What's this tool? #1: Marking Hatchet?

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Blog entry by swirt posted 04-23-2010 10:30 PM 4397 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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This odd hand axe belonged to my Great Grandfather (Living in Swain NY in the first half of the 1900’s). He was a farmer, ran a small saw mill and made maple syrup among many other things. This hatchet may have been connected to one of these activities. If anyone knows more about this particular marking axe, I’d enjoy hearing about it.

The axe is just over 12” in length. Has a 2” rounded blade that is not sharp and appears to never have had a bevel applied to it. The iron looks hand forged (not mass produced). The handle seems rather slender for a hatchet, or even a hammer of this size. The end opposite the blade makes a stamp of ”T5” if struck on a piece of wood. The only other noteworthy part about it’s condition is that the handle near the iron head has some charring all the way around it.

My guess is that it may have been used for marking lumber or logs, though the wimpy blade makes me think it might have been used for something softer than wood.

Marking Axe

Marking Axe head

Marking axe head with charring

Marking Hatchet Blade

The Mark of the marking hatchet
Any ideas what this was used for? Is T5 an old grade of wood or timber?

-- Galootish log blog,

8 comments so far

View christopheralan's profile


1120 posts in 3137 days

#1 posted 04-23-2010 10:48 PM

Mabey to bust through the bark and drive in the spout…? I donno. Good luck.

-- christopheralan

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2531 days

#2 posted 04-23-2010 10:55 PM

as you say it cuold be fpor marking logs as a persenly stamp
I have seen sommething like this in Denmark when they
walk in the forest in summertime and mark those trees
they has to cut down in the winther they mark it with
a painted X and the mark to tell that this is one there has to be feld

cuold also bee one to mark those holes in marpletrees where they
draw syrup from to tell other people this is my tree stay away

View swirt's profile


2105 posts in 2388 days

#3 posted 04-23-2010 11:10 PM

That might make sense that the blade is for removing a small bit of bark. It doesn’t seem suited for doing much more than that.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4445 posts in 3379 days

#4 posted 04-24-2010 01:33 AM

I believe these were used by fellers to mark the logs they felled. I’m sure there are some old timber cutters on here.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17569 posts in 3092 days

#5 posted 04-24-2010 09:39 AM

I’m not a feller, just a regular fellow ;-)) Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!! That is what it looks like to me, a log marking tool.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View swirt's profile


2105 posts in 2388 days

#6 posted 04-25-2010 04:27 AM

Thanks fellers …errr fellas. I’ve kept an eye out at antique shops, other places where i buy old tools and various internet sources and haven’t found anything to match it. It’s not really a useful tool and maybe thats what gnaws at my curiousity about it.

-- Galootish log blog,

View swirt's profile


2105 posts in 2388 days

#7 posted 03-29-2011 03:52 PM

Somebody named Dan left this comment on my other blog. I copied it here because it addressed the question I asked and was pretty helpful. Thanks Dan, I appreciate the information.

Dan wrote:
Your hatchet with the hammer side showing T5 is for marking logs as they leave the woods and come to a mill. Sometimes the mill would have them as well to mark that they had been scaled and in the inventory.

US Forest Service still uses them, but without the hatchet which was for checking rot in the logs and shaving a flat spot if needed to stamp the T5.


-- Galootish log blog,

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2531 days

#8 posted 03-29-2011 06:22 PM

thankĀ“s for the update Steve :-)
always nice to know what a tool has been developed for yesrerday

take care

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