenting with thinning it way down and shortening to about 30”. I may loose the whole fawns foot but that’s ok. You won’t know what you like until you try different things.I bought what I think is a pretty good handle from TSC. I checked the other local hardware stores and this one seemed to be the best of the bunch. The grain is pretty straight and oriented well with only a little grain run out. Best of all it was straight. I looked at maybe 25 handles between the 3 stores and went with this one.
I've been busy with other projects lately but will get back to this soon. I am going to order come of the conical keys just to try them rather than the standard V keys that came with the handle.