For thousands of years, axes have been invaluable tools for chopping wood, felling trees, and other heavy-duty cutting tasks. Today, axes remain popular among homeowners, landscapers, survivalists, and hobbyists alike. If you’re in the market for a new axe, here is an overview of the different types available and what to look for when making your purchase.
Axes come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, each designed for specific uses:
- Felling Axes: Used for chopping down trees, felling axes have a long handle and heavy, wide blade ideal for making big cuts. The added weight and leverage help drive deep into thick trunks and branches.
- Splitting Mauls: To split logs along the grain, a splitting maul is thicker and heavier than a felling axe for sale. The poll (backside of the axe head) is often wedge-shaped to further aid in separating wood.
- Hatchets: A hatchet has a short handle and small blade head, making it ideal for light camp chores, kindling splitting, and portable chopping jobs.
- The compact size and one-handed use make it easy to carry and control.
- Broad Axes: Featuring a broad, curved blade, broad axes excel at hewing and shaping logs into beams and other squared timbers. The broad edge distributes force evenly across log surfaces.
- Carpentry/Hand Axes: General purpose axes for medium-duty chopping, carpentry axes have a balanced head suitable for felling small trees, limb removal, stake driving, and other tasks.
What to Look For
When browsing axes for sale, keep these qualities in mind:
- Head Material: Most modern axes have steel or forged iron heads. High-carbon steel is ideal for strength and edge retention. Avoid cheap cast iron.
- Handle Material: Ash, hickory, and maple are common axe handle woods, providing a combination of strength, shock absorption, and durability. The handle grain should run straight along the length.
- Handle Length: Long handles (28+ inches) give added chopping power but less control. Short handles are more maneuverable. Choose based on your stature and intended use.
- Weight Distribution: A balanced axe head generates more striking force. Make sure the head isn’t handle-heavy or blade-heavy.
- Sharpness: Axes are meant to penetrate as well as cut, so look for a fine yet sturdy edge. Avoid nicked or rounded edges.
- Head/Handle Attachment: The head should be firmly attached using a wooden or plastic wedge. Make sure the head has no side-to-side movement.
- Safety Sheath: For storage and safe transport, choose an axe with a protective sheath over the blade.
With proper care and maintenance, a quality axe can last a lifetime. Be sure to inspect your new axe and sharpen the edge before heavy use. Investing in a good axe is worth the upfront cost for the capabilities it provides. Whether for work or recreation, let a new axe make your cutting jobs easier and safer.