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An axe is a hand tool that can be used a s cutting tool or a weapon. It comes with a heavy head blade, mounted crosswise on a handle, and used for felling trees or chopping wood. It is also used for chopping, splitting, chipping, and piercing. Axes have been in use since a long period of time and with time, the shape and size of the tool changed. Stone Age hand axes were there as simple stone implements which later in 30,000 BC acquired wooden hafts or handles. Copper-bladed axes originated in Egypt about 4000 BC and then came the axes with blades of bronze and eventually iron.

Quality axes are manufactured through a hot-forged process, then heat treated and tempered. The best grade of forged axes has beveled blades to reduce binding in the wood. In many cases, axes are also known by the term "hatchets".

Parts of a hand axe

Axe Styles
  • Single bit: The most popular style of axes, Single bit axes are used to fell, trim or prune trees, to split or cut wood, or to drive wood stakes. They are the easiest and safest for an inexperienced woodcutter to use because they have only one cutting edge. The other end of the head forms a hammer for driving wooden stakes; it should never be used to strike splitting wedges, steel posts, stone or any hard object. Single-bit axes should never be struck by another striking tool.

  • Double bit: Double bit axes, with two cutting edges, perform the same functions as the single-bit versions. These are used by professional lumbermen.

  • Axe Handle Styles: he haft or the handles of a hand axe is either made of wood or metal. Modern axes often have hafts made of durable synthetic materials. Those axes with metal handles or hafts usually have a rubber handle around the grip. Axe handles are made of hickory and range from 20" to 36" long. The most common is 36". Handles for single-bit axes are curved to help increase leverage. Double-bit axes have straight handles because the handle must be symmetrical with the double-edge head.

  • Axe Patterns: Axe pattern refers to the shape and type of cutting edge. Standard patterns for double-bit axes are Western, Michigan, Swamping and Reversible. Those for single-bit axes are Michigan, Dayton, Kentucky, Connecticut and New Jersey.
Types of axes
Hand axe: This is the most common form of axe and can be used using one hand. It is used for trimming and cutting small firewood, thin branches and twigs. It is advisable not to use such a tool on live or green wood.

Felling axe: It is similar in design like a hand axe but larger and heavier and should be used with both the hands at all times. It is used to provide a lot more force than a hand axe. They come in various weights and sizes and used for felling upright living trees. The size of the axe depends on the size and strength of the person using it. An Incorrect size can be very harmful.

Belt Axes: Belt axes have light, camp or utility use. These single-bit models are equipped with a sheath for wearing on a belt. The Boy Scout axe is the most familiar belt axe.

Log-splitting axes: Log-splitting axes can split most woods in one stroke. Rotating levers in the head convert each downward stroke into a direct outward force, preventing the blade from sticking in the log. Improvised models feature handles of high-impact plastic molded around a fiberglass shaft, making them virtually unbreakable.

Hatchets: Hatchets are a combination tool, part hammer and part axe. Some hatchets, such as half hatchets or carpenters' hatchets, are for general use; others, such as flooring, lath and shingling hatchets, are used for special tasks like laying hardwood floors and installing drywall or gypsum board. The striking face is intended for pounding on nothing harder than common nails. It should never be struck with another hatchet or a hammer. The quality of hatchet is determined by the grade of steel used in the head, material in the handle, how it is attached, and type of tempering and sharpening used in the manufacture of the hatchet.

Wedges: Wedges are made of steel, aluminum and plastic. Steel wedges are forged from a solid piece of high-carbon steel and may be heat treated. Aluminum and plastic wedges are designed primarily for use with chain saws and crosscut saws to hold the kerf apart to prevent binding. An axe can also be used to make a starting notch and a maul used to drive the wedge. Wedges should be struck with a sledge or woodchopper's maul having a larger striking face than the head of the wedge.

Maul: A woodchopper's maul is similar to a sledgehammer, but one end of the head is wedge- shaped, which is used to make a starting notch. A wedge is inserted and struck with the hammer end of the maul head.

Axe/ Hatchet
Drill Bit
Shovel/ Spade

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