Carpenters Axe?

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Forum topic by Klickitat posted 10-16-2015 03:14 AM 897 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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51 posts in 1898 days

10-16-2015 03:14 AM

So I was watching a British chap and he picks up a hatchet to narrow a board down before he hits it with a plane rather than ripping it.

Wow the light went off in my head and then I felt really stupid until I realized that this was the first time that I have ever seen anyone ever do it. It makes so much sense though.

I got to thinking that this was probably a common thing at one time and made me reconsider my side axes that that I have. I have always considered them more for timber framing and such. After seeing this video though I feel that the flat sided side axe / hewing hatchet was probably more for taking the bulk of a board off rather than using a ripping saw.

Anyhow I thought i would bring this up for discussion.

5 replies so far

View David Taylor's profile

David Taylor

326 posts in 1115 days

#1 posted 10-16-2015 04:11 AM

I just recently got into that whole idea myself. I am, as some call it, a hybrid woodworker, and yes, the tablesaw can whap off a couple inches from the edge of a board easily enough. But I am finding with a hatchet I can do it in the time it takes to set the fence. If the grain is straight, there’s really not much more needed as far as planing, another few minutes of quiet shaving production, and the board is ready.

Now I need a good hatchet! The one I have is not really for this kind of work, it’s a double-bevel kind of thing, probably more like a splitting hatchet for kindling, but it’s enough to make me want to learn more about this and start sliding down the slippery slope of hatchet terminology learning and actual hatchet finding.

-- Learn Relentlessly

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2595 days

#2 posted 10-16-2015 10:57 AM

I recently joined axe junkies on Facebook. The stuff some of those guys do with axes and hatches is amazing.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View canadianchips's profile


2602 posts in 3025 days

#3 posted 10-16-2015 11:02 AM

I uae my 5” broad axe as a chisel with a handle. I bought it MANY years ago from an old woodworker in our community. He had auction and sold ALL his hand tools. Nothing with cords. His broadaxe was sharpened to cut paper ! Yes if you look at your wood, learn which way the grain goes, an axe will do job easily and quickly.
Since owning the first one I try to buy any broadaxe I can. (YEP I AM A HOARDER TOO). I like to find out which brand name has the best steel in them. )I dont over pay either, antique dealers will tell you age, blah,blah blah. I want users not shelf models. This goes for all hand tools I am now picking up.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2542 days

#4 posted 10-16-2015 11:37 AM

Didn’t those side axe tools get quite small when needed? I know I’ve seen videos of people chopping off slim layers of wood, right down the grain, straight as an arrow, but the main piece was maybe 2X3. They would be using an axe that might be only a few inches long on the sharpened edge, and with say, a 10” handle.

And if you think in terms of the settlers who first came to America, they used an axe as a primary wood tool. Probably made chairs and tables by carefully slicing off wood to make all types of fitted joints, etc.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View jdh122's profile


1018 posts in 2845 days

#5 posted 10-16-2015 03:25 PM

Medieval carpenters used the ax extensively to rip wood to size. Roy Underhill says they saw the use of a saw as proof that you were not a skilled craftsman, cause anyone can use a saw, but takes skill to use an ax.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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