Axes have been an essential tool for Americans for centuries, with a rich history of use in logging, carpentry, and outdoor activities.
Whether you’re a professional woodsman, a backyard enthusiast, or someone who just needs a reliable tool for camping trips and DIY projects, choosing the right axe can make all the difference.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best American-made axes on the market.
The Gransfors Bruk American Felling Axe is a high-quality axe that is handmade by skilled craftsmen in Sweden. It features a 31-inch hickory handle and a 3.5-pound head that is specifically designed for felling trees. The axe is also balanced and easy to swing, making it a favorite among professional loggers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
The Council Tool Velvicut Hudson Bay Axe is a versatile axe that is suitable for a wide range of tasks, including chopping, splitting, and carving. It features a 28-inch hickory handle and a 2.25-pound head that is made from 5160-grade steel. The axe is also coated with a rust-resistant finish to help ensure long-term durability.
The Hults Bruk Almike Small All-Purpose Axe is a lightweight and versatile axe that is perfect for camping trips and outdoor adventures. It features a 16-inch hickory handle and a 1-pound head that is made from hand-forged Swedish steel. The axe is also coated with a rust-resistant finish to help ensure long-term durability.
The Estwing Camper’s Axe is a durable and affordable axe that is perfect for beginners or anyone looking for a reliable tool for camping trips and outdoor activities. It features a 16-inch steel handle and a 4-pound head that is designed for chopping and splitting wood. The axe is also coated with a shock-resistant finish to help reduce vibrations and prevent hand fatigue.
When choosing an American-made axe, it’s important to consider the intended use, size, weight, and overall quality of the tool. Whether you’re a professional woodsman or someone who enjoys spending time in the great outdoors, investing in a high-quality American-made axe can help make your work and leisure activities more efficient, enjoyable, and safe.
What makes an axe American-made?
An axe can be considered American-made if it is designed, manufactured, and assembled in the United States. This means that all the major components of the axe, such as the head, handle, and any hardware, are produced in the US. Some manufacturers may also use domestic materials, such as American steel and wood, to make their axes. Additionally, American-made axes are often known for their high quality and durability, and they may be more expensive than imported axes due to the cost of domestic materials and labor.
What types of wood are used for axe handles?
Several types of wood can be used for axe handles, but the most common ones include:
- Hickory: Hickory is one of the most popular woods for axe handles due to its strength, durability, and shock resistance. It can withstand the impact of heavy blows and does not easily break or split.
- Ash: Ash is another popular wood for axe handles because it is strong, lightweight, and has a high shock resistance. It also has a natural flexibility that makes it less likely to crack or break.
- Maple: Maple is a dense and hard wood that is often used for smaller axes and hatchets. It is strong and durable, but it may not have the same level of shock resistance as hickory or ash.
- Oak: Oak is a hard and dense wood that is less commonly used for axe handles, but it is still a viable option. It is strong and durable, but it may not have the same level of shock resistance as hickory or ash.
The choice of wood for an axe handle may depend on personal preference, as well as the intended use of the axe. Each type of wood has its own unique properties, and some may be better suited for heavy-duty chopping and splitting, while others may be better for lighter tasks or more precise work.
How do I choose the right size axe for my needs?
Choosing the right size axe for your needs depends on several factors, including the type of work you plan to do, your strength and skill level, and personal preference. Here are some general guidelines to help you choose the right size axe:
- Determine the intended use: If you plan to use the axe for heavy-duty chopping and splitting, you may want a larger, heavier axe with a longer handle. If you plan to use the axe for more precise work or lighter tasks, a smaller axe or hatchet may be more suitable.
- Consider your strength and skill level: If you are new to using axes or have limited strength, a smaller and lighter axe may be easier to handle. If you are experienced and have good upper body strength, a larger and heavier axe may be more appropriate.
- Look for a comfortable grip: The axe handle should feel comfortable and secure in your hand. Look for a handle with a shape and size that feels good to you, and consider whether you prefer a smooth or textured grip.
- Choose a size based on the length of the handle: The length of the handle can affect the overall size and weight of the axe. A shorter handle may be easier to control, but a longer handle can provide more power and leverage. Consider your personal preference and the type of work you plan to do when choosing the length of the handle.
What is the difference between a felling axe and a splitting axe?
The main difference between a felling axe and a splitting axe is their intended use.
