Various types of axes are ancient tools that have a very rich history attached to them, and they were originally used as weaponry, hunting animals, and felling trees. Today, the axe is very commonly used out in outdoor pursuits or in the yard, and many people take them camping. However, the type of axe you pick out will depend on the usage you want to get out of it.
Today, the most popular type of axe is the felling axe, and this is better known as the American axe. There is a huge design range available when it comes to these axes, and the blade patterns get their name from the locations they originated. We’re going to outline several popular types of axes to consider adding to your collection below.
1. Battle Axe
When most people think of a type of axe, the battle axe is one of the first things that come to mind. This certainly isn’t an axe type that you’d use in modern time for projects or any practical purposes, but it’s a weapon with a very rich history. Battle axes are held in one hand, and they were very deadly on ancient battlefields. This is a weapon that many people use with a shield on the other hand.
Today, you can still buy this type of axe relatively easily if you want one. It’s not something that you’d find in modern military battle weaponry, but it’s a very popular collector’s item for several reasons. Some people like to reenact battles from the past and want authentic weaponry or some people just like how they look. It’s not uncommon to see vendors selling custom axes in this category when you go to a renaissance faire.
If you’re going to cosplay a historical warrior, buying this type of axe can make your outfit look and feel much more authentic. A lot of people also like to buy this axe type to admire how well they’re crafted. It’s not going to be a practical axe that you’d bring out to help you tackle projects around your home like cutting wood, but it can make a fun decoration for your fireplace mantle. However, this is a real axe, so it’s possible to sharpen it and use it for some cutting projects.
Many battle axes come quite dull, and it’s very common to see chrome plating on them to make them more of a display piece than something you’d use. Many of them are designed to mimic the look of Germanic battle axes from the 15th century. If you’d like something that is fun to look at and very ornate, this is one type of axe to consider.
2. Broad Axe
When you hear someone talk about this type of axe, it’s another one where you’d think of war or ancient battles. However, this axe is actually a very practical tool that you find used a lot in woodworking. This type of axe will come in very handy if you’re going to build something out of wood. For example, if you have a build project on the horizon for a cabin or larger structure, you’ll use this axe very frequently.
This is also a very handy tool to have when people need to prepare beams or planks out of rough logs. It’s something that you’ll go back to again and again during the woodworking process. However, there are methods you use to accomplish these tasks with this tool. Some people like to use power tools instead, but when you want to do as much by hand as you can, a broad axe is going to be something to consider.
Generally speaking, you use this tool to carve a flat surface on a rounded log. To do this, this type of axe has a slightly different design than many of the axes you might be familiar with using. The first thing many people notice is that the head shape is slightly different. It’s not nearly as symmetrical as other types of axes, and it typically gets designed with either a right-handed or left-handed person in mind.
This is a type of axe that gets designed for one very specific purpose too. Trying to use it for other projects won’t work very well. However, this is something you’ll want to have if you do woodworking. Just make sure that you get a left or right-handed one, depending on what you need.
3. Carpenter’s Axe
This type of axe is going to be much smaller than other axe types. As the name suggests, you use it for carpentry purposes. The axe is close enough to be small enough for most people to consider it a hatchet. It’s small enough to allow you to wield this axe with one hand without running into any significant issues.
This axe comes designed to give you the best control possible. In order for your carpentry projects to turn out as nice as they can, you’ll need to skillfully wield this axe. The blade on this type of axe comes designed to let you get as close as possible to your material as you work. It makes precision strikes a lot simpler, and it’s going to be extremely beneficial to have on hand.
The blade you’ll see on this axe is very thin to make each strike more precise. The cutting edge is straight and long, so you shouldn’t have any issues making accurate cuts. No matter which carpentry project you take on, from working with landscape timbers to trimming boards, this type of axe can work well. It’s a very accurate tool.
Depending on the axe you pick out, you can find ones with stunning hickory handles that are up to 20 inches long. The head of the axe gets secured to the handle with a steel wedge, and this ensures that it lasts for years. If you keep the blade properly sharpened, it will be a reliable tool that you can use for years. It’s a very highly recommended purchase for any carpenter.
