How To Use An Axe: The Ultimate Guide To Axe Safety

It is always a good idea to keep axe safety in mind, especially when you are using one for the first time. You should acquire axe awareness even if you think you already know everything there is to know about these instruments. To ensure total safety, axe safety must be perfected with finesse and precision.

Due to axes’ popularity in the world of menial tasks, it’s no wonder that there are so many terrible incidents related to the mishandling of these versatile tools. This post explains how to safely use an axe without harming yourself.

Common Types of Axes

An axe is primarily used to chop wood, but it can also be used for a variety of other purposes. An axe is a cutting tool that usually has a shaft and a sharp head. Among the many uses of axes are chopping, cutting, splitting, shaping, digging, and foresting. In addition to serving primary purposes, axes can serve secondary purposes as well.

As we are not focusing primarily on the topic of types of axes, I will point out a few common types of axes that are used for wood-related tasks.

1. Splitting Maul

Splitting Maul

A splitting maul is not an axe, it’s a sledge. It’s used for wood splitting only. It may be heavy, but that doesn’t mean that you can use it to chop or hit anyone or anything. Plus, the head is shaped differently, so don’t count on it being good for hammering anything too hard! It’s suited for one specific task and one task only – splitting wood along the grain!

What Is The Difference Between Maul and Axe, Then?

In my opinion, a splitting maul is your best option when dealing with large logs. Its heavier weight will add more power to your swing, and its long handle will give you the leverage you need for such an undertaking. However, using such a tool can be difficult if you’re on the smaller side. Splitting smaller pieces of wood with the splitting maul is possible, but won’t be as effective or efficient as if you were working on smaller chunks of wood with a splitting axe.

Splitting axes are designed to slice through wood fibers. The purpose of the maul is to split wood in two by exerting sufficient force to ensure that the plank breaks in half in accordance with the grain. Due partly to its shape, the dull edge combined with a V-shaped head splits wood, which prevents the board from splitting parallel to the grain, but instead forces cracks perpendicular to it.

2. Hudson Bay Axe

Hudson Bay Axe

As its name suggests, the Hudson Bay axe was famously used by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Hudson Bay axe weighs about 2 pounds (*1 kg), has a long blade with one to four jagged teeth, and was designed to be used for combat and state execution. With tooling at the top, water can be quickly brought to the head by expanding the eye. Due to the tool’s original use as an execution tool, the fluke or poll-end opposite the blade is curved rather than straight.

Generally, these axes had handles between 20″ and 28″ long, based on the type of wood available and where they were manufactured (those with short handles were manufactured in Rome). For your reenactment needs, our replicas are historically accurate and built with care!

3. Felling Axe

Felling Axe

During colonial times, this felling axe was primarily used to chop down trees for colonial buildings and other purposes. Having a long, narrow blade made it useful for precision strikes against the base of a tree or where it joined another tree at a trunk or root. In addition to being easier to insert between upright logs when chopping them down, narrower axes also made it easier to keep an eye on your target when swinging the tool.

4. Broad Axe

Broad Axe

An axe with a broad head is called a broad axe. Despite the fact that both sides of broad axes are primarily used for shaping logs, there are two distinct types of cutting edge, both of which are primarily used to cut down trees. The double beveled edge and the flat side are among them.

5. Adze Axe

Adze Axe

The adze, or ADZ, is a hand tool that dates back to the Stone Age. One of the earliest hand tools in existence, it was widely distributed among cultures with stone working traditions during this period in the form of a handheld stone chipped to form a blade. Early modern Europe saw extensive use of the ADZ in woodworking, until the invention of the sawmill brought an end to its widespread use.

Read Our Detailed Article About Types of Axes

Axes: Care & Maintenance Tips

First, make sure you stow your ax safely after each use. The two natural enemies of this implement- moisture and cold- can cause long term damage to your ax if left out in either situation for prolonged periods. Moisture is the enemy of the wooden handle, so it’s best to store it inside where little, if any, chance exists of water coming into contact with the handle.

Similarly, cold finds an ax head an easy target for slow rusting, so storing your ax at room temperature will give it time to acclimate to whatever conditions exist around you, so it should be ready for use again whenever you need it next.

Second, use your ax correctly – but don’t use it as a hammer. And remember not to do it when it’s cold – hitting the wood who cold with blunt steel may cause damage to your ax! Before using an ax in cold weather, warm it up for a few minutes either by holding it near a fire or simply by holding it in your hands, between your legs or otherwise warming it up with your own body heat to avoid chipping the head of the metal. This simple step could save you from unpleasant surprises during projects.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of your toolchain, we want to talk about something even more important than any of these: maintenance and preservation! We know that you will vigorously use and abuse your ax throughout the course of its life and that even with proper storage it’s constantly in danger of becoming dull.

