The wood around the eye of an axe can get brittle and the head can get loose. To solve the problem of a loose head, some authors have advised to soak it in water to swell the wood. But when it dries out, the head is loose again, and more brittle, often more than when you started. There is only one way that these so-called experts don’t know this; they’ve never done what they’re advising others to do. If you want your axe head to stay tight and you don’t want the wood to get brittle, soak it head-down in a container with an inch of a 50/50 mix of linseed oil and turpentine. Leave it to soak for a few days, or put in in the container at night when you’re not using it. And beware the advice of experts.