Big knife vs Axe

I love a small axe. Or a large one. Little hatchets seem to have limited use in my experience. 3-5" knife and an axe is a great combination that will solve many problems. Add a small folder and....Hey, isn't there a guy who developed a trio of tools like that?
It really depends on what you're doing and why you're doing it.

Axes, as opposed to hatchets ( I differentiate the two by saying an axe is designed primarily for two handed use, whereas a hatchet is designed primarily for one handed use), will be superior to most big knives for processing large amounts of wood. Guys that understand about how to choke up on an axe can also make it do most knife chores.

The big knife comes into its own, historically, as a camp knife (the original Hudson Bay Camp knife coming to mind), doing all sorts of chores from game/fur processing to cooking to being a draw knife, etc.

Some blades like machetes and kukris blur the lines, as they do both chopping and big knife chores well. I consider them a class by themselves. In fact, my preferred big chopper is a kukri, by far.
^Cpl Punishment said it well.

I love Axes and hatchets. They really don't weigh that much more than a large fixed blade. Many of them are designed to do more than just chop and split wood too. A high quality axe will shave hair as it comes out of the box and it will hold a decent edge. I will also always carry a smaller knife with me if I have an axe/hatchet

Some environments allow the axe to shine, while others are better for machetes and maybe large survival knives. It all depends on where I am, when I am going, what the conditions are like, and how long I will be there.
I prefer large knife +/-10" and a folding saw to a hatchet. A small axe can chop better than a knife but a saw saws much better than an axe.
I think a large knife has more uses than an axe, but the axe won't be at risk of breaking or bending, like the knife is; depending on the make. For example, my Cold Steel Gurkha Kukri SK-5 High Carbon got two bent portions on the blade, after chopping on a dead tree, detwigging it; the log was about 25cm thick. The blade portions are still as sharp as before, but the material, the blade itself got bent out of line, so now I have a wobbly edge in two places.
I don't know...Many will agree. Many will disagree. Hatchets are a waste of weight in my books. If I'm going to take an axe it will have at least a 21" handle, otherwise its also just a toy and not a very good one. Hatchet or or big knife, I'll take the knife thanks...

Point taken kgd. I wasn't implying that big knives are toys in a sense that they're not good for anything, they're cool serve a purpose and I think it comes down to the user and what they plan to use it for.

The camp axe and boys axe that I referred to are both longer handled than what most would consider hatchet length. Depending on maker boys axes generally have handles over 20".

With all this big knife and axe debate, I still carry a folding saw that is generally my go to wood cutting tool. :D
There are some pretty light-weight axes out there, like the Fiskars or Gerber ones.
An axe is a superb tool for wood chopping and splitting.
A good 5-6'' knife and an 19-20'' axe is my favourite combo - light,packable and extremely versatile.
Add a folding saw and you're in camping heaven :D
These threads intrigue me because it's mostly Dependant on your perspective. If you ask a tribal member from Africa, he's probably be carrying some sort of machete, large knife, or spear to provide for his family. If you asked a frontiersmen in the 1700's, he'd probably tell you an ax or tomahawk.

If you have time, look at what these guys are using. Making a spoon that way doesnt sound like a task that many here would attempt to argue.

I say that there are many more uses for hatchets, machetes, and axes which depends more on what you are familiar with and the skills that you own than the type of tool you are using.
I'm still learning the basics and probably will never use any of these tools to their max potential.
Well, yes. One thing to consider though, is that the choice of the tool also has to do with what you're cutting, obviously. I mean, an axe is better suited for hardwoods than a machete, which can break, whereas the lighter machete is better suited than an axe for ease of swinging and/when catching vines n' such with its longer cutting area, clearing the way in the jungle.
I pick my Machete over both of them . The woods can be thick down here in south GA. With a machete I can clear a trail, chop or baton wood, build a shelter.
I pick my Machete over both of them . The woods can be thick down here in south GA. With a machete I can clear a trail, chop or baton wood, build a shelter.

