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Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by vcbvcbvcb, Dec 10, 2015.
I can't say I do but there is some information on this site.
It's been suggested multiple times, but anyone who uses an axe for any length of time for firewood or other practical uses also has a saw that goes everywhere the axe goes.
I'm not much of a believer in the short bit philosophy mentioned by square_peg. Unless you are burying the entire breadth of the bit in the wood (and I cannot think of a scenario where that would be desirable, or even happen with dry oak), there is no "psi" comparison vs a spike. A short bit at the same weight either makes for a long blade (handle to edge) or a thick bit. Most axe designs were simply marketing, as in the maker was trying sell a product without directly copying another maker. Some of the innovations were beneficial, like the Jersey that featured extra width at the eye to help keep the head on the haft, or the double bit that replaced the poll with another blade which made for a balanced tool and allowed the user more time working between sharpening and/or provided two bit geometries for different jobs in one tool. But most were just harmless experiments or results of limitations in fabrication tools/techniques.
I would really like a link to the youtube videos showing a double bit axe spinning like an airplane propeller. I've used them for decades and even when young and just starting out I never noticed that issue. Maybe I was doing it wrong?!? I wouldn't choose a double bit for splitting given a choice but for every other job I think it is a great design. Although a curved handle on a single bit is nice because it is more ergonomic so it's sorta 6 of one half dozen of another at the end of the day.
I watched a video with a guy using a double bit and it looked like he had trouble controlling it. I'm,not an expert so I thought that might not be a good beginners axe. Then I watched more double bit videos where guys knew what they were doing. I concluded that the problem was the guy and not the axe, so I bought a puget sound. Without a wealth of experience, all I can do is ask for advice, think about it, and see if it makes sense. It occurred to me that in every application I could think of, a heavy narrow object penetrated better than an equally heavy wide object. Therefore, square_pegs recommendation made sense. Long thin arrows penetrate well, long thin bullets penetrate well, etc...
So now I have a 3 3/4 pound puget sound axe with a 3 1/4" blade. The physics make sense, now all I can do is see how it works, and take my 20" silky saw katana boy wit me.
My concern with double bits is how to retrieve them when they're thoroughly stuck. This happens not infrequently when you're splitting gnarly rounds. With a single bit you can pound them through with a mallet but with a double I would imagine you've got to resort to driving in wedges on either side.
This is truly the value of this forum, many guys considering an issue and someone coming up with an aspect that one person might not think of. It's funny, I considered that when buying a tomahawk with a hammer pole instead of a spike, but it never occurred to me when I was shopping for an axe. At this point I'd like to have a, Steve Martin arrow through the head, emoji.
That said, I don't think that feature will bother me. I'm going to buck in the woods and split at home with my Fiskars splitting axe. However, I might be the only person not impressed with the Fiskars. One of my next purchases will be a real splitting maul.
Here another, Steve Martin moment, the Fiskars is called a "Splitting Axe". I guess they call it an "AXE" because it's intended to chop too. I bought it to split with, and never tried chopping with it, just splitting. At this point, I've said enough. I should have thought of this Mark Twain quote earlier; "Better to be quiet and be thought of as smart than open your mouth and prove you're stupid."
I don't often use a double bit for splitting, especially not on tough knotted pieces. It just doesn't have the bit geometry for it. As well, when I get an axe stuck in a piece I lever it out rather than try to hammer it in farther so single or double bit is of no issue.
...No, not really. While there was some degree of functional overlap between patterns they evolved the way they did for a reason. While some designs, like the TrueTemper Dynamic or Plumb National were developed in-house, most axe patterns were developed as a matter of regional preference as an optimized match for their particular context of use. While often these differences seem small, and indeed they are, they were nevertheless important. When operating wholly with manual tools, any small savings in labor or strain on the body is of benefit. Optimum bit width, depth, sweep, thickness, etc. all depended on the environment it was being used in, for what tasks, and in what prioritized proportion. Does any of that matter much for the casual user of today? Typically not. But for those who relied on or still rely on manual tools to put bread on the table and keep things in good order, it can make a big enough difference to merit seeking out a better match for their needs. And even most in-house developed designs were still a genuine attempt at improving performance in a particular context. Very few compared to the whole were simply market differentiation gimmicks, although those did exist.
There are those who would argue that the double bit has the best geometry for splitting. For one thing a good vintage DB has the same high centerline that vintage single bit axes have. Secondly, the double bit has mass opposite the point of impact which can add to the splitting effect of 'splitting with a twist' where an angled strike causes the axe to push the two sides of the wood apart.
I don't know where this quote comes from but I love it and have always known it as "Tis better to be thought a fool than open one's mouth and remove all doubt".
Differences between splitting axe and splitting maul is becoming blurred with time except that some of us view maul as being of sledgehammer origin (ie rounded or squared poll) and splitting axe as having a thick cheeks and a heavy head and not necessarily a tempered poll for pounding with.
Mauls also generally aren't found in sizes under 6lb (though they exist) while splitting axes can be considerably lighter. They're typically intended for easier to split wood compared to that which calls for a maul.
This as well. +1001
I have seen several axe charts with head shapes and names, but not intended purpose. Is there a source that explains what each head shape is good for.
Not to the best of my knowledge. Generally speaking, it's possible to use a combination of historical information/context, a functional assessment of the pattern's features and benefits, and a consideration of the region's geography and mix of vegetation to tease out why it was designed the way it was.
They can argue with whomever they can find willing to argue. I certainly won't argue about what someone else prefers to use for splitting. I prefer a maul for 18" fresh cut birch or knotty oak because everything else just buries itself in the wood without even making a crack to follow. Once it's been quartered I switch to a single bit axe. You can use whatever you feel like and twist to your hearts content, or not. It splits easy enough at that point I find the twisting technique redundant. I don't use the maul any longer than I have to but your mileage may vary.
I generally only use my double bit for felling. Feel free to use yours for whatever. It's your axe, right?
With all due respect, developing a particular head design for a particular region and specific type of wood is a perfect example of market differentiation.
You have it backwards. The companies did not invent the patterns and name them by the region they sold them in. Locals developed the patterns over time and requested their manufacture, usually by sending in a locally-made one for the company to use as a pattern.
Also, you may want to reread what I wrote carefully. You missed a critical word.
With all due respect, you might want to re-read my post and consider whether you are responding to issues of semantics in some petty pique or making a good-faith effort to share knowledge in a constructive manner. Is your post really helpful to the OP, or is it intended to put yourself above me in some puerile internet pissing contest?
I've purchased several knives from you and recommended you as a vendor to many people. I've considered you a knowledgeable person on the history and use of these tools who generously shares his knowledge for the sake of the sharing. Perhaps I'm wrong.
I'd like to think you're not that petty.