Edge tools are among the earliest tool forms, with surviving primitive axes dated to 8000 B.C.. Early axes were created by “wrapping” the red hot iron around a form, yielding the attention of the axe. The steel bit, introduced in the 18th century, was laid in to the fold at the front end and hammered into an edge. The medial side opposite the bit was later extended in to a poll, for better balance and to offer a hammering surface.

The handles took on many different shapes, some indicative or origin, others concerning function. Along the handle had more to do with the arc of the swing which was required. Felling axes took the full swing and therefore needed the longest handles. Early axes have their handles fitted through the attention from the most truly effective down and the handles stay in place by locking in to the taper of the attention, so they can be removed for sharpening.

Later axes, however, have their handles fit through the attention from the underside up, and have a wedge driven in from the top. Norse axes for sale This permanently locks the handle to the axe and was much preferred by American woodsmen. Many axes found today had been discarded as the handle was split or broken off. Typically they can be purchased at a fraction of their value and, with another handle, could be restored for their original condition. Most axe collectors have an inventory of older flea-market handles which they use for this restoration. Like plane blades, axe handles could have been replaced 2 or 3 times through the life of the tool. As long as the handle is “proper,” meaning, the best shape and length because of its function, it won’t detract that much from its value.

Pricing of antique axes runs the whole gamut from a few dollars to several hundred. Examples of well-made axes would include the Plumb, White, Kelly, Miller and numerous others. Beyond they were axes of sometimes lesser quality, but developed to an amount, and sold by the thousands. Exceptional examples might include handmade axes, possibly from the area blacksmith, or from a manufacturer that specialized in the handmade article, aside from price.

There are numerous types of axes out there such as for example:


This axe is recognized as the workhorse of the axe family. It is a simple design, varying from the 2 ½ lb. head used by campers to the 4 ½ to 7 lb. head employed for forest work. You will find heads found in lumbermen’s competition which can be around 12lbs.. With the advent of the two-man crosscut saw, and later the ability chain saw, tree no further are taken down by axes. The axe is more an energy tool for clearing branches off the downed tree, and splitting firewood.


Double bit axes will have straight handles, unlike some other modern axe. Virtually all axe handles are hickory. Hickory has both strength and spring, and was found very early to be the most effective for axe handles. Starting in the late 1800’s a number of axe manufactures adopted intricate logos that have been embossed or etched on the head of the axe. Almost 200 different styles have been identified up to now and these also have become a fascinating collectible.


The broad axe is never as common whilst the felling axe, and is a lot larger. It’s purpose was to square up logs into beams. It used a much shorter swing that the felling axe, therefore required a much shorter handle. The identifying feature of several axes could be the chisel edge, that allowed the back side of the axe to be dead flat. Because of this, it posed a challenge of clearance for the hands. To keep the hands from being scraped, the handle was canted or swayed from the flat plane of the axe. Here is the feature that should always be looked for when buying a wide axe. If the edge is chisel-sharpened, then the handle should really be swayed. Much like the felling axe, the broad axe heads have many different patterns, mostly a consequence of geographical preference.


The goose wing axe is one of the very artistic looking tools out there, and it requires it’s name from its resemblance to the wing of a goose in flight. It functions exactly whilst the chisel-edged broad axe, except that the American version gets the handle socket more heavily bent or canted up from the plane of the blade. These axes are large and difficult to forge. Many show cracks and repairs and an authentic handle is rare. Signed pieces, particularly by American makers, mostly Pennsylvania Dutch, are much more valuable. Also worth addressing could be the difference in value between American and European axes, the American ones being worth considerably more. A couple of well-known 19th century American makers whose names appear imprinted on axes are Stohler, Stahler, Sener, Rohrbach, Addams, and L.& I.J. White.

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