4. Double Bit Axe
At one point or another, you’ve most likely seen a type of axe with two heads. These axe types are double bit axes, and they can be very difficult for you to use until you get used to them. Swinging this axe will feel much different from swinging a standard axe that has a single head. The two heads on this particular axe are used for varying purposes though.
One side of this type of axe is going to be much sharper than the other. You will use this sharp side for cutting up some wood or for cutting down a tree. The other side of the head is a little duller, and you use it to split wood. It works very well when you use it for this project, and you don’t have to swap it out for a splitting axe halfway through the project.
However, this doesn’t mean that this is going to be a convenient tool for everyone to use. Some people are going to try this axe and find out that it’s far too cumbersome to use. It’s also not always going to be a practical choice, and the head may be too heavy for some people to use efficiently. It can feel awkward when you go to swing it, especially if you just got one and you’ve never used it before.
The general heavier nature of this type of axe makes it known for fatiguing the user relatively quickly. Any professional who has experience in welding this axe does find it a valuable tool to have on hand. It’s easier to use one axe instead of having to have two or three to finish your project.
5. Felling Axe
A felling axe is one of the most common types of axes people have and use on a routine basis. This is the axe you’ll use for various landscaping projects like cutting down trees and leaving a short stump. It’s a very powerful tool, and when placed in the right hands, can be welded with real skill. A good felling axe will be able to fell a thicker tree without running into issues.
There are many variations of this type of axe on the market today, and there are some you should be leery of. You can easily find felling hatchets that work better for felling small trees, and there are a huge range of sizes to choose from when you shop. Different people will feel much more comfortable with various sizes.
It’s a good idea to get an axe that gives you a comfortable swing. You should be able to find an axe that is powerful enough to fit all of your projects. The goal is to find a balance of power and weight to ensure that it’s light enough to wield comfortably. This shouldn’t be a long or drawn-out process.
You can get fairly large tools overall in this category. The handles can easily reach and go over 31 inches, and they can weigh over five pounds. You don’t want something that is so large it’s difficult to swing because doing so will make it hard to take down the trees on your property safely.
6. Fireman’s Axe
When you think about the professions that routinely use axes in their jobs, one of the first things many people picture is the fireman. A fireman’s axe gets used on a regular basis to help rescue people from burning structures. It needs to be powerful enough that you can use it to break down doors or get through walls. This is one imperative type of axe to have, and firemen routinely use them to stay alive.
A fireman’s axe is made to be extremely durable. So, it makes sense that it has to be a heavy-duty option that can withstand the workload, and you can usually use it for more than one purpose. The head of many of these axes weigh in around six pounds, and this makes it feel natural when you put it to use without being too cumbersome to swing.
When you start shopping, you can find both smaller and larger types of axes in this category. There is a range of different sizes that will work better for people with different body types. It’s essential that you carry the correct type of axe with you that will allow you to complete your projects.
A hatchet is a much smaller type of axe that you can use for several things. A lot of people buy them to take with them when they go on camping trips. They can make it easy to quickly chop firewood for your fire when you’re out camping. It can also be nice to have if you have to cut something open.
Since hatchets are small, it makes them a little easier to swing than a traditional type of axe. Some people may have a harder time wielding a full-sized axe than others. Anyone who is slightly smaller than average can wind up liking this option better. Even bigger people find hatchets useful too.
They’re powerful enough to help you chop down small trees or branches to keep your yard safe. It may not be as easy to use as a felling axe for this job, but it’ll help you get the job done. A lot of people choose them because they’re readily available at most home improvement or outdoor gear stores, and they won’t break the budget to pick one up.
8. Hudson Bay Axe
This is a very interesting type of axe because it works much like the felling axe we touched on earlier. The biggest difference between the two is that the Hudson Bay Axes are usually smaller. Generally speaking, they’re roughly ¾ the size of a traditional axe, and this can be a nice advantage because they’re easier to wield.
People who find themselves working outdoors a lot or who are camping enthusiasts will like owning this type of axe. It’s light enough that you can carry it around easily, and you can use it to cut through branches or fell small trees without an issue. It can be useful in a range of outdoor projects.
However, you won’t be able to use it to cut through trees or logs that are very thick with this tool. The blade is slightly thinner, and this is why it’s only practical to use it on smaller branches and trees. It doesn’t come designed for heavy-duty felling projects, so you’ll want something more powerful if that is on your agenda. However, it’s nice to have it if you work outdoors a lot.
