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Axe Head patterns for chopping

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by vcbvcbvcb, Dec 10, 2015.

  1. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Note the emoticon. It was a serious statement, and made in good nature. There is a world of difference between products which are differentiated for pragmatic reasons (in this case due to regional preferences) and those which are marketing gimmicks, which was your assertion. :)
     
  2. 40oz

    40oz

    70
    Aug 12, 2015
    I didn't use the word "gimmick," I used the term "harmless experiments." I was trying to be non-judgemental. Yeah, I might be a tad cynical :)

    It's all good. I simply meant that for the OP, gathering firewood isn't that technical. Cut to length with a saw and split with whatever is handy. I grew up splitting and later felling and splitting because we supplemented our heat with wood and I used what we had, and later a splitting maul. Sharpness seemed more important when felling than splitting - you could go days with a dull axe when splitting but you really needed to sharpen the axe before taking a tree down if you valued your time and energy.


    Me and my brothers used the axes in the garage, which were vintage by default, and I know my uncle used our double bit for harvesting lumber. It's a Kelly Flint Edge, and bites deep and works so much better than the single bits for felling, but abysmal for splitting because it simply bites deep and gets stuck. The single bits might get stuck but not so deep and far less frequently. Still prefer a maul for splitting 12"+, and the thing I like about a good maul is you can chew through a large tree quickly, generating a very large number of quarters that are easy to split down with whatever you have available as you need them.

    That said, there is so much to learn. Just in the last few years I've learned things I can't believe I didn't already know about a subject I never thought was so deep and complex. It's a sharp steel wedge on the end of a stick - how complicated could it possibly be?!? Answer - more than you likely can know :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  3. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    It's the former half of the above statement in particular that I was referring to, in that most designs were not simply marketing. :)

    And yes, as noted previously, for a casual user those small differences won't add up to much. But a basic assessment of the what/where/when/why and frequency/intensity/time of the context of use and what features best match up with that description can help when deciding between patterns. That's where at least taking a 10,000ft view of the features/benefits of a model come in handy. Simple stuff like "is it a chopper or a splitter, or somewhere between?" etc.

    Definitely, it's amazing how just about everything in this world is a million times more complicated than we think at first. But it's all about how far down the rabbit hole you want to go, eh? :D
     
  4. 40oz

    40oz

    70
    Aug 12, 2015
    I see where you are coming from now. I mostly meant targeted to a narrow group of buyers based on specific requirements that aren't necessarily universal, but also the larger sense of the term whereby the seller cares little for the fitness of purpose for the buyer, they just have units to move. I didn't mean to imply that there wasn't meaningful difference between patterns but I was strongly implying those differences were trivial to the OP, so mea culpa for sure when looking at those differences as footprints in history. Might as well say "a rock is a rock" to a geologist.

    ***
    A wise professor told me years ago that you know you understand a subject when you realize you know very little about it :) Just a witty anecdote until you hear the same sentiment repeated over and over in your life from folks you view as teachers. And you are always looking for teachers. I mostly apply it to computer science, but I think it applies to just about everything.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  5. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    That could be caused by how that specific axe had been sharpened. If the bevel was put on it with a grinding wheel then it might have been concaved. A concave bevel will stick where a convex bevel will release. This is valuable knowledge. If you want to stop a wedge from bouncibng out of the wood then put a slightly concave bevel on it. It will stick. Of course you usually won't want an axe to stick so those should have a convex bevel.
     
  6. M3mphis

    M3mphis

    Jan 13, 2011
    This might be taking a step back in the discussion, but oh well.

    Personally, I haven't found any scenario wherein I would generally prefer a Michigan or Dayton over a Connecticut pattern. This is purely personal observation, but for me, the Connecticut is superior in virtually every way for all wood types. I can expound on my reasons, but I'm not sure it would be of interest.
     
    Miller '72 likes this.
  7. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I'm interested. :)
     
  8. vcbvcbvcb

    vcbvcbvcb

    632
    Aug 1, 2012
    Please expound. Now that I have a 3 3/4 LB double bit head on the way, my next purchase will be a 3 1/2-4 LB single bit axe.
     
  9. Operator1975

    Operator1975 Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Sep 24, 2010
    I am in the same boat here as well.
     
  10. M3mphis

    M3mphis

    Jan 13, 2011
    I find the Connecticut to be more efficient for me. In general, I am more accurate which I believe is due to the better balance from bit to poll and the reduction in distance from the long axis of the tool. Dudley Cook covers those topics quite well. I also like the long, rounded cutting edge for its cleaner progressive chips. They tend to have a better profile in terms of a high centerline without being too obtuse to really cut. The longer eye is more secure and durable.
     
