12 Different Types of Axes

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Get to know the different types of axes to make the job of felling trees or splitting woods come easy in just one swing. Use only the right ax for the task to ensure safety and ease.

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Ax on wood.

The ax is one of the oldest tools used by man. Crude hand axes made of chipped stone wedges and rawhide lashings appeared over 1.5 million years ago. They were used from digging up roots to cutting wood and even from butchering animals to killing each other in battles.

In the Bronze Age, blacksmiths crafted the double-bitted axes specifically as weapons for battles. They were first used as a tool for felling trees in the 19th century in Pennsylvania when the European settlers needed a felling ax so they can cultivate the new land.

1. Hatchet

Hatchet on wood

A hatchet a small ax that can be used for several different purposes. Many people buy hatchets to take with them on little camping trips. They can be great for chopping up some firewood quickly to make a fire. It can also be a handy tool to have around when you need to cut anything open.

The fact that hatchets are small makes them a little easier to wield than a traditional ax. Some people will have a harder time swinging an ax than others. Those who are a little smaller than average may wind up vastly preferring hatchets. Even large individuals will find good uses for hatchets, though.

A hatchet like this will be able to help you to chop down a small tree, too. It might not be as easy to use as a felling ax for this purpose, but it can still get the job done. Many people use these axes simply because of how readily available they are. You will be able to pick up a nice hatchet at a department store at a very reasonable price.

2. Splitting Ax

1844 Helko Werk Germany Saxon Splitting Axe

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A splitting ax is also sometimes referred to as a splitting maul in some circles. This can be a bit confusing to some people, but just think of it as an ax, and don’t worry about the naming conventions. A splitting ax is the most useful tool to grab when you need to split some firewood. It will be able to help you to cut the logs evenly and you’ll have an easier time with the task.

The ax is specifically designed for splitting firewood. The head is made to split the wood in two just right when you strike the log. It can still take a bit of skill to get it just right, but most people are able to get the hang of it rather easily. If you are planning some type of campfire or another outdoor event that will require firewood, you will want to purchase one of these splitting axes.

This particular splitting ax is a big one and can cut even large logs into firewood. This ax is 36-inches long and weighs in at a little over six pounds. The blade is incredibly sharp, and this lends itself well to splitting logs in one strike. If you have access to this ax, then splitting firewood should not be a problem at all.

There are smaller splitting axes on the market as well. You can even find hatchets that are used for splitting firewood. If you are worried about whether the ax is too heavy, then it may be worthwhile to look into other options. Otherwise, this is a great tool that you will get a ton of use out of.

3. Felling Ax

Felling ax on a stump surrounded by chopped logs.

A felling ax is going to be among the most common types of axes that people will make use of. This is the ax that you will turn to when you need to cut down a tree. These axes are powerful and can be wielded with skill when placed in the right hands. A good felling ax is going to be capable of felling even a very thick tree.

Of course, there are some variations of the felling ax that you should be aware of. Sometimes you will see felling hatchets that are meant for smaller trees. Even among proper felling axes, there will be some variations in the size. Different people will feel more comfortable with different sizes of axes.

It’s a good idea to have an ax that you feel comfortable swinging. You should be able to find an ax that will work well for your needs. Finding a good combination of power along with an ax being light enough for you to wield it comfortably is essential. This shouldn’t be a difficult task when you’re looking for a felling ax.

The ax that is being shown off here is a pretty large tool overall. The handle itself is 31-inches long and the ax weighs just over five pounds. It shouldn’t feel too cumbersome for you to swing this so long as you are used to using axes. This is a great purchase when you have trees that need to come down on your property.

4. Fireman’s Ax

Closeup of a Fireman's Ax.

When you think about professionals who make use of axes in their jobs, one of the first careers that come to mind is that of the fireman. Firemen use axes on a regular basis to help rescue people from terrible situations. A fireman’s ax needs to be powerful enough to break down doors and sometimes even bust through walls. These tools are absolutely imperative, and firemen rely on them to help keep them alive.

These fireman’s axes are made to be incredibly durable. An ax needs to be quite heavy-duty in order to withstand the workload of a fireman. The ax that is being shown off here is more than capable of assisting a fireman on his or her job. It is a sturdy and powerful ax that can be used for multiple purposes.

The head of this ax weighs in at six pounds. It isn’t too cumbersome to swing, though, so it should feel natural when you are putting it to use. It is an ax that can be relied on in a pinch. Using a rugged ax like this will keep you from having to worry about whether it is going to be able to handle the task at hand.

