Axe head weights.

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Axe head weights.

Postby brianthehurdler » April 9th, 2016, 11:29 am

Both my two axeing 'bibles' ('An Ax to Grind' and D. Cook's 'The Ax Book' - we seem to have no British equivalent) maintain that the bigger the tree you're felling the heavier the axe (and the longer the handle) you need.

Being a disputatious sort of fellow I'd like to dispute this.

Once you're six inches into felling a two foot diameter tree you're chopping exactly as much wood as when you're six inches into a four foot tree. Or a five foot or a six foot tree.

So where is the advantage of having a longer, heavier axe?

I can see that a bigger or smaller axeman would want a bigger or smaller axe and I can see that softer or harder timbers might justify different axe weights, but why different sized trees?

Can anyone offer me some suggestions as to why axe weights might need to vary with the size of the tree?

Thanks, Brian.

Thanks, Brian.
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Re: Axe head weights.

Postby TheLastAxeman » April 9th, 2016, 3:58 pm

The more work you do, the more efficient tool you will need. -Yoda
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Re: Axe head weights.

Postby Jim_Thode » April 9th, 2016, 6:27 pm

Brian,
I would not agree that axe heads were heavier in the big timber of the Pacific Northwest. I see in the Ax to Grind (http://www.pcta.org/wp-content/uploads/ ... _grind.pdf) the Puget Sound Falling axe came in 3 to 5lb weights. It seems that most were about 4 lbs. I also see that other ax patterns common in the eastern part of the country (with smaller timber) were offered in weights up to 7lbs with a few up to 8lbs.

I can see a need for longer handles in bigger timber. I believe that 40 to 42" handles were common and when standing on a springboard and working on a larger tree that extra reach would come in handy.

Jim

Crosscut falling fig53.jpg
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Re: Axe head weights.

Postby PATCsawyer » April 10th, 2016, 5:01 am

From everything I've read, those long handled axes were needed for the reach they gave fallers chopping the face cut on huge old growth trees. For trail work, my choice would be a large racing-style axe like a Tuatahi. The heavy head hits harder, sinks deeper, throws a bigger chip, and finishes the job faster than lighter axes, but nowhere near as fast as a sharp crosscut saw. I would not want to swing that big axe all day long, but for the occasional blowdown, it's pretty efficient. It's 30" handle is a comfortable length for underhand chopping.

P1020669.JPG

P1020690.JPG
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Re: Axe head weights.

Postby brianthehurdler » April 10th, 2016, 9:52 pm

I can see the advantages of a longer reach when felling big diameter trees, it's the suggestion that you might need a heavier head for bigger trees that bothers me.

The head weight should be reflective of the strength/ability of the user and of the hardness/softness of the timber.

Why would you want a long handle when working on a springboard? You certainly can't back away from the trunk to give yourself room!

Brian.
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Re: Axe head weights.

Postby Jim_Thode » April 11th, 2016, 8:13 am

brianthehurdler wrote:Why would you want a long handle when working on a springboard? You certainly can't back away from the trunk to give yourself room!

Brian.


When you have a longer handle you could always grab it shorter if needed but when working on a springboard the faller does not have the option of stepping over toward the the center of the cut the reach it. A longer handle could eliminate the need the reset the springboard to reach the center of the cut.

Jim
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Re: Axe head weights.

Postby Sawman » April 25th, 2016, 1:12 pm

13041233_10209743891103445_8207344751250596138_o.jpg
I am sure this old guy would be able to tell you all about felling with a long handle axe and why. Not only his is axe interesting but also his boots.
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Re: Axe head weights.

Postby King Karri Tree » April 25th, 2016, 4:31 pm

I bet he would have been "One tough old bastard" in his day.

Just imagine the stories he could tell.
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Re: Axe head weights.

Postby brianthehurdler » May 8th, 2016, 2:02 am

That's certainly a long (and wonderfully slender) handle in Sawman's picture. The actual head of the axe doesn't seem to have grown with the length of the handle, though.
Maybe it was only the length of handles that grew with the bigger trees, not the weight of the heads themselves?
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