What Is An Axe? What Is An Axe Used For?

what is an axe
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An axe is a handheld edge tool used primarily to chop wood. An axe consists of a flattish metal head with a sharp edge on one side (occasionally two sides) of the head and a handle which is traditionally made from wood.

The axe is used for and has a history of being used for felling trees, forestry management, carpentry roles, outdoor pursuits, preparing firewood, as a safety tool and as a weapon.

The axe is one of the oldest tools known to man with roots back to the Stone Age. Over the ages the axe has roughly stayed the same in function with variations evolving through technological advancements and specialist job roles.

There are many types of new and old axe available to see today, the largest variety of different axe types which have survived are from the 1750's - 1950's. During this time period there were bountiful amounts of axe types produced for a host of different trades and on top of this there were regional differences in the designs of some of these axes.

What Is A Hand Axe?

hand axe

A hand axe is a short handled axe that can comfortably be wielded with one hand. The most common type of hand axe is referred to as a hatchet.

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felling axe

What Is A Felling Axe?

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What Is A Fireman's Axe?

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What Is A Goosewing Axe?

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What Is A Miner's Axe?

side axe

What Is A Side Axe?

topping axe

What Is A Topping Axe?

There are numerous modern axes which base their design on old axe types, some have modernised the handles with new technological advances, some have continued with the traditional wooden handle but all the axe heads I have seen are based upon old designs.

Axe Parts

A typical axe consists of the following parts:

axe parts

  • A - Handle / Shaft
  • B - Blade / Head
  • C - Cutting Edge
  • D - Makers Mark
  • E - Wedge(s)

Typical Axe Uses:

  • Woodwork - e.g. Shaping wood in preperation for finer work
  • Preparing Firewood
  • Forestry Management
  • Outdoor Pursuits
  • Gardening

Axe Makers

There have been many makers of axe past and present, below are a list of a few well known axe makers:

Old Axe Makers:

  • Brades
  • Elwell
  • Fenner
  • Gilpin
  • Greaves
  • Talabot
  • Whitehouse

New Axe Makers:

  • Bahco
  • Condor
  • Faithfull
  • Fiskars
  • Gransfor Bruks
  • Northwood
  • Silverline
  • Wetterlings


(i) This review/article may give warning(s) / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines given in good faith, any such information should not be solely relied upon and seen as the exhaustive list of warnings / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines. Refer to good safety practices for the safety of you and others. Refer to good practices for the good health of your tool and property.
(ii) The details here are given in good faith, the details are constantly growing and evolving, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.

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