Axes & Hatchets
Axes & Hatchets
Looking for an outdoor axe, but not sure which type is best for you? Axes can have multiple uses, whether you’re felling trees, chopping or splitting firewood, or woodworking.
Since your needs are specific, you cannot opt for a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, you’ll have to find the right axe for your personal situation.
Axes made for different use cases will have different designs, including the length, shape, and make of the head and the handle. So, you’ll have to consider what you hope to accomplish with the axe before purchasing one.
To choose the right axe from our collection, read our detailed guide on the best axe for every occasion.
How to Choose the Right Axe for Your Need
Axes are powerful tools that rely on your strength, but the weight of the axe head is an important factor.
To ensure you receive the best value for your money, keep these essential characteristics in mind while you search for the axe that works for you.
Qualities to Look for When Buying the Perfect Axe
The Right Material: Wood, Iron, or Cold Steel
Having the right material — for both the axe and the shaft —is extremely important. For instance, axe heads made of stainless steel are resistant to rust and pitting, which is perfect if you frequently work outside and with wet wood. Additionally, it keeps its edge for a very long time, enabling it to last longer with little upkeep.
On the other hand, a carbon steel head is tougher and holds an edge more effectively. But, carbon steel is more susceptible to corrosion and needs a little more care.
A wooden handle has the advantage that it is the weakest component: If the handle breaks under stress, it will be less expensive and simpler to repair the wood than metal options.
Hickory wood is considered an impressive standard, provided its protective coating is textured enough for a proper grip.
Quick tip: Avoid choosing a full-steel axe — one that is made of metal from the head to the handle — when it comes to the handle. Steel can be finicky and isn’t often worth the headache.
Head Shape, Sharpness, and Size
If you want a good all-purpose tool, you’ll need a camping axe with a flat top. It should be about the width of a finger. And, its blade would have a short rise back to the handle and a downward curve.
One of the most crucial measures of an axe's quality is its edge.
Axes that are sharp are made for cleaner cuts and cut easily through wood, especially when the wood is densely knotted.
However, accidents occur more frequently with a blunt axe than with a sharp one. This occurs because you will need to use more power to compensate for the lack of edge.
Blades for splitting axes are typically heavier and work better with large and medium-sized logs.
Handle Length and Make
A handle that is as long as your leg allows you to apply a lot of force when splitting large pieces of wood. But, a tiny hatchet with a handle the length of your forearm is ideal for cutting firewood since it offers better control.
For something in between, find a handle that is the same length as your entire arm. Keep in mind that speed and power increase with longer shafts. If the weight of your bag is a concern, choose a smaller option like a hatchet.
In terms of the make of your handle, an excellent axe shaft option is made of wood that is either straight or has a very tiny S-curve. With this intentional design, you can exert the appropriate amount of force.
Variations in the above design factor can result in completely different types of axes. The right choice, therefore, depends on what usage you have in mind for it.
Buying an Axe for Felling Trees
Felling trees is a difficult, highly skilled profession that demands stamina, endurance, and meticulous attention to detail — not to mention an equally capable tool.
A felling axe must be exceptionally tough, razor-sharp, and powerful — made primarily for the job of felling trees and chopping timber. It must also have a tempered head and a sharp, fine edge connected to it.
When felling trees, a razor-sharp cutting edge will be necessary to cut wood fibers at a 90° angle. You may also opt for a spitting felling axe which has a heavier head and is considered a safer alternative than a regular felling axe.
Buying an Axe for Chopping and Splitting Firewood
The act of splitting involves striking a short log's flat sawed end. The goal is to separate the wood fibers and cause the log to break apart along its grain. So, if your goal is to stock your woodshed, you’ll need a splitting axe.
A splitting axe has a broad, heavy steelhead and a sharp, wedge-shaped blade that may split down the wood grain when struck forcefully in the center of a log.
The heads of most splitting axes weigh between three and six pounds, and you can use this weight to your advantage. You can produce more force by swinging the axe in an arc and bringing it down on a log. So, the heavier the axe head, the more force you’ll be able to achieve.
However, if the head is so heavy that the axe becomes difficult to operate, it could affect your aim or wear you out after a while.
Buying an Axe for Fine Woodwork
For fine woodworking, a carpenter’s axe is the perfect instrument. But, this axe won’t work well for general felling or chopping tasks.
A carpenter’s axe is a little axe that is occasionally also referred to as a carpenter's hatchet — although it is a little larger than a typical hatchet.
When choosing a carpenter's axe, pay attention to the edge of the blade: A straighter edge indicates a higher-quality axe that will produce a better, more precise cut.
Additionally, modern carpenter's axes have a groove added to them that can be used to pry nails out of wood. They frequently include a notch on the handle for a better grip and more precise control for the operator.
Buy the Best Quality Axe for Your Need at Self Reliance Outfitters
At Self Reliance Outfitters, we provide a premium selection of the best axe types appropriate for forestry, camping, or outdoor activities.
To cater to our independent outfitter customer, we concentrate on the qualities that axes are known for: strength, durability, sharpness, and high-quality material.
We are as enthusiastic about axes as you are: At Self Reliance Outfitters, we offer a large selection of the best quality axes and hatchets to the customer for various outdoor pursuits. Shop today!