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Axe? Please educate me

Nathan the Machinist

KnifeMaker / Machinist / Evil Genius
Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Feb 13, 2007
The subject came up about a CPK axe. Honestly, it sounds like fun.

Would some of you guys educate me on the subject matter and perhaps point me in the right direction? What makes a good axe? What makes a bad axe? What kind or kinds should I make?
May 20, 2012
There are so many things to it that I’m too much of an amateur to understand yet LOL. Shape of the bit, balance, shape of the head as far as how the cheeks are formed, etc. I’m sure there is somebody much smarter and more suited to answer you coming any second.

now a fully machined CPK tomahawk would be cool! It could be hammer poll or spiked and would make me happy.
May 7, 2012
Nathan the Machinist Nathan the Machinist

Here is a quick and dirty lost I can expand on if you want.

The most important factors for me:

Profile of head, particularly the cheeks and heel. Nothing that will glance badly.

If you aren’t familiar with the range of common profiles this is a critical step to learn.

Weight of head for application.

Handle grain oriented correctly and appropriate length.

A proper shoulder to belly I can choke up on that’s more oval in shape.

A generally round grip of sufficient diameter my fingertips don’t push into my hand and a knob I can get my pinkie on that’s large enough I don’t need a death grip.

With my Small forest axe I can take a round of wood and in a couple minutes I can process it down to every piece I need for a fire from quarters right down to feather sticks using only the axe. I’d say for me, it’s much better than any single knife.


Gold Member
Dec 24, 2016
Your version comparable to the Estwing Sportsman Axe: say 14” OAL, 3.5”-4” cutting edge coming in around 2.5 lbs would be devastating!
As would you version comparable to an Estwing long handle camp axe: 24” OAL, 5” edge in the 3.5-4 lb range.

In no way am I suggesting for someone to or that someone would copy a product that is on the market. I believe most are familiar with the Estwing integral steel head and handle design, that is why I pointed to their product as I figured yours would have a similar base concept.


Gold Member
Aug 29, 2006
I most certainly don’t know enough about axes to help with the design. I have done a lot of wood splitting in the past, and what I think we’re good axes, were a lot of fun to use - almost negates the hard labor of splitting a lot of wood.

The axes that Justin mentioned would be a good place to look. John Neeman of Autine has been on my list for a number of years, and seems to be dedicated to making high quality edged tools.

Gransfors Bruks is fairly popular, seemingly high quality, and well liked. Justin mentioned he has axes by both of these makers.

Liam Hoffman of Hoffman Blacksmithing seems all the rage right now. He seems a skilled and driven, and popular maker, and is continuously trying to improve his processes. For what it’s worth, he is/was the youngest Forged in Fire champion. His popularity led to some years long delivery times, after significant deposits. I believe he has, or is close to getting through that and has instituted a “ten axes per week” presale, with an approximate ten month delivery time, and close to 1/3 price deposit. The weekly sale sells out rapidly.

Probably more verbiage than helpful, but hope there is something to be had in there.

I’m in, by the way. Mike

Here’s a little article that might be fun to read.

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Mar 12, 2018
Can of worms.
Guess there is a reason so many head patterns from different countries and/or US states.
A lot of traditionalists hate the gb and euro ax designes as they lack a high centre line and dont make the required chips :)
Nothing is gonna be right or wrong,just different.
But please convex,I dislike the flat grind bevel on the CT pack ax,but I dont carve or things like that where it would excel.

The ax book by dudley Cook is a good read.

I'm in the 24" 2lb ish head camp, wide eye.
The rm wilderness ax is my go to, doubt anything will displace it.
As far as hawks go..got rid of mine after having a gb outdoor axe, great little thing (not for throwing)

Was gonna put an axedent joke here.
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Gold Member
Jan 22, 2007
Ok stupid question, will an axe head actually benefit from being made of D3v or is it more "oh that's fun lemme throw some money at that" idea?

On the tomahawk idea, that could be cool, although I already have a Swamprat hawk that has been beaten on a lot and a ZT hawk in vanadis 4e that's pretty fun. I'm not sure I'd need another one.