What are the different types of axes?

types of axes

A good axe has been indispensable to man for over a millennia. There are many different types of axes, making it hard to know the exact one you need. Whether you heat your home totally with wood or just need a few split logs for a fireplace, firepit or campfire, you’re going to need the proper axe.

Read through these descriptions to help you select the right kind of axe for the cutting jobs you need to do.


Felling Axe


If you can only have one axe, this is it! The long, 30+ inch handle, thin sharp blade and mid-weight head make this axe perfect for chopping down trees and cutting off tree limbs.

This axe, also called a single bit, is also good for splitting firewood and can be used for any other type of wood cutting job you have.

 

Hudson Bay Axe

This axe is so named because it was used by French fur traders in the Hudson Bay area in the 17th century. It’s still in the top five must-have kinds of axes because it has stood the test of time with it’s practical uses.

The Hudson Bay axe is the best kind of axe for chopping firewood. This axe is shorter and lighter than a felling axe and will help you turn a felled tree into a pile of ready-to-burn firewood and kindling in record time.

Splitting Axe / Splitting Maul

A splitting axe is a large, heavy axe designed to split hardwood and also called a splitting maul. This axe has a head with a sharp side and a dull, broad side. The dull, broad side is the maul. This is used as a hammer to drive a steel wedge into hardwood. It’s used when wood is too tough to split with the sharp axe side.

 

Camping Axe

A camping axe is smaller, lightweight and easy to carry with you while on a camping trip.

This type of axe typically has a sheath to cover the sharp head and a loop on the handle so it can be attached to a backpack or belt. Don’t let the small size of a camping axe fool you, it still has the power to fell small trees and chop all the wood for a camp fire.

With one sharp side on the axe head, the other side acts as a hammer to help drive in tent stakes and other hammering needs you may encounter around the campsite.

Double Bit Axe

A double bit axe is sharp on both sides. This allows it to cut going and coming. Not the kind of axe for beginners, but one that will enable a pro to cut twice as much wood between blade sharpenings.

 

Broad Axe

A broad axe is a large, heavy axe that is used for hewing logs. A high-quality broad axe will have bevelled edges on each side to enable you to make precision cuts into large logs when building a cabin or furniture.

 

Carpenter’s Axe

A carpenter’s axe is the right axe for making precision cuts when doing fine woodworking.

About the size of a camping axe, this axe can be used to fell small trees and split small logs, but its real use lies in the finger notch located on the neck of the handle. By placing your hand at the neck base of a carpenter’s axe, you’ll be able to make precision cuts and incisions into wood like those made with a power handsaw.

 

Shingling Axe

A shingling Axe is used to install wood shingles (chop them if desired too). This kind of axe is small, easy to handle and typically has a nail slot, draw knife and measuring tool built-in.

 

Forest Axe

Also called a Boy’s axe, a forest axe is a cross between a felling axe and a camping axe. It’s lightweight with a 2 pound head and an 18 -26 inch handle. A forest axe can tackle most any cutting job without using up all the user’s strength.

 

 

Handles

All axe handles traditionally used to be made from one piece of hickory wood, many still are today because of the strength of hickory wood. There are other choices for handle material today, including plastic and metal. Some handles are covered with cushioned, non-slip grips. There is no one right or wrong handle style of material, just the one that feels best in your hand.

As a rule of thumb to use when selecting hand length, regardless of handle material, is if the handle is longer than your arm, it’s best used for splitting wood. If the axe handle is shorter than your arm, it’s best used for cutting wood.

 

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