Welcome... and Warning:
Because I seem to have “an ax to grind” with many folks (some fellow ax nuts, some nuts in other ways), perhaps I ought to apologize beforehand for any ego-harm some of my comments (plus unintended prejudices and bias) in the discussions below may cause.
Rest assured, however, that my intent here is to elevate the potential usefulness of an ax – one of the tools which, as the future unfolds, I believe we will be glad that we know how to apply seriously and efficiently.
At the same time I wholeheartedly welcome constructive criticism, of course.

February 11, 2011


As a little background, I grew up in Slovakia, where, as in most of Europe, ax design has lagged behind America a century or two, both in terms of heads and handle shapes. (Many handles there still do not have a knob, for instance.) That is not to say that Europe lacks good ax-men, but by the time I left (at the age of 18) I certainly wasn’t one of them.

Only since about the early nineteen eighties have I become a serious ax user. This still does not imply that I am, as the old timers around here would put it, “a good man with an ax”. For that I was already too old when I first really fell in love with this wonderful tool. One almost has to “grow up with an ax in hand”, they say, to become a real ax-man (or an ax-woman, I suppose, in these unisex days). What I mean by “serious” is that on our homestead we’ve long used axes (during certain periods of a year almost daily) for many tasks – from felling and limbing trees, hewing logs and notching them, making tool handles and, of course, that still most prevalent use of an ax today – splitting firewood.

In addition, I’ve had an interest (sometimes nearing an obsession) in comparing the utility of various versions/models of the tool that strikes a chord with me, and the ax has been the second (after the scythe) to consume my attention. Consequently, I’ve restored several dozen of (mostly vintage USA and Canada-made) axes from a $2 to $5 garage sale condition to a newly-handled tool, tested out during a variety of  work. All this does NOT make me an ax “expert”, though I believe there is a useful opinion or two I can share with budding ax enthusiasts...

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