Jim Aston favors longer handles, even on smaller heads. They let you work closer to the ground which is nice, yes they keep the head further away, but it isn't a huge amount, and you also have the higher velocity to compensate.Originally Posted by coroney
What I would concentrate on is technique and *CHECK* the wood. You should always, always, always try the wood with the bit but almost everyone doesn't if you cut a lot and just visually checks it, however this won't always find rot/ants.
Glances are most likely on soft wood where the axes bits through, poor rooting where the tree moves, or a knot/twist grain where the bit comes out. As well check for overhead branches.
How you stand when you cut wood is important as well, most axe books go in detail about how to protect yourself in this regard. Personally I see the wood as being more dangerous than the axe, either in kickbacks or bad breaks/splits or overhead branches where are weakened more than you see.