When you start to shop, you’ll notice that there are many great choices on the market. You want something that is easy to use and lightweight. Some may even come outfitted with a sheath to make it more convenient to carry.
9. Splitting Axe
In some circles, you may hear this type of axe referred to as a splitting maul. Some people can find these names confusing, but all you have to remember is that it’s a type of axe. When you need to split firewood to stack for your fireplace, this is the axe you want to be able to grab. It’ll help you quickly cut through logs to make the whole project move along quickly and smoothly.
As the name suggests, this axe gets specifically designed to split firewood. The head is made to split the wood in two pieces when you strike the log. It can take practice and skill to get it right, but a lot of people are able to easily get the hang of it. If you’re planning an outdoor event or a campfire that needs firewood, you’ll want to go out and buy this type of axe.
If you get a bigger option, you can easily use it to cut bigger logs down into firewood. The bigger models weigh over six pounds and usually have handles that are 36-inches long or more. The blade is very sharp and ready to go, and this allows you to split a log in a single strike. If you have one of these axes on hand, splitting firewood shouldn’t be a huge chore.
10. Survival Axe
A survival axe is a very practical tool that a lot of people take when they go out hunting or camping in the woods. You may hear this type of axe referred to as a survival hatchet. You can use these terms interchangeably without an issue, so don’t worry too much about what you choose to call it. It’s a practical and simple tool that will help you survive should you get lost out in the wilderness.
This axe type is going to be very useful when you need to cut through brush, cut wood, and it can help you create a shelter. If you want to rough it outside for an extended period, taking one of these axes with you is a very smart move on your part. It will make it a lot easier for you to live your day to day life if you have one of these on hand in a survival situation. As a bonus, this type of axe is very easy to use. You won’t need a lot of extra space to store it, and they’re not too large to carry around. You can easily sheath it to your belt loop.
A lot of people use this type of axe in non-emergency situations too. It’s a very practical axe that is a nice investment for any DIYer who routinely works with wood, like building a porch or fixing up your garden signs. It’s also cost-effective, and you can purchase one without breaking the bank.
Today, this type of axe isn’t really practical to have or use. Some people do find practical ways to use them though. It’s not very uncommon to see someone using one to cut down a small tree or to chop firewood. There are other tools that are much better suited to these projects, but a tomahawk can work in a pinch.
Originally, tomahawks were weapons that several cultures used during war. The Native American tribes are most likely what popped into your head when you heard tomahawk, and they were very skilled with them. You can throw a tomahawk with a lot of precision if you know what you’re doing.
A lot of people buy these types of axes today for fun. Throwing one can be very challenging at first, but once you learn the correct form, it feels very natural. This is an activity or hobby people really get into once they learn, so buying tomahawks today isn’t that unusual. You can get American-made tomahawks that are very popular today. The entire thing is just over 10-inches long, and the blade comes with a cutting edge that is roughly three inches long.
12. Viking Axe
Finally, the Viking Axe is the final type of axe on the list. The Vikings are very legendary warriors that many people are fascinated by today, and there are very popular movies and television shows dedicated to this culture. They’ve also become a very popular topic in the music industry, and many bands have taken to writing songs about their general outlook on life and their mythology. So, it should come as no surprise to you that you can easily buy a Viking axe today.
The design of this type of axe is very different from most traditional axes. It was originally intended to be a weapon for combat, so it has a totally different design. It doesn’t have much of a purpose today in the modern world, but a lot of people buy them as conversation pieces or for decor. Some people also like to cosplay, and this axe lends a little authenticity to the costume.
Original Viking axes were extremely large, and it wasn’t uncommon for them to reach up to six feet tall. However, the size would depend on the Viking that was going to wield it. The modern axe in this category is slightly more modest in terms of size, but it’s still ornate. It’s big enough to look very intimidating, but it weighs in at roughly three or four pounds.
If you’re interested in Viking culture, this could be a nice type of axe to own. They usually come with dull blades, but you can sharpen them with the right tools. The design isn’t perfect for daily tasks like cutting wood, but you could attempt it.
We outlined 12 useful and fun types of axes in this article, and you have to decide which one is going to work best for your needs. Some will work for large-scale projects while others are better suited as decorative pieces.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.