Edge tools are among the first tool forms, with surviving primitive axes dated to 8000 B.C.. Early axes were created by “wrapping” the red hot iron around a questionnaire, yielding a person’s eye 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 into a poll, for better balance and to supply a hammering surface.
The handles took on a variety of shapes, some indicative or origin, others relating to function. The size of the handle had more regarding the arc of the swing that was required. Felling axes took a complete swing and therefore needed the longest handles. Early axes have their handles fitted through a person’s eye from the most effective down and the handles stay static in place by locking in to the taper of a person’s eye, so they can be removed for sharpening.
Later axes, however, have their handles fit through a person’s eye from underneath up, and have a wedge driven in from the top. This permanently locks the handle to the axe and was much preferred by American woodsmen. Many axes found today have been discarded since the handle was split or broken off. In most cases they can be purchased at a fraction of the value and, with another handle, may be restored with their original condition. Most axe collectors have a share of older flea-market handles which they use with this restoration. Like plane blades, axe handles may have been replaced two or three times through the entire life of the tool. So long as the handle is “proper,” meaning, the best shape and length for its function, it won’t detract that much from its value.
Pricing of antique axes runs the whole gamut from a few dollars a number of hundred. Samples of well-made axes would include the Plumb, White, Kelly, Miller and numerous others. Viking axe for sale Beyond they were axes of sometimes lesser quality, but developed to a price, and sold by the thousands. Exceptional examples might include handmade axes, possibly from the local blacksmith, or from a manufacturer that specialized in the handmade article, aside from price.
There are several types of axes available such as:
SINGLE BIT FELLING AXE:
This axe is known as the workhorse of the axe family. It is really a simple design, varying from a 2 ½ lb. head employed by campers to the 4 ½ to 7 lb. head employed for forest work. You can find heads utilized in lumbermen’s competition which are up to 12lbs.. With the advent of the two-man crosscut saw, and later the power chain saw, tree no more are taken down by axes. The axe is more an energy tool for clearing branches off the downed tree, and splitting firewood.
DOUBLE BIT FELLING AXE:
Double bit axes will have straight handles, unlike every other modern axe. Nearly 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 several axe manufactures adopted intricate logos which were embossed or etched on the top of the axe. Almost 200 different styles have been identified to date and these have also become an interesting collectible.
The broad axe is much less common while 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 many of these axes could be the chisel edge, that allowed the rear side of the axe to be dead flat. Because of this, it posed an issue of clearance for the hands. To keep the hands from being scraped, the handle was canted or swayed away from the flat plane of the axe. This is actually the feature which should always be looked for when buying a broad axe. If the edge is chisel-sharpened, then your handle should be swayed. As with the felling axe, the broad axe heads have a variety of patterns, mostly a consequence of geographical preference.
The goose wing axe is one of the very artistic looking tools available, and it takes it’s name from its resemblance to the wing of a goose in flight. It functions exactly while the chisel-edged broad axe, except that the American version has 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 significantly more valuable. Also worth addressing could be the difference in value between American and European axes, the American ones being worth considerably more. A few well-known 19th century American makers whose names appear imprinted on axes are Stohler, Stahler, Sener, Rohrbach, Addams, and L.& I.J. White.