For me an axe serves a very specific function
Traveling and spending time outdoors I have learned what tools I need. Growing up we burned wood for heat, so cutting trees has been a part of my life since I was a boy. Today I use chainsaws for wood cutting and my axes are an accessory to trim and cut the small stuff. When I am packing for a camping trip, axes are a necessity.
My axe definition
Axes are one of the oldest tools in the human arsenal. Verstile and useful they are a needed tool. Axes are as varied as knives and have the same following.
For me, axes are tools to cut firewood and even bone as neeeded. I carry a variety of knives and usually have two to three axes on my hardcore camping outings.
Now that we have the ground rules, lets begin. Axes are not the end all tool for tree felling. I hope I never have to take down a 150' tree with an axe but I could if need be. My bow and straight saws do the bulk of tree felling in a pinch. Axes are used to limb the tree, cut kindling and split the cut logs.
In simple terms, axes are for chopping, knives are for slicing and saws are for cutting. No matter how big or small the scale, thats my rule of thumb!
My axe choices
For my camping and pack axes, I like an axe head that is less that 2 lbs. I like a handle 22" plus. This allows me to use the axe with one hand and still be controllable. I find that a longer handle can get out of control and I lose alot of my choppong force. Cold Steel makes a nice affordable axe in their Trail Boss series. A nice starter axe that has alot of potential. I use this for my light to medium chopping.
For my kindling and short trip axe I carry a Cold Steel Trail Hawk that I have shortened to a 15" handle. Another nice, affordable product with tons of poetential. I will keep you posted on how I mod it to make it better.
My best overall axe for light to medium work is the Estwing Camp axe. Super fine sharp and all steel make this a formitable. Light camp axe. It is my pretty axe that is always razor sharp!
Gransfors Bruks Axe Book: one of the premier axe manufacturers PDF booklet. Click here to open it
Axe Manual of Peter McLaren: one of the best axe books out in PDF format. Click here to open it
An Axe to Grind: from the USDA Forest service Click here to open it
Woodsmanship: classic book that covers alot of needed stuff Click here to open it
Axe How To
How To Sharpen an Axe for Trail Work: Great article from working professionals Click here to view it
Axe Web Sites
Here are links to some axe websites, click on the links below: