52 Art of Travel.
The Handle of the Axe should, we think, be made of ash. We recommend this wood in preference to deal, which is lighter and nearly as strong, because in choosing a piece of ash it is easier to select with certainty thoroughly sound and wellseasoned wood ; and in preference to hickory and lance-wood, which are stronger, because those woods are extremely heavy.
The handle should, we believe, be of a very slightly oval form, as it is then more convenient to the grasp than it round. As to the thickness of the wood, we are satisfied it ought nowhere to be less than 13 inch, since a pole of that diameter, made of ordinarily good ash, is the smallest which cannot be permanently bent by a heavy man's most violent effort; although we have seen some pieces of unusually strong ash of a less thickness, which proved inflexible.
We recommend, then, that the oval section of the handle should have a shorter diameter of 13 inch, and a longer diameter of 11 inch, and that the thickness should be the same from one end to the other. The length of the handles for Nos. 1 and 2 should be such that they will reach to just under the arm at the shoulder. The handle for No. 3, which is intended to be used exclusively as an axe, should be between 3I and 4 feet long. The lower end of the handle should be strengthened in the usual way by a ferrule, and armed with a spike.
The spike should be from 3i to 4 inches long, clear of the end of the handle, and should have a shank of the same length to be screwed into the wood. The screw should he prevented from moving by a slight rivet passed through it near the upper end after it is fastened in. The exact form of the spike and ferrule are represented in the diagram.
We have farther to recommend for axe-handles an addition which is liable to suspicion as an entire innovation, but which, we are confident, will be found valuable at those critical moments when the axe is required to hold up two or three men. It has happened that when the axe has been struck into the snow a man has been unable to keep his hold of the handle, which slips out of his hand, and leaves him perfectly helpless. To guard against this mischance, we propose to fasten a hand of leather round the handle, at a distance of a foot from the ferrule at the lower end. This leather should be about an eighth of an inch thick, and will be quite sufficient to check the hand when it is sliding down the handle. It should be lashed round the wood and strained tight when wet.
Alpenstocks.-`What we have said about the handle of the axe applies in all respects to the Alpenstock, except that the length of the latter should be different, and that the leathern ring would of course not be required. It is generally thought most convenient that the Alpenstock should be high enough to touch the chin of its owner, as he stands upright ; but this is a matter on which it is scarcely possible, and, were it possible, scarcely necessary to lay down an absolute rule.
Boots.-Several nails are sure to be knocked out after each hard day's work, therefore a reserve supply is necessary in lands where none other are to be found. No makeshift contrivance, so far as I am aware, will replace the iron last used by shoemakers when they hammer nails into the boot. There is a well-known contrivance of screws with jagged heads, for screwing into boots when a little ice has to be crossed. They do excellently for occasional purposes, but not for regular icework, as they are easily torn out. Crampons are soles of leather with spikes ; they are tied over the shoes, but neither
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