Support BladeForums! Paid memberships don't see ads! Hi, First time poster here. My name is Olivier, I live in the french speaking part of Switzerland. TL;DR: I used an axe for the first time this summer (not «really» the first time, but the first time I _really_ used one, if you see what I mean). And fell in love. That simple. And now I want to gift myself a big nice beautiful axe for my 40th birthday. Let the name dropping begin. ^__^ A bit longer, with some context: My wife and I bought an old (~1800) small stone farm/cowshed, abandoned since 60 years, with no water nor electricity, with the plan to make it fit to live again. We spent the summer camping up there, cleaning up «a little bit» before the renovation/construction process begins next spring, waking bushes with a billhook, mowing grass with a scythe, and processing firewood. It was amazing. I bucked and split 4 diseased large trees (ash and beech), with a saw and a common hardware axe that I somewhat managed to sharpen, then a small-ish Fiskars splitting axe. I loved it. The history and «mystique» of the tool, the simplicity, the efficience, the practice of an acquired skill, the pure beauty of a clean gesture and a perfect cut. I love the challenge, the practice, the mastery of the technique over the brute force. I found my zen. Duh… I don’t have to explain that, I am on an axe forum. I had always felt some kind of «axe envy», but as I didn’t had the use for one, I never acquired one, keeping myself to knives and kitchen knives. But now I need one, as we will heat the house and cook with firewood; and… as I am turning 40 at the end of december, I want to gift myself THE axe. The really beautiful tool to that will join me on this journey, that I will marvel at every time I use it, and that I will care for till my old days. I love nice and beautiful tools. Aesthetics and crafmanship is important for me. And I can be very picky over tiny details… I spent a year comparing and reading about japanese kitchen knives before buying my first one. I like to learn new things, reading, «window-shopping» and educate myself to make oriented choices. So please, give me makers name, noob advices, drown me in models and shapes and patterns and types of axes, open my mind to possibilities, so that I could choose my Precious, with as much reason than heart. What kind of model, what weight, lenght would be best? Knowing that I will mostly use it on ash and beech, with the occasional fir. And mostly for bucking, splitting, and a bit of limbing. A «boy’s axe» with a nice wedge? The Velvicut one is nice and seems like a good candidate, but it doesn’t scream «special» for me. What do I like? I think I like the simple clean look of some old american axes patterns, where the head seems to be almost just a «rectangle» with a touch of an elegant curve seen from the side vs the roundish collar-thing of the Gränsfors & alike (the beautiful simplicity of a Main wedge? Dayton? Yankee? Connecticut?…). And I think that kind would be nicely suited for my needs, no? I think I would prefer a somewhat straight-ish handle with subtile shapes. I could almost see myself buying a Best Made (yeah, I know, overpriced hipster toy, blablabla. I don’t care, I like them.), but I fear they are on the heavy side for my use. Basques seem great. I _really_ like the look of Autine axes head; but the over-curved handle, not so much… and those prices. >__< I also like the clean lines and appealing design of some more «rustic» poleless axes with a longer «beard» that I have seen. I have started to look at vintage, but… I am not so sure I want to take this way for now (restoring, rehanging, etc.). And nicely restored vintages seems almost as expensive, with the gamble. I am more and more toying with the idea of asking a quote to a local artisan, Serge Turberg, who appears to do great tools rooted in the tradition of the region, and I might end up doing just that, but I thought I have to broaden my horizons first, and educate myself and see as much as possible before I could make up my mind. Maybe for my 50 Wow, that is quite a wall of text… Thanks in advance for your time and advices.