Following on from the blog post about axe selection, what are your experiences with axes?

They can be particularly dangerous when used carelessly, have any of you had any accidents?

Do you find that frequent sharpening in the field is necessary?


The community would appreciate your input

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While I have used an axe many times for many hours it has always been for a simple purpose; either felling, limbing or kindling.  I have always used cheap hardware store axes and had to sharpen regularly and replace the odd handle.


Funnily enough, I know of people who get the remnants of the old handle out by sticking them in a fire for the night.  I'm sure that will have the metallurgists spinning.


Of interest is the thought we can't get good axes in NZ, for we still have a strong fraternity of sporting axemen.  They must supply themselves with quality gear and, before finding your links in the blog, though they would be a good place to start if I were to find the proper jobbies.


Size wise, I guess it would depend on the application.  If you had the capability to supply the base camp with a vehicle then more selection is available.  But walking in, I'd prefer a mid size.  This said, a good deal of work I do for the simple stuff is covered off with my khukri.  This isnt to say I havent had a pang for a heavier option.


Nice blog post, thanks.

Found this badass sitting around, rusting away in the garage. Picked it up and thought i might have a half decent relic in my hands.

I could barely make out the inscriptions and brandings

After a bit of sanding.

Any knowledge on this axe? On one side its got

Made in Canada

True Temper

On the other side its got the ''Kelly' branding

Can't help but I have one too, put 4 handles on it over the last 15 years and chopped a crap load of wood with it. Good axe!


Bloody good axe you have there mate, I have a few different size kelly's and they're all long lasting and good quality.

That should come up really nice if you go over it all in various grades of wet and dry sandpaper, only about a $1.40 a sheet, I find if they are cleaned up and polished they don't rust as easily and they cut deeper into wood.

I believe Dandenong is an area in Aussie that was iconic for early timber felling.

Hey Jeff. 

Speaking of brands. I realised that there seems to be several 'classes' of axe. From what i see there are ones made by professional manufacturers (Gransfors, Wetterlings) and then there are the unbranded or hardware store ones. The prices of the professional brand names can get up into the 100s or dollars typically while your 'Bunnings' Chinese axe can range from $10-30.

I brought myself one of these $10 hatchets the other day. Using it for a bit of roughing out on staves. Its not particularly heavy sort of work. I put a bit of an edge onto it and yea, it makes the cuts through your bits of softwood pine quite easily without much effort. Hardwood's require more effort but it is possible. It does its job

Is the difference in the overall durability? Will the cutting edge on my Chinese hatchet wear out a lot quicker than your Scandinavian hatchet?

Does it really matter which you buy as long as you look after it and keep it sharp?

Is the difference in the overall durability? Will the cutting edge on my Chinese hatchet wear out a lot quicker than your Scandinavian hatchet?

The main thing I have found with the cheapies is, they break. I used to sell cheapies and the handles go first, if you put a good handle on the head breaks or cracks, usually around the handle where the thinner steel is.

Does it really matter which you buy as long as you look after it and keep it sharp?

I think it depends on what you use it on, if you don't overwork the hatchet you might get years of use, handle will go first but good opportunity to rehandle with something better.

I have a medium priced steel handle hatchet and its probably 20-30 years old. I keep it sharp and oiled and have no problems, I would like a better one like the Gransfors etc, but need other gear first before upgrading.

I have a Kelly axe I got from a second hand shop following some advice from an old fulla. It's a bloody good axe, good handle and I've hardly ever sharpened it. My missus took a slice of the top of her finger with it when she was cutting kindling. It was a good clean cut.(she wasn't cutting it like I showed her) I don't think she's cut firewood since.

There's nothing shameful about utilising the chicken stick. ;)  (For kindling that is)

I have a variety of axes and hatchets which I love to use, some are little kindling hatchets, some are forest axes and I have one real old worn racing axe that is awesome for felling trees.

I make my own handles as can be seen in the blog section and use a very old Norton combination axe stone similar to this one:

With the axes I use most I've found as long as I keep them oiled and am careful not to damage the edge on stones and such the edge lasts for weeks to months of use.

Hmmm accidents, well I watched my mate cut his 8yo sisters pinkie finger off by accident when we were about 10, it was reattached and she never forgave him. =)


I was levering an axe out of a knotty piece of wood, it bounced and landed on the hand bracing the wood, slicing down the side of my finger. I keep my axes sharp, so the resulting cut was nice and clean, I superfixed the skin together and wrapped it up, went to doctor and he was impressed with the repair but not the reason for the cut.

I always take a small tube of super glue in my personal first aid kit. Hope to never need it again.



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