A felling axe is designed for chopping down trees, which requires a combination of cutting and splitting. The head of a felling axe is usually thin and sharp, which allows it to cut through the fibers of the tree trunk. The blade is often curved, which helps to maximize the force of the swing and remove chips of wood as the axe cuts into the tree. The felling axe is typically lighter than a splitting axe, which allows the user to swing it more quickly and with more control.
On the other hand, a splitting axe is designed for splitting logs into smaller pieces, which requires more force and power. The head of a splitting axe is usually heavier and wider than a felling axe, with a wedge-shaped blade that can split the wood apart. The edge of the blade is often slightly rounded, which helps to prevent it from getting stuck in the wood. The splitting axe is typically heavier than a felling axe, which allows the user to generate more force and power with each swing.
In summary, the main differences between a felling axe and a splitting axe are their intended use, the shape and weight of the head and blade, and the weight of the overall axe.
How do I maintain and sharpen my axe?
Maintaining and sharpening your axe is important to ensure that it performs well and lasts a long time. Here are some tips on how to maintain and sharpen your axe:
- Keep the axe clean and dry: After using your axe, wipe it clean with a dry cloth to remove any dirt or debris. Make sure it is completely dry before storing it to prevent rust.
- Oil the axe head: Applying a thin layer of oil to the axe head can help prevent rust and keep it in good condition. Use a rust inhibitor or a light coat of oil like linseed oil or mineral oil.
- Store the axe properly: Store your axe in a dry and cool place, ideally hung on a wall or in a rack to prevent the blade from getting damaged.
- Sharpen the blade: A sharp blade is essential for effective cutting. Use a sharpening stone or file to sharpen the blade. Start by filing the bevel side of the blade and then the flat side. Check the edge by running your fingers gently over it.
- Use the right sharpening angle: The angle at which you sharpen your axe can affect its performance. For general chopping and splitting, a 25-degree angle is recommended. For finer work, a 20-degree angle may be more appropriate.
- Hone the edge: After sharpening, use a honing stone to remove any burrs or rough spots on the blade. This will make the blade sharper and more efficient.
- Check for damage: Regularly inspect your axe for any signs of damage or wear. If the handle is loose, tighten it or replace it if necessary. If the blade is chipped or cracked, consider replacing it.
By following these tips, you can maintain and sharpen your axe to keep it in good condition and ensure that it performs well when you need it.
Can I use an axe for self-defense?
While an axe can be a formidable tool for chopping wood or clearing brush, it is not a suitable weapon for self-defense purposes.
Firstly, using an axe for self-defense can lead to serious injury or even death for the attacker, which can result in legal consequences for the defender. Secondly, an axe is not a practical weapon to carry for self-defense as it is heavy and cumbersome, making it difficult to carry around for extended periods.
Moreover, in many jurisdictions, carrying an axe with the intention of using it for self-defense could be considered illegal, as it can be seen as a weapon rather than a tool. It is important to check the laws in your area before carrying any type of weapon or tool for self-defense purposes.
How do I safely use an axe?
Using an axe can be dangerous if not done properly, so it’s important to take safety precautions when using one. Here are some tips on how to safely use an axe:
- Choose the right axe for the job: Make sure you’re using the right axe for the task at hand. For example, a splitting axe is designed for splitting wood, while a felling axe is designed for cutting down trees.
- Wear protective gear: Always wear protective gear such as safety glasses or goggles, gloves, and steel-toed boots to prevent injury.
- Check the axe before using: Before using the axe, check the blade and handle for any damage, such as cracks or splits. If you notice any damage, don’t use the axe until it’s been repaired or replaced.
- Clear the area: Make sure the area around you is clear of people and obstacles before using the axe. You should have a clear swing path and enough space to move around.
- Secure the wood: Make sure the wood you’re chopping or splitting is secured properly to prevent it from moving while you’re swinging the axe.
- Use proper technique: Always use proper technique when swinging the axe. Hold the handle with both hands, with one hand near the bottom of the handle and the other hand higher up. Use a smooth, controlled swing and aim for the center of the wood.
- Keep the axe sharp: A dull axe is more dangerous than a sharp one, as it requires more force to use and is more likely to slip. Keep your axe sharp by regularly sharpening the blade.
- Store the axe safely: When you’re finished using the axe, store it in a dry and secure place, preferably hanging it on a wall or storing it in a rack.
By following these safety tips, you can use an axe safely and effectively for chopping or splitting wood.