Selecting an axe (picture heavy)

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Bigger is fine, all depends on what the intended use is & how much weight you are prepared/able to carry. I have never in my life ever needed to cut wood for the fire whilst in the forest. I use my tomahawk for making shelter, cutting trap & shelter pegs, generally making things I need whilst in camp. It will serve me as a hunting tool if needs be & for self-defence. But a larger axe is handy when constructing larger shelters or a garden fence or pallasade.
I spent a lot of time in English forests during my youth, now I live in a forest in New England NSW. The woodlands are a little different, but not that different. What do you chaps with larger axes use them for?
Regards, Keith.
[video=youtube;kHokFCSVXD8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHokFCSVXD8[/video]
[video=youtube;fUHU1WgLjbA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUHU1WgLjbA[/video]
[video=youtube;gtDrpahgkQ8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtDrpahgkQ8[/video]
[video=youtube;E18juRVmy_k]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E18juRVmy_k[/video]

These videos are all relavent if you are interested.

Mainly because I hate having to stoop over or getting wet knees, I use a longer axe. I'll say that mine isn't really a full size axe its only 600 mm (2') it's not that much longer in reality to a SFA (5" shorter), bearing in mind a full size axe is 34" in length. The extra haft length helps in areas where a short axe is a pain. I also find that its safer to use as it would the hit ground not your legs. It can still be used for all the stuff like feather sticks and carving, but it can also fell standing dead wood easier. I'm not really bothered about the weight much as it's not too bad for me, but then again I'm not carrying all that much to start with. As for the longest expeditions I have done I used a sit on Kayak as transport, so it didn't matter at all
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,762
672
Mercia
Don't stress Gransfors too much Elen, If I had just sixty quid to spend on an axe, I'd spend thirty on the axe and thirty pounds on axe sharpening tools - they are (or should be) very different than knife sharpening tools. Of course its all just abrasives - but function follows form and you have to grip and hold an axe in a different way to sharpen it and it cuts in a different way (impact cuts rather than slicing or planing cuts). If you find yourself in my area, come and try out ten or twenty axes - from cheap to cutom. Then you can decide what you need.
 

TaigaStyle

Member
Feb 24, 2013
13
0
Dalarna, Sweden
Fantastic post, thanks for all that info.

I'm something of an axe fiend. Absolutely love 'em. More than knives even. My small forest axe is by far my favorite bit of kit.

Though collections are usually not my thing, I do plan to start an axe collection soon. Need different sizes for different situations, of course. At least that's what I'm telling the Mrs.
 

trade axe

Tenderfoot
Dec 16, 2013
83
1
Western Canada
Carl,

Wteerlings are well made axes. As you have observed the beves are not well finsihed but anyome competent can remedy that probem fairly quickly. There is a tutoria I wrote around here somewhere on axe sharpening that shows al the steps I used to bring a Wetterlings up to tissue paper slicing

Red

Thanks for the thread, it helps. I have been building my axe/hatchet group up as of late. I got a 900g Hultafors in last week. I am getting bye passably with an axe puck and a Lansky kit for sharpening, but I need to upgrade my skills in that area.
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,762
672
Mercia
Have a look at my axe sharpening thread, a couple of files, some cheap diamond pads and wet and dry paper and you can get a professional edge.
 

Big John

Nomad
Aug 24, 2005
399
0
49
Surrey
Hi, this looks like a great thread but all of the images in the original post have gone walkabout (or is it just me?...say it's not just me...), I don't suppose you still have them and could re-post do you @British Red ?
 
FROM MY ORIGINAL POST IN 2009.
"I don't like carrying a lot of weight, so when in the woods I generally only carry my 18th century English trade tomahawk. If I have extra work to do such as constructing a large shelter, then I might pack along my light half-axe. Both of these require no wedge to hold the helve in place, as the helve drops in from the top of the eye just like a pickaxe or mattock.
If I need something larger for constructing say a log cabin, then I take along my straight helved felling axe".

If you have arthritic hands, the last thing you need is a heavy belt axe, you will end up having to use both hands to control it. We have enough trouble compromising between maximum self reliance & minimum weight as it is, so I se no point in carrying a heavier than needed belt axe.
Tomahawk-002-KH-REDUCED.jpg

This is the tomahawk/belt axe I carry when in the woods, I cut down a modern hatchet head to make this. The eye is tapered so I do not need to use a wedge to secure the head to the helve.
Bear-belt-axe-1.jpg

This is my wife's smaller tomahawk.
Half-axe.jpg

This is my half-axe. I only ever carry this one when I have heavier work to do. The half-axe is lighter than a felling axe.
Half-axe-V-Tomahawk-004.jpg

Here you can see the half-axe compared to a normal tomahawk.
forged-axe-tomahawk-th-54-web-p1730711-51d9cad6-9369-425f-97a4-9ca04bc3c975-360x.jpg

This is a round poll tomahawk. Good all purpose axe. You can hammer in shelter or trap stakes with this one, but over the years you will probably see some flattening of the back of the poll. Even so it is better than a hammer poll tomahawk which will split stakes.
English-Light-Infantry-Axe-TH-164-web-IMG-0554-360x.jpg

This is a square poll tomahawk, similar to mine. Again a good all round lighter belt axe & the square poll is good for hammering in wooden stakes.
Tomahawk-Hanger-004.jpg

My wife's tomahawk in a belt frog.
fortpittmuseumca1760.jpg

An original 18th century axe with a shoulder carry frog. I think part of the carry strap is missing on this one, originally the strap would have been long enough to go across the chest.

Tomahawks can be purchased in the UK & from overseas.
Keith.
 
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FROM MY ORIGINAL POST IN 2009.
"I don't like carrying a lot of weight, so when in the woods I generally only carry my 18th century English trade tomahawk. If I have extra work to do such as constructing a large shelter, then I might pack along my light half-axe. Both of these require no wedge to hold the helve in place, as the helve drops in from the top of the eye just like a pickaxe or mattock.
If I need something larger for constructing say a log cabin, then I take along my straight helved felling axe".

If you have arthritic hands, the last thing you need is a heavy belt axe, you will end up having to use both hands to control it. We have enough trouble compromising between maximum self reliance & minimum weight as it is, so I se no point in carrying a heavier than needed belt axe.
Tomahawk-002-KH-REDUCED.jpg

This is the tomahawk/belt axe I carry when in the woods, I cut down a modern hatchet head to make this. The eye is tapered so I do not need to use a wedge....
did you modify an "ordinary" hardware store hatchet?! if yes -- how?! did you taper the eye or did you already get it this way?!
(given the ridiculous shipping +import costs to here i'm interested in DIY projects to save money wherever possible...)
 
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did you modify an "ordinary" hardware store hatchet?! if yes -- how?! did you taper the eye or did you already get it this way?!
(given the ridiculous shipping +import costs to here i'm interested in DIY projects to save money wherever possible...)
Yes, except this was a hatchet head I had laying around in the shed. I have done this before just shaping with a hacksaw (hard work!), but for this one I used an angle grinder.
Then & pushed the cutting edge into the earth/ground & made a fire over it. This way you can heat the eye of the head without heating the blade. I drove a pickaxe into the ground with the chisel point into the ground & the pick blade upward. When the axe head was past the point of cherry red, I removed it from the ground & hammered it down over the pick blade. This gave the eye the taper.
18thc-Square-poll-Hatchet-Head-001.jpg

I hope this helps forrestdweller.
Regards, Keith.
 

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