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How to Choose the Right Axe

July 08, 2021 4 min read 0 Comments

How to Choose the Right Axe

When Kent of Inglewood first opened, we had big shoes to fill. Shaving gear and beard care simply didn’t fill our shiny new space, so we added a bunch of outdoor knives and hand-made axes for fun. They stood up to our high quality standards, they made the shop look cool, and they excited us.

One by one our staff started learning about these axes and getting really into outdoorsy stuff, and before we knew it, we all had collections of handmade axes. Now axes are an irreplaceable part of Kent of Inglewood and many of our customers put them on their Christmas, birthday, or Father's Day lists. If you're the loved one of a would-be axe enthusiast or you're looking to build your own collection, we’re here to help!

How do I choose the Right axe?

While all of our axes are cool, each model has its unique purpose and is suited to a different person and different set of tasks:

Owning and using handmade tools, such as a good axe and knife, is one of the great joys in life!

The Casual

This is most Canadians. You likely camp from time to time and host fires in your backyard with friends and family. Chances are you love the outdoors, but they’re not your life 24/7. Much like chef's knives, 2-3 axes will get most jobs done for you, so you probably need a big one and a small one. And maybe a medium one for fun.

The Hultan Hatchet from Hultafors is perfect for making kindling in your campsite or backyard. The fine, precise edge is razor-sharp and the 14” handle can be held a variety of ways for different applications. 

The Qvarfot Felling Axe  and Dayton Bad Boy Axe are designed for taking down small to medium trees. While most folks won’t need to do this, take the chance if you get it: it’s extremely satisfying. I go out and hunt for my Christmas tree on public land every year, it’s a blast. They can also be used to chop smaller logs and do so quite well, but are likely to get stuck splitting whole logs.

The Hult Splitting Axe is fantastic log-chopper for those who want the satisfaction of splitting their own wood by hand. The profile is designed to blast wood apart without sticking, and it seriously excels at it. The Hult is a great first axe for someone who wants to start a collection.

 

Long-haul journeys require smaller, lighter tools to accomplish the same set of tasks.

The Survivalist

These folks are serious. They likely spend days or weeks at a time in the untamed wilds, camping, foraging and exploring. If you are one of these folks—or want to be, you need these axes.

The Ekelund Hunting Axe andCouncil Tool Hudson Bay Axe are perfect for many outdoorsy folks. A skilled individual can use them like a longer axe to split and fell, while also choking up on them for more precise work. Their short handles make them more packable than a large option. The carpenter’s axe features an edge more designed for bushcrafting while the hunter’s is best for felling, with some hunters even using the curved edge for skinning large game.

The Wood Craft Pack Axe and Aby Forest Axe are the ultimate adventuring axes. The longer contoured handles and broad blades make them great for felling, and a thicker profile allows them to split incredibly well. The axe features a beard to protect your hand while wood-working and cutting kindling. The tempered back can be used to pound on stakes and tent pegs. Best of all, these axes are extremely packable compared to other large axes.

The Cabin-Owner

First and foremost, cabins need heat. Preferably heat thrown off a wood burning stove or fireplace. Whether this is a vacation home or your full-time lodgings, you need an axe that will do some heavy lifting. Once again, the Hult Splitting Axe is perfectly engineered to blow through logs of all sizes without putting a strain on your back. The slight twist added to the head gives it extra splitting power.

If you want to go a step further (and can do so legally), start felling your own trees! Be sure to do so only with proper training and protection, as felling can be very dangerous. Before the days of chainsaws, axes like the Dayton 4lb Axe, the Council Tool Jersey Axe, or the Arvika Racing Axe were common. A massive blade like this is nice and thin, so it will bite into trees beautifully and make felling a breeze.

The Agelsjon Hatchet seems goofily small, but has many applications around a cabin. The short handle gives you superior control when chopping wood inside during the cold winter months. Small hatchets like this are also great for spoon carving, a great way to pass the time out in the wilderness.

Speaking of passing the time, is there a cooler way to keep busy than axe-throwing? TheCouncil Tool Flying Fox is designed for competitive chucking. With an extra $20 and the wood from a couple of dismantled shipping pallets, you can throw together a target and start axe-throwing whenever the mood strikes.

Whether you’re on your first axe or your fourteenth (who, me?), we’re here to make the selection process easy. Ultimately axes are like kitchen knives: you’ll use a medium-sized one the most, the addition of larger and smaller options let you do all your outlier tasks. 2-3 axes will last almost anybody a lifetime. 

If you're like to learn more about axes and how to use them, we've got some great books on the subject. Norwegian Wood is full of cozy feels and instructions on building a proud wood pile, Buchanan Smith's Axe Handbook covers the historical and technical end of axes, while Bushcraft by Alberta legend Mors Kochanskiis all about the practical application of tools in survival scenarios.

Happy ax-ing!

Check out our axe collection here