Ever thought that an “axe is just an axe”? Well, you couldn’t be more wrong, because as with most tools, there’s multiple different types available to suit the many roles a woodman takes on.
In this guide, we’re going to look at the different types of axes. Whilst some of them seem a bit crazy (we’re looking at you zombie axe), most definitely have a real-world use.
When most people think of an axe, this is what they envisage. These are the types of axe you can pick up at Home Depot for a few dollars, and for most people they do fine for chopping up kindling or tacking the occasional small tree.
A good hatchet, should ideally include a hickory handle, well weighted head and a balanced feel. It’s the balanced feel that helps you strike accurately each time, felling a tree much quicker than a cheaper hatchet.
2. Felling Axe
These axes are more catered to the felling of trees and chopping larger logs. This time around, the handle is longer, head is angled more aggressively and usually the handle is designed to produce a powerful swing action.
As with the hatchet, it’s all about hickory with the felling axe, and it’s even more important that the grain follow the curve of the handle upwards for strength. Other materials can be used for a Felling Axe too, metal and plastic polymer handles been a favourite of more budget versions.
3. Splitting Maul
Similar in size to a felling axe, yet this time its job is to split logs into kindling for a fire. The axe head will have a less aggressive, more concave blade to it, allowing you to split the wood across the grain, rather than cut into it. You might have read our splitting maul reviews, we went over the top products in the market and love these axes.
A good splitting axe will share much in coming with a decent felling axe. A long wooden handle, forged head and a grain that follows the curve of the handle. The only material difference is the head blade design.
These are the axes you see frequently on camping trips. They tend to be used incorrectly for fire wood collecting and clearing brush, something a quality machete would be a better fit for!
Another use for the Tomahawk is as a weapon, people train to throw these axes with incredible accuracy!
5. The Double Bit Axe
This axe is a cumbersome beast, yet it’s dual head is more useful than you’d think! One side of the double bit axe is always much sharper than the other. It’s this side that you use to fell a tree or cut wood.
On the opposite side, you’ll find a head that’s much more concave and blunt. This side is your splitting head, and will allow you to finish off the job of firewood collecting with ease.
There are pros and cons to this design. For one, it makes the top of the axe incredibly heavy in use, and often tires people out half way through a job; however, carry just the one axe with you can be helpful if you travel far to collect wood.
Double bit axes aren’t that popular anymore, and you’d probably have to go to a specialist axe merchant or manufacturer to find one.
6. Viking/Danish Axe
We had to include this one! Okay, there’s no real use for these axes anymore; however, frequent battle re-enactment enthusiasts buy them in their thousands, so it’s easier than you’d think to get hold of one.
A standard issue Viking axe is huge. They can easily be 6ft in height, with different sizes depending on the user (yet, you can be fitted for a Viking Axe, just like a suit).
Viking Hats and Boasts sold separately!
7. Tactical Axe
I’ve never been much of a tactical axe enthusiast, I’ve always found them a jack of all trade, and yet a master of none! Even so, many camping and survival people rate them highly, and in some respects, you can see why.
A good tactical axe, is not usually made of hickory, or indeed any wood. They’re generally made of forged steel, with helpful notches and serrated edges to help with specific tasks. A great example of this is climbing axes, which feature special cut-outs and parts to cut rock, or help attach bolts to rock faces.
In a survival situation, a quality tactical axe can sometimes make the difference due to its sheer strength and multi-functional use.
8. Battle Axe
Unlike the Viking Axe, the battle axe is much smaller, and designed to be held in one hand. They’re extremely powerful weapons, with a heavy cut head that’s designed to carry as much power through the swing, and ultimately onto your victim.
Just like the Viking Axe, there’s a whole industry of manufacturers designed to serve the battle re-enactment scene, so if you really want to lay your hands on one of these, it’s easier that you think.
9. Zombie Apocalypse Axe
Okay, I know, we’re going off the scale crazy with this mention. Even so, the Zombie Axe has come a long way from science fiction and dystopian novels! The modern Zombie Axe has a feel and look that unmissable, plus it’s cool as hell!
As with the tomahawk, the Zombie Axe is made from fully forges steel, and shares much of its design with tactical axes too. Just as the Viking and Battle Axes, a whole industry has grown up around ornamental Zombie Axes, plus an entire “Rat Look” custom car scene has been created too. The Zombie Apocalypse custom car look never complete without a shiny, zombie killing axe attached to the roof rack.