The easiest, most efficient way to split logs would be to purchase or rent a large log-splitting machine. Apart from lifting and positioning the log, the machine will handle all of the backbreaking, shoulder-splitting, fatigue-inducing work. But perhaps you prefer getting down and dirty, and the rhythm of plopping and chopping wood soothes your soul.
To truly satisfy your inner lumberjack, you’re going to need a reliable axe for splitting logs and chopping wood. The problem is that finding the right axe isn’t as simple as it may seem. For instance, you can’t just take a fire axe and use it to chop logs since the profile of the axe head isn’t right. When looking at potential axes, the first and foremost thing to consider is what you plan on doing with it.
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Cutting and Splitting Axes – What’s the Difference?
Axes have two main functions – cutting and splitting.
Cutting requires having a sharp axe to cut across the grain. The result is a log with a smooth surface on the newly cut portion which can be used for woodworking or other projects. The profile of a splitting axe is thinner and sharper at the point of contact to force the steel blade into where it’s aimed.
Splitting, on the other hand, requires a blunt, wedge-like blade. When splitting logs, the wedge is forced into the wood with the grain and pulling the log apart at the “seams.” The profile of this type of axe is wider, not razor sharp, and heavier at the head than the hilt.
For the remainder of this article, we’re going to focus on splitting axes. This is for those of you who are looking to prepare bundles of logs for the fireplace or replace the log-splitting machine.
Axe for Splitting Wood Buying Guide
Apart from ensuring that the axe has a blunt, wedge-like blade, there are several factors to consider when looking for a reliable log-splitting axe. This section will describe each of the most essential features to keep an eye out for, especially if you want your axe to last you for more than one season.
Axes come in a wide range of different sizes, from single-handed tomahawks to large, two-handed broadaxes. Apart from the profile of the blade, the handle also has a lot to do with what the axe is designed for.
Smaller handles give you more control but less power when striking the log, whereas large handles offer a ton more leverage for splitting logs in a single strike but with lower precision. It’s up to you to find the sweet spot between control and power when looking at the axe’s handle.
Many of the models you find at hardware stores will come with plastic handles. This is something you want to avoid. First of all, plastic doesn’t do well at shock absorption, and secondly, it’s not very durable and will probably shatter in your hands within the first hundred strikes.
We recommend finding a wooden handle, specifically hickory or ash. Also, take time to consider the grain of the wood and check whether it runs parallel to the length of the axe. If it runs across or parallel to the direction of the axe head, it has a higher chance of snapping.
Single-Bit vs. Double-Bit Axe
A single-bit axe is an axe with a single head. All of the power goes into the one head for chopping and splitting logs. The other side of the axe head can be used as a hammer in a pinch.
A double-bit head is an axe with two axe heads. This is the more unpopular choice among axe-aficionados, but it does have some pluses. The axe head is symmetrical and offers incredible balance when using either of the heads for splitting logs. You can also switch from one head to another as one becomes dull and unable to split cleanly through logs.
Choosing between single-bit and double-bit axes is just a matter of personal preference.
Curved vs. Straight Handle
Single-bit axes can have either curved or straight handles. A curved handle helps with grip and provides better leverage for splitting logs with greater force. It also feels a lot more natural to use a curved handle because the shape of the handle fits well with the contour of your hand.
Double-bit axes only have straight handles. This is the only way the axe can be flipped to use the second blade without affecting the balance of the tool.
Much of the time, hardware stores are going to have axes with sleek, beautiful artisanal handles. Varnish may have even been applied to the handle to boost its appearance. The problem with treating the handle with varnish, oils, and paints is that they take away a lot of the natural grip that untreated wood provides. If you end up getting one of these fancy axes, be sure to give the handle a quick sanding to get rid of whatever slippery substance has contaminated the handle.
Even though wooden handles are preferable to composite ones, it doesn’t mean that it can’t come with a grip. If you grip the wooden handle directly, it’ll undoubtedly send tremors up your arm and shoulder as you strike the log. Keep an eye out for log-splitting axes with rubber grips that can absorb the shock as the axe head makes contact.
What Do The Best Axes For Splitting Wood Offer?
While there are certainly many tools that are available, for splitting wood, there is no tool that is quite as good, for doing just that, as an axe. And, there are many different types of axes, but, if you intend to split wood, splitting axes are definitely one of the best choices available, due to the fact that they have been designed specifically for the sole purpose of, well, splitting wood, and they enable you to do this in a very efficient and precise manner, that doesn’t require much in the way of extra work or engagement, on your part.
