Best Made Axe // A Guide For Splitting Wood

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To round out our collection of cool-weather Short Run Shirting for the season, we took to the woods with a Best Made axe in hand. Best Made Company’s dedication to craftsmanship, quality, and the idea that well-made items are meant to stand the test of time are just a few reasons we identify with their brand. There’s a level of authenticity to Best Made Company’s story and product offerings that rings throughout everything they do – from their respect for the axe as the oldest tool known to human kind, to their amazing adventures profiling their product and people in the worlds where they thrive. We are such fans of their work and culture, and are excited to share their story with you.

After spending much time working on cattle farms and exploring the lakes of Northern Canada, Peter Buchanan-Smith saw a need for a better axe and went on to found Best Made Co. in 2009. Their history says it best – “Peter knew that a well made axe — the oldest and most invaluable tool known to mankind — could not only function as a lifeline in the wilderness, but at home it could be a magnificent window into that wilderness and inspire people to reconnect with their hands, craft, and nature.” After featuring a collection of limited edition Best Made axes in Spring 2010, Best Made Co. went on to partner with a fourth generation axe maker in North Carolina, one of America’s oldest and most esteemed axe makers, to launch The Best Made American Felling Axe. Best Made Co. went on to develop a handful of additional products including wearable goods, camp supplies, bags, home goods, a series of limited edition maps and books, knives, and tools.

To introduce our last collection of cool-weather shirts for the season, we only thought it necessary to feature a Best Made Company axe — The Hushabye Baby, Hudson Bay Axe — alongside a guide for how to split wood.

A GUIDE FOR SPLITTING WOOD

 Wood splitting dates back for centuries in our country and continues to be a time-honored tradition in American culture. Use this guide to assist in proper wood splitting.

 

Know Your Axes

There are a variety of axes available with each having its own specific purpose. These are the five most common:

a) Felling Axe

This is an axe for larger wood and for those intending to fell a tree. The extremely sharp, thin bit allows the axe to efficiently cut across the wood’s grain with every stroke.

b) Hudson Bay Axe

The Hudson Bay axe is one of the oldest axe designs in North America. French fur traders first developed these axes in the 17th century while working on Hudson Bay trade routes. The axe’s lightweight head makes it perfect for small chopping jobs and swift brush clearing.

c) Splitting Maul

The steeply tapered head makes these axes ideal for splitting wood and cutting along the grain. The nearly straight handle combined with a head that is typically heavier than a felling axe allows the user to deliver a forceful strike without getting the axe stuck in the wood.

d) Broadaxe

Broadaxes are known for their distinctively large and heavy heads. These axes were used for shaping and hewing logs for a flat appearance. Traditionally used in industries such as timber framing, shipbuilding and the production of railroad ties, broadaxes were largely replaced during the 19th-century by sawmills and power tools. For modern use, hew with a broadaxe for a genuinely rustic aesthetic.

e) Hatchet

Hatchets are small axes that can be utilized with the use of one hand. These are ideal for camping and hiking trips. You can’t expect to fell an oak tree with one, but hatchets prove to be a reliable tool when larger axes are unavailable.


What You Will Need For Wood Splitting

– Axe
– Wood
– Gloves
– Tree Stump
– Safety Glasses
– First Aid Kit

 

Instructions for Wood Splitting

1. Balance the piece of wood that you want to split on an elevated chopping block to provide resistance to your blows. A flat stump on level ground works just fine.

2. Stand facing the chopping block with your feet shoulder width apart and legs slightly bent.

3. Hold the axe with both hands – one hand secured on the grip and the other slightly below the axe’s head.

4. Pull the axe carefully over your head and concentrate on where you wish to strike your piece of wood.

5. Quickly bring the axe down, allowing your top hand to slide down the axe’s handle to your other hand.

6. Clear the chopped wood from the splitting area and neatly stack on a woodpile

 

General Tips

– Wear boots and long pants for safety.

– Check the wood for knots and nails before you begin.

– Seasoned wood splits better than green wood.

– Take a few practice swings before you start to chop.

– To develop accuracy, concentrate on aiming for the smallest target as possible.

– Use the axe’s weight to bring the tool down and cut through the wood.

– Make sure to not over do it and take breaks when you get tired.

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During the winter months, few outdoor activities are more satisfying than spending an hour or two chopping firewood on a cool day.

Featuring shirts ideal for winter layering, our new Short Run collection is now available.

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