What you need to know about Axes
The type of axe you need will depend on the task you have in mind. Felling Axes
are intended for chopping across the wood's grain, as is the case when cutting down trees. As a result they are very sharp & have narrow heads, intended to bite deeply into the wood. Log Splitting Axes
, on the other hand, cut down the length of the grain; their heads are broad & wedge shaped, in order to push wood fibres apart. For broader heads, more force is required, but also more splitting pressure is exerted. Splitting Wedges
are similar & are usually used where particularly tough wood needs to be split. They have no shaft, and rely on an impact from an implement such as a sledgehammer to drive them into the wood. Setting the Splitting Wedge is more time consuming than using an axe alone, but they can be more precisely positioned and remain in the wood after the first few blows. Hand/Hatchet Axes
are smaller, lighter axes that can be held in one hand. They are used by campers, outdoorsmen & carpenters for general cutting and splitting tasks; they can also be used around the home for branch trimming & gardening purposes.
Safety when using your axe
Jarring to the arms and shoulders can be a concern when using an axe. For added comfort & protection, consider investing in an axe with an Antishock Handle
. The dull side of an axe can be used much like a hammer or mallet, for instance for driving in tent pegs. Particularly if using your axe in this way, but during normal useage too, beware of rebound. Ensure that you choose an axe that is the right size and weight for you. The length of an axe should reflect your height and reach; the weight your level of strength. You will not always be able to provide more momentum with a heavier axe.
If using a Felling Axe, make certain that you know in which direction the tree will fall & that the area below is clear. Do not use a Felling Axe if you are not confident in your ability to use it safely. Hand/Hatchet Axes should not be used for felling. When using a Log Splitting Axe or Splitting Wedge, use dry wood that will not be too difficult to cut. Your task will be made easier if you exploit existing faults in the wood & avoid obstructions like knots or twists in the grain.
Maintaining your Axe
To protect your axe from rusting, cover it with a sheath when not in use. Do not leave it exposed to the elements; keep it indoors, preferably in a container such as a toolbox. Treating the blade with GT85
will also protect your axe from rusting, by repelling moisture. Axe blades require regular sharpening which should be undertaken after use or before storage. You can use a coarse Whetstone
or Wet Bench Grinder
in order to do this, though you must take care to maintain the original shape of the edge. Wooden axe handles should be treated with Boiled Linseed Oil
to keep them in good condition.