You will be able to find both larger and smaller fireman’s ax options on the market, too. There are different sizes of these axes that will be better for people with certain body types. It is important to carry the right ax with you that will allow you to accomplish your tasks. Just look into the ax that you are purchasing ahead of time to ensure that it fits your specific needs.

5. Carpenter’s Ax

Carpenter's Ax on wooden background.

A carpenter’s ax is going to be smaller than many other types of axes. It is used for carpentry purposes, as you might expect when judging by the name. This ax is close to being small enough to be considered a hatchet. You will be able to wield this ax with one hand and shouldn’t have a problem making good use of it.

This ax is designed to give the user maximum control. In order for the carpentry work to turn out as fantastically as it can, a carpenter needs to be able to wield the ax skillfully. The blade on this type of ax is designed to allow a carpenter to get as close as possible. It makes precision strikes much simpler and is going to be very beneficial.

The blade on this ax is made to be thin to further promote precision. The cutting edge is long and straight, so you should have no trouble making the most accurate cuts. No matter what type of carpentry you are taking part in, you should be able to make good use of this ax. It is an accurate tool that will prove its usefulness.

This ax here has a beautiful hickory shaft that that is nineteen-inches long. The head of the ax is secured to the shaft via a steel wedge, making it a tool that you can rely on for years. If you keep this ax sharpened properly, it will be a reliable companion to you for a long time. This is a highly recommended purchase for any carpenter.

6. Hudson Bay Ax

Snow & Nealley Hudson Bay Axe

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This type of ax is interesting, as it has a similar utility to the felling ax that is mentioned above. The biggest difference is that they Hudson Bay models are made to be smaller. They are only around ¾ the size of a traditional ax. This can actually work to its advantage, as it makes them easier to wield.

People who are camping enthusiasts and those who work in the outdoors will love owning this type of ax. It is light enough that it is simple to carry around with you. You’ll be able to use it to fell small trees and to cut through branches. It can be very useful for multiple purposes outdoors.

You won’t want to try to cut through logs or trees that are too thick with this ax, though. The blade on this ax is somewhat thin, and it winds up only being practical for smaller trees. It isn’t designed to do heavy-duty felling work, so you’ll want to turn to a better tool for that type of task. Regardless, this is a good ax to own if you are outdoors a lot.

The ax being shown here is a great example of what this type of ax can bring to the table. It is lightweight and easy to wield. This particular ax even comes with a sheath for your convenience. It’s a good purchase if you need a useful ax for light work outdoors.

7. Broad Ax

Hand holding the top of a Broad Ax.

When some people hear the term “broad ax,” they conjure up images of ancient battles and war. The truth is that broad axes are practical tools that are most commonly used for woodworking purposes. These axes will come in handy when someone is trying to build something with wood. People who make log cabins by hand will be using broad axes very frequently.

This tool is also handy for when people need to prepare planks or beams out of logs. It’s a tool that is going to be useful during many parts of the woodworking process. Of course, there are other methods for accomplishing these tasks. Some people prefer to use power tools, but when you want to do things by hand, a broad ax is going to be the tool of choice.

Primarily, this tool is used to carve flat surfaces out of rounded logs. To accomplish this, this type of ax is designed a bit differently from other axes that you may be familiar with. The first thing that you will notice is that the shape of the head is a bit different. It isn’t as symmetrical as other axes and is typically designed with either a left-handed individual or a right-handed individual in mind.

This is an ax that is designed for a very specific purpose. Trying to use it for other things isn’t going to work out very well. Even so, it is a tool that you will want to own if you are in need. Just make sure that you buy one that is well-suited to you, and things should work out just fine.

8. Survival Ax

Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet [31-002070]

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A survival ax is a small and practical tool that many people take with them when they go camping. Sometimes these axes are also referred to as survival hatchets. The terms can be used interchangeably, so don’t be too concerned about what the ax is called. It is simply a practical tool that will come in handy to help you survive out in the wilderness.

An ax like this is going to be useful when you need to cut wood, cut through brush, and can even aid you in creating a shelter. If you plan on truly roughing it outside for a long period of time, then taking one of these survival axes with you is an intelligent move. It will make it much simpler for you to provide for your basic needs while in a survival situation.

These small survival axes are very easy to take with you, too. They won’t take up a lot of space and are not too cumbersome to carry about with you. You could easily keep a survival ax sheathed on your belt loop while you are walking around. This makes things convenient for you and will help you to have a better experience overall.

Some people buy these tools to use in emergency situations, as well. Having one of these around can come in handy in several situations. This is a practical ax that will prove to be a worthwhile purchase. It’s cost-effective, too, and you can buy one without having to spend much money at all.

9. Tomahawk

Tomahawk on wooden background.