Yep, down here the machete has more utility than an axe. Anything I might chop with a small axe, I can usually chop with a machete. There are times when I use the large axe because I am on my property and can select the best tool for the job. All the tools have their place, but for me the machete sees a lot more use than the axe.
This is a bit of a dilemma for me because as I see it a medium sized woods-axe plus a folder/fixed blade can do much more than a 10" knife plus a folder/fixed blade. The axe is so much better for carving, and chopping also in most circumstances. Skill also comes into the equation... I've seen so many large knife enthusiasts comparing axes with big choppers who clearly are not very skilled with an axe and call it a flaw with the design. I have ordered a busse BWM and I'm days from paying for it and sending it off to get sheathed up but I've just realised that I have an $80 handmade swedish axe back in the UK that would probably be more useful to me than this knife that will end up coming to around $440 in all. I would love to go for it but am having second thought about goin' ahead now!!!
Alright, axes and long blades both have their place. The cool part about a long blade is you can use it as a drawknife for peeling bark, making tool handles, cabin logs, you name it. It also has a useable working tip for carving. They can also be useful for clearing light green brush. Generally they aren't quite as efficient for chopping as a good axe is but it really depends on your whereabouts, your technique and what exactly you're doing. I just bring both.
I can carry a bigger knife and throw a wire saw in the sheath allot more conveniently than a axe. Plus there aren't much big trees that I could come close to justifying an axe.
I have a few axes and hatchets , and I use them. But, going light in the bush with one main tool, I choose a tough knife that can handle batonning,firestarting duties, jack-of -all trades type of blade. An Esee 5 will fit the bill , and won't fail.
I've done a lot of trips with only a 4-6" blade, and survived just fine. Collecting a lot of smaller wood might be a little more legwork,but I'd rather do that than tire myself out by chopping my ass off all afternoon. I bring an axe when I can , but it usually stays in the truck, not on my back.
It's never an issue of knife or axe with me, as I always have a knife. It's wether or not I decide it's worth to pack the axe too. I bring a splitter axe in the public campgrounds, but usually in the bush, knife only.
Great input guys. Cheers...
I've decided to cancel my order for the bushwacker and have a chrome polish put on the axe I have in storage with a few of the pennies I'll be saving :) It may take a little extra skill but I'm happy to learn, as far as I can tell it is more efficient for the tasks I have in mind so I'll have to suck it up and go for the practical option.
Here's a great video on using an axe to split wood. Really informative, A lot of people say a big knife is better but when used right an axe is much more efficent.
I've always owned and used axes. I don't own, nor do I understand the reason for a large chopping knife. This knife design is made by numerous makers, and I don't think the specific manufacturer is relevant. I'm just trying to understand why a blade like this would be preferred over an axe. How and why did it come to be that this blade style replaced axes for bushcraft/survival use?

please note, this is not a brand specific topic. I'm asking here to get the point of view of those that train for wilderness survival.

It really all comes down to location for most people...I just hate axes :) I prefer an knife because of its versatility. I don't carry an axe because I simply don't see the point in carrying something I'll seldom use and try very hard not to. I go to the woods to either which case I'm already humping enough gear...or I go to enjoy the peace and quiet and to relax...not work my @$$ off or build a settlement. I will throw one in the truck sometimes when I know I am going down certain roads...but there it stays unless I find my path blocked.
In an axe/hatchet the weight is concentrated in the head (even in mini hatchets (GB mini) weighing the less than the ESEE-6) which gives a lot more force when chopping and therefore the better chopping performance per weight of tool than a large knife gives. A large knife do not have this concentrated weight in the main chopping area (a kukri might).

When comparing tools its more important to look at the weight of the tools than just "one axe vs on knife". When we are going into the bush weight and "ease of carry" is a main concern

The Junglas weighs sheated 33 ounches (~934g). For this weight alot of other saws and knives could be carried.
- An ESEE 6, Izula and Sawvivor (portable bow saw) + other stuff could be carried.
- The gransfors wildlife hatchet (663g) and and ESEE-4 (274g)

The weight of the junglas is al most the same as the Gransfors SFA(1kg) or wetterlings Large Hunting Axe(1005g).
Add a Mora (100g) and/or the Izula (90g, wrapped) to one of these axes and you have
great combo.

I agree that saws are per weight the most efficient wood prossecing tools. But they cant be sharpened and you have to carry spare blades. An axe can be sharpened! (But this would only be an advantage in a long term stay in a remote area which for most people isent frequently happening)

The only issue with hatchets/axes than concern me is safety. With an axe to have to take alot of precautions to avoid splitting your knee than when you are using a large 10" knife.
An axe has carving capablebility which a kukri on other semi tactical blades might not have.
The picture shows the fuzz sticks I made with a Wetterlings Large Hunting Axe and a carbon Mora (about the best knife for this job).