    Miller '72 likes this.
  11. vcbvcbvcb

    vcbvcbvcb

    632
    Aug 1, 2012
    Sounds well thought out, thanks
     
  12. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I tend to think of the Michigan/Dayton patterns as being sort of like the Latin/Bush pattern machete. It's the most common because it's the pattern with the broadest possible range of application, even if it isn't particularly great at any of those things. Sort of the plain vanilla default for when you don't really know where it's gonna' be used, for what, for how long, or with what kind of frequency or intensity. If someone goes "I need an axe fer' stuff." and you ask them "What kind of stuff?" and they shrug their shoulders and go "Axe stuff, y'know?" then you hand 'em a Michigan. :p
     
  13. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    I respect your opinion, M3mphis, but we here in the NW don't encounter very hard woods as frequently as folks in other parts of the country do. There's a reason why the Carolina pattern axes are narrow - they got hard wood down there.

    The Puget Sound falling axe was designed long and narrow for cutting springboard notches in big Doug Firs that could have bark up to 6" thick. But the narrow bit mimics southern hardwood axes so it's a good choice for VCB's application.
     
  14. vcbvcbvcb

    vcbvcbvcb

    632
    Aug 1, 2012
    I've done several searches and I think the "Carolina pattern axe" is an urban legend. You're pulling my leg aren't you Square_peg?
     
  15. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I think he meant Connecticut, but those have fairly broad bits.
     
  16. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    Here's a North Carolina pattern, from American Axe and Tool:

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Besides the Carolina pattern I also suggested a Yankee pattern (if you can find one). Georgia pattern is also narrow. But all of those are hard to find. That's why I suggested the PS falling axe. Plenty of those still around.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. 1215

    1215

    193
    Sep 25, 2015
    I'm wayyy too new here to be commenting or contributing to this thread but...
    I have no idea what genre of "computer science" you are in. I'm just shy of 40 and I find it very frustrating how hard I have to constantly study and learn to keep up with the times... and then the next minute I'll turn around and have an 8yo kid teaching me how to use my iPad... (I do niche hosting and DR for financial service companies.)
    I remember being told that same thing by a priest when I was in grade school; religious ed class referencing the bible. It's true.

    I could be way off base with this comment/addition to the thread; I've had the opportunity to travel a good amount and I still travel frequently, mostly for work. One of the things that always amazes me is the differences between people and things --sometimes just a few miles away. In the south pacific the difference between tableware is amazing. (wooden carved) Spoons and bowls can vary wildly (width/depth/style). Being on different sides of some islands is like being in a different country (because of prevailing winds and precipitation). People in Central and South America have different physical features based on the elevation of where they live.

    There are plenty of examples but New Zealand is a great one. I'm not a historian... When the British "found" NZ & Australia They pretty much turned Australia into a prison and they used NZ as their private playground. They came in and populated the islands (New Zealand's north & south islands) with animals to hunt... like foxes and birds. They died and the hunting was poor. For round 2 of their hunting playground they populated the island with indigenous plants from home (the UK) so that the birds and foxes would have a good place to live/hide... and so that the hunting would be better. The animals flourished and so did the plants. The foreign (British) plants took over everything. The plants and trees killed off some local/native NZ plants and cross bred with others. This completely changed the islands. Certain cross-breeding of plants and newly introduced plants caused the wood grains to twist or knot making the wood unusable for timber (homes/logs) and extremely hard to work with (using hand tools).

    Getting back on topic... The Maori are the locals, like the Native Americans are to us. Historically they are seafaring people and made things like dugout canoes, boats and the like from tree trunks. When you go to museums in New Zealand its amazing to see how drastically their tools changed over the years. Now, knowing a little bit about axes and chopping tools its like night and day... You can literally see the change in their tools over the years as the British populated (screwed over) the islands. They did one of the islands first so you can see that the same people just a few miles apart were changing and modifying everything from eating utensils to hand tools, to accommodate the changes in local vegetation while the other island still had the same tools they were using for generations.

    I'm sure there were marketing gimmicks and scams all over but for the most part people (especially back then) only had time to make the most efficient tool for the little bubble they lived in... which is part of what makes life so diverse and interesting today.

    That's my contribution. Flame me if you want :eek:
     
  19. vcbvcbvcb

    vcbvcbvcb

    632
    Aug 1, 2012
    I've looked for Georgia, Yankee, Carolina and Kentucky. The only thing I found was one Kentucky on EBay and it looked like it had a wide bit. You appear to have saved me a lot of frustration by suggesting the PS. I think I was lucky to get the one I bought. It should be here next week. I was looking in Lowe's last night for wood stain and decided to check out the ax handles and they had an Ame's hickory handle for a double bit. I was shocked to find that in So. Cal.
     
  20. vcbvcbvcb

    vcbvcbvcb

    632
    Aug 1, 2012

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