Different Types of Axes

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Since the dawn of man, tools have been used for living, protecting and building. An axe is one of those tools that was invented by cavemen and has lasted through the millennia with very few improvements or changes. Axes can be used for battle, farm work, construction and a nice interior decoration piece if you’re into medieval aesthetics. Each style of the axe has a very specific use. Like the many different uses, there are many different types of axes.

What is an Axe and How do You Pick One? 

Ochsenkopf Champion axe

By definition, an axe is a tool used to chop wood. It’s a piece of wood with heavy and sharp metal going through it. When searching for an axe, you have to be aware of multiple factors. The handle, weight and size have a heavy influence on which one you want. Axes are dangerous so be sure to purchase one you can handle comfortably. You can’t chop a tree and an apple with the same axe. Size and weight have a lot to do with it. Be sure to get an axe that you have the strength to wield in one hand. Double-check the handle for proper grip to prevent it from slipping through your hands.

What are the Different Types of Axes?

At the end of the day, you can use one axe for many different things but some axes have very specific uses so they’re built differently. In those different forms of axes, there are subcategories. This is why you properly inspect the type of axe and weigh it against what actions you need to take. There are two primary types of axes and one speciality type. The two primary types are a survival axe that is used for anything dealing with survival in the woods; the work type axe is used for construction and splitting wood. The specialty axe is for war and combat. 

Types of Survival Axes

U.S. Marines by MTech USA M-X001 Tactical Axe,

One of the survival axes is a tactical axe. It’s basically the same as a multitool. A tactical axe can be used as a hammer, a weapon, a prybar and a shovel. If you are feeling risky, you can even use it to chop something. Hudson Bay and Forest Axes are used for heavy-duty chopping. These axes are built extra thick to maintain integrity when getting through thicker trees.

Types of Work Type Axes

Kings County Tools Professional Splitting Maul

WilFiks Chopping Axe, 15” Camping Outdoor Hatchet for Wood Splitting and Kindling, Forged Carbon Steel Heat Treated Hand Maul Tool, Fiberglass Shock Reduction Handle with Anti-Slip Grip

Gransfors Bruks American Felling Axe, 35 Curved Handle

Carpenter Axe

Splitting maul, Hatchet, Felling and the carpenter axe are four of the working type of axes. These axes specifically are built with a thicker metal near the end. Even while chopping wood, an axe can be damaged. The thicker metal head means the axe can chop through thicker trees without as much damage. Chopping trees down, splitting wood and removing tree limbs require a different amount of power. So yes they’re all built nearly identical but the handles and weight are vastly different because of swinging power. The Double Bit Axe is a specialty axe because it combines two variations of the felling axe onto one handle. Switching between needs at the flip of the wrist.

The other working axes are almost all self-explained in their name. A miner’s axe is typically used in tight spaces. It has a small handle and head so it’s easier to swing with minimal momentum. A Dayton axe is the longer form of the miner’s axe for when you are in a more spacious area. The Broad axe is a simple axe with a broader head. With a heavier and wider head, this axe is excellent for hewing and notching wood. A shepherd’s axe is primarily a walking stick but can be used for removing small limbs from pathways and cutting small items. Anything that a shepherd may come across in his daily herding duties.

Grivel Nepal S.A. Ice Axe + Leash Red, 58cm

Executioner's Axe

A rare working axe that many will most likely never come across is the ice axe. Unless you live in a frozen tundra or visit one frequently, you will never need an ice axe. They are used to dig into ice and give the owner leverage when either scaling an icy mountain or walking across frozen lakes. An obsolete ax is the Executioner’s ax. These became rare with the introduction of the guillotine but now we have no need for strong-armed executioners’s so you won’t find this axe outside of movie sets and history exhibits.

Types of War and Combat Axes

Hogue 35777 Knives EX-T01 Tomahawk Flat Dark Earth

Ebros Gift Renaissance Medieval Crusader Knight with Bardiche Pole Axe and Large Shield Figurine 5" H Suit of Armor Dollhouse Miniature Knights Sculpture Decor Holy Roman Empire War Soldier Statue

Battle axe’s are axes specifically for close combat. Strong enough to chop through chainmail and knight’s armour. The Tomahawk is a Native American weapon that can be used for general labor but it shines as a projectile weapon and close combat body chopper. Tomahawks are also used when taking down animals. In medieval times, it was harder to combat fighters on horseback. With longswords and spears, a combatant on horseback could strike you before getting too close. The Bardiche was created to level the playing field. With its medium-sized head and long extended handle, any foot soldier could get a mighty swing in and knocked the fighter from the top of the horse for a more personal fight.

These are the types of axes and their general purposes. If you have any more questions or want to know more about axes, hack through our website for all your answers.


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