Admittedly, tomahawks aren’t really all that practical in the modern era. Some people wind up making use of them for practical purposes anyway. It isn’t too uncommon to see someone chopping up firewood or cutting down a small tree with a tomahawk. There are other tools that would be more well-suited to these tasks, but a tomahawk will suffice in some situations.

Tomahawks were originally weapons of war that were used by various people. Most famously, Native American tribes used tomahawks very skillfully. This weapon is still used to this day in shows and for competitions. A tomahawk is capable of being thrown with precision when someone knows what he or she are doing.

Many people purchase tomahawks to use for fun. Throwing a tomahawk can be difficult at first, but once you have been taught the proper form, it will feel much more natural. This is an activity that many people really get into, so you can understand why people are still purchasing tomahawks today. These axes may not be used for war any longer, but they live on in enthusiasts everywhere.

The tomahawk being shown here is very nice looking. It is an American-made tomahawk that many people flock towards. The entire tomahawk is ten and a half inches long with the blade having a cutting edge that is just under three inches. It will be sure to please someone who is looking for a practical tomahawk that looks really impressive.

10. Double Bit Ax

Closeup of a Double Bit Ax.

You have probably seen axes with two heads at some point in time. These types of axes are known as double bit axes, and they can be a bit difficult to use if you aren’t used to them. Swinging this ax certainly feels a bit different from swinging a standard ax with only one head. The two heads are meant to be used for different purposes.

One side of a double bit ax is going to be sharper than the other one. You are meant to use this side for chopping down a tree or even cutting some wood up. The other side is slightly duller but it is meant to be used for splitting wood. It will work really well to split the wood, and you won’t have to switch to using the splitting ax halfway through a job.

This doesn’t mean that this situation is going to be convenient for everybody, though. Some people are going to find this ax to be too cumbersome to use. It isn’t always going to be the most practical ax to make use of, and some people may never be able to get used to the weight of the head. It can feel awkward to swing, and many people will be turned off by it.

In fact, the general heavy nature of this double bit ax is well known for tiring people out. It isn’t the easiest ax in the world to use. Professionals who have enough strength to wield this beast are able to see the convenience in it. It will be easier for some to not need multiple axes, but for other people, it just won’t be practical.

11. Battle Ax

Battle Ax

The battle ax is most likely one of the first things that people think about when the word ax is brought up. It certainly isn’t something that is used in modern times for any practical purposes, but it is a legendary weapon nonetheless. These battle axes were held in one hand and could be very deadly on the ancient battlefield. This is a weapon that was often used in conjunction with some type of shield.

You can still buy a battle ax in modern times if you are so inclined. It obviously isn’t something that you would encounter in a modern military battle, but people like to collect these axes for different purposes. Sometimes people enjoy reenacting battles from the past and other times they just find the item to be interesting. It isn’t uncommon to see vendors selling custom battle axes when you go to a renaissance fair.

If you wish to cosplay as a warrior from the times of old, then buying an ax like this can certainly make your outfit feel more authentic. Many people also like to purchase these just to admire the craftsmanship. It isn’t going to be a practical ax that you will use for cutting wood or anything, but it can make for a very fun mantle decoration. This is a real ax though, and it is possible to sharpen it and use it for some type of cutting purpose.

This battle ax that is being shown here is really nice overall. It is quite dull and is chrome-plated, so it is meant as more of a display piece than anything else. It is designed after real Germanic battle axes from the 15th century. If you would like a battle ax that is ornate and will look good on your mantle, then it is worth considering this one.

12. Viking Ax

Viking Ax on a stump.

The Vikings are definitely legendary warriors that many people are fascinated by in modern times. There are popular television shows and movies dedicated to Viking culture. Vikings have even become a popular topic in music, with many bands writing songs about their mythology and general outlook on life. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that you can purchase a Viking ax in modern times.

A Viking ax is quite a bit different than the battle ax mentioned above. This ax is designed completely differently and was originally intended for combat. It doesn’t really have a purpose in modern times, but many people purchase these for the pure enjoyment of owning one. Sometimes people like to dress up as Vikings for Halloween or to reenact battles.

Original Viking axes were sometimes absolutely huge. It isn’t unheard of for Viking axes to be up to six feet tall, but this would largely depend on how large the Viking was that was holding it. This modern Viking ax is a bit more modestly-sized, but it is still quite nice. It is large enough to look intimidating while still only weighing three pounds.

If you enjoy Viking culture, then this could be a fun ax to own. It doesn’t come very sharp but it can be sharpened with the right tools if you wish to use it. This design isn’t perfect for cutting wood or other typical tasks, but it could certainly be done. It is up to you to decide whether your inner-Viking urge is strong enough to purchase this ax.





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