With an amazing axe, that has been designed for splitting wood, you have an axe that is easy to handle, and easy to hold and maneuver around.
The best axes give you the strength to then properly split the wood that you intend to split. They do this with a nice, sharp blade that gives you plenty of strength and power, and by using this blade, and handling the axe well, you can split whatever piece of wood happens to be in your path, and the process of doing this is simple and easy.
Ultimately, though, a great axe is able to do those things, and it is also able to provide you with the durability that it needs to last for many years. Bad axes are axes that last for a year or two, and then begin to degrade in quality But, with a good axe, an axe that has been designed with care and precision, you will be able to use that axe for a long time, and it will continue to provide value to you.
In this buying guide, you’re going to learn about the individual traits and features that will align to provide you with that type of experience.
What Do I Need To Look For And Consider?
We’re now going to be looking at the individual traits and qualities that must be considered, when searching for the best axe that you can use to split wood.
Here’s the thing about these individual traits and qualities, though, these are things that you should consider and look for when searching for any type of axe, and not just when searching for an axe that you can use to split wood. So, if you are looking for another type of axe, you can use this guide to help you find that type of axe, as well.
How Much Does The Axe Weigh?
Right off the bat, the first thing that you are going to need to consider, is the weight of the axe. Now, axes tend to vary quite a bit, when it comes to their weight. You can find axes that weigh quite a bit, and you can also find axes that weigh considerably less.
Some people have said that the heavier the axe, the more power it provides. To an extent, this is true. But, the problem with this logic is that you need an axe that you will actually be able to hold and handle. If the axe is too heavy for you to actually be able to do that, then you won’t really be able to utilize the extra power that you have access to.
Ideally, the axe that you buy will weigh around three or four-pounds. Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on what your own requirements for the axe happen to be. It’s important that you find an axe that you are able t hold, though, and this entails being aware of how much weight feels good in your hands. By knowing that, it’s going to be a lot easier, finding the best axe for splitting wood, that feels good to you.
How Long Is The Axe?
The next thing that you need to consider, is how long the axe actually is. You will find axes that are quite long, and you will find axes that are quite short.
With long axes, there tends to be a bit more force, when you thrust the axe down. This gives you a power advantage, making the process of splitting the wood a little bit easier, since each piece of wood is able to be cut up in a speedier manner. For this reason, many people prefer to buy axes that have longer handles, because this does make the process of splitting wood, a little bit faster.
Shorter handles provide you with less force, and this does extend the time that it actually takes to split the wood. With that being said, however, there are a lot of people who prefer short handles, because, while it does take a little longer, it feels a lot more comfortable, since you have a bit more grasp over the handle of the axe, rather than feeling as if you aren’t in control of the axe, or the force that it is producing.
Do You Need A Multipurpose Axe?
You will find that there are two types of axes, generally speaking. Obviously, there are more than just two, but these two are quite common.
There are axes that have been designed with a single purpose in mind, and only come with the blade of the axe, and then there are axes that also have a maul function, which gives you the ability to maul the wood that you are cutting, and to break it down a bit more easily, depending on what you need.
Having two tools is quite convenient, but if you won’t ever use that secondary function, then it probably isn’t a worthwhile investment.
How Much Does The Axe Cost?
Cost does matter. In fact, it really matters, a lot. And, you will find some amazing axes that are great for splitting wood, that don’t cost very much money at all. And, you will also find a lot of amazing axes that cost quite a bit of money.
As a general rule, you should expect to pay at least $50, for a great axe that does a great job splitting wood. If you pay more than $50, and end up paying around $100, or more, you are going to be getting an absolutely fantastic axe that is exceptionally good at chopping wood, and providing you the power to do so.
Axes come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, blade profiles, and materials. Because of this, it’s crucial that you know what you intend to do with an axe in order to get the best possible model. For splitting logs, be sure to check the profile of the blade – blunt, wedge-like blades are designed to split logs with the grain.
Other than that, you need to make sure that the tool is both comfortable to use and will stand not just multiple strikes against hard object but also the test of time. The most important things to consider other than the blade are the length, materials, and shock-absorbing abilities of the handle.
When it comes to chopping wood, the best tool that you can use, is an axe. A good axe is incredibly efficient and powerful, and it will last you a very long time, as well. Finding the best axe for chopping wood is not a difficult task, and using this buying guide, you won’t have any problems finding that special axe for yourself, and you won’t have any problems using the axe that you buy, to chop wood!
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Last update on 2021-03-05 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API