That’s why we’ve written this section; to teach you how protect your ax (or our clients in this case) from such a fate! It may seem overly obvious or like common sense, but there are things you can do like constantly cleaning it which will ensure that your ax remains sharp throughout its tenure with us. Read on to find out how you can best preserve your product manager tools – before storage and during use!

Additionally, learn how to use an axe safely as an emergency tool or weapon, which means knowing which ones to use during jobs where you might need something more blunt to smash through objects, or something sharper for cutting thin branches on your property.

How To Use An Axe Safely?

Axes are probably the most dangerous tools in the woods, and they should be handled with care. Axes should be used in a clear area. A circle that is at least an arm’s length and two axe lengths in all directions should be free of obstructions.

Remember to check above you to make sure there are no obstructions. Additionally, you should make sure that neckerchiefs, scarfs, and lanyards do not interfere with your ability to use the Axe. To protect your feet, wear boots instead of soft shoes.

Carrying an Axe

How To Use An Axe

If you are carrying the axe with the sheath on it, the blade should face away from your side and the sheath should be against your side.

Personally, I use a Wildlife Hatchet and almost always carry it on my pistol belt. I would simply put the shaft through the belt, which worked very well for me, as the axe was secure and I could adjust the position and tension of the belt to be more comfortable by shifting the haft of the axe.

I was actually using an Isle Royale trail-style model, but I never used the axe holster, anything that hangs from the pack via a strap pulls down and effectively weighs twice as much. In addition to this, carrying a hatchet overboard made me feel noticeably off balance when I took it out. As well as my lightweight hatchet, I also have an army tomahawk – which is too big for the belt – that I will probably strap to the side of my pack when I go back out there again. Sometimes you can just carry a full-size axe in your hand depending on whether you’re travelling across open terrain or walking alongside a bush path.

If I have enough space inside of the pack, I will be sure to include it there as well. But I would need to ensure that it stays against my back so I can’t forget about it. The thing is, it would need some sort of padding so that it doesn’t begin to dig into any part of me. Maybe a piece of clothing can keep it in place?

Passing an Axe

Safety is a top priority when it comes to axe throwing, and since this is a sport that involves the possibility of seriously injuring oneself or even someone else, it’s best to make sure axes are handled safely. The safest way to pass an axe between two people is to first find a sturdy tree nearby and place the blade of the axe flat up against its trunk. You’ll hold onto the handle while your teammate holds onto the blade, lifts the handle from the ground, and hands it over to you without any risk of accident.

Using an Axe

When using an axe, one should always place the wood at the back end of a chopping block. If they fail to do this and the axe misses the wood, it might lodge itself into the chopping block. One should always use a wide stance when chopping so in case you miss or your chop fails, your body is far enough away from harm’s way so as not to get injured if the Axe hits something else instead.

When we are finished with the Axe, we need to leave it in a safe area where everyone knows where it is located. Ideally this would be the Patrol Box but in the Backwoods environment, this might be the trunk of a tree or the Chopping Block.

Here is an Article Showing More About Axe Uses With Animated Pictures.

Axe Safety Tips:

1. Putting Away Axes After Use

All edge tools should have a designated place to go when you’re not actively using them, and they should be kept in sheaths, masks, or even just protective covers to keep you from accidentally cutting yourself or others.

2. Respect The Blood Circle

Scouting Blood Circle

Sometimes when working with something that has the potential to be dangerous, it’s important to create a safe place for others to work. In this case, you’ll want to make sure you have enough room in which to swing an axe without cutting yourself or anyone else – so it might take a few swings before you find out where is best for you and your teammates. You also need to communicate that if someone is disrupting you or trying to get in your way, that they properly respect the space you need at any given moment.

Read More About Scouting Blood Circle


So that’s it! Thank you for reading the Ultimate Guide to Axes. I hope this guide has been helpful to you and that you’ll be able to use it for a long time. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please email me. I’d love to hear from you!

Thomas Benefield
Thomas Benefield

Thomas Benefield enjoys the outdoors and loves sharing his knowledge of forestry gadgets. His whole life has been spent in the woods, so he knows more about axes, saws, chainsaws, and other tools than anyone should! Thomas is always eager to share his love of the outdoors with others who wish to learn more about these important tools.

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