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Not All Axes Are Same. How to Choose the Right One?

01/28/2022
Sekera

There is no single right way to choose an axe. However, you should always consider the purpose. Do you need to split wood, or a decoration for your living room? Learn more about the different types of axes, so you can choose the right one!

Two Parts of the Axe

An axe has two main parts. The handle and the head

Both parts of an axe are very important for its function. The head is V-shaped, it can be double-edged and have different forms. 

The hollow centre in the head (eye) is where the handle passes through. Handle is an important part and its length impacts balance and the way it is held. Handles can be made of wood, metal, or synthetic materials. Sometimes, handles have a rubber coating to reduce the chance of slipping. In the past, the handles were decorated with various ornaments and symbols.

Purpose of the Axe

When you are choosing an axe, its primary purpose should be the main factor to consider.Not all materials are suitable for all kinds of purpose and use. Steel that is too soft, for example, could bend when you are chopping wood. The length and weight of the axe are no less important factors.


If you want an axe to work well, you should maintain it regularly. Always sharpen an axe with flat file, using circular motion. Never forget to take a good care of the handle, which is the part that takes a lot of impact. It could wobble or break. You can read more about the maintenance of axes here.

Forests, LARPs or Walls

Learn about the types of axes - understand the differences between their shape, blade, and function.

Splitting Axe

This is the most common type of axe which you can get at any DIY store. It is used for chopping and splitting wood. The handles are most often made of wood or fibreglass. Compared to battle or war axes, they are lighter and smaller.

Battle Axe

Battle axes are cold weapons used in battles since ancient times. They can easily cut through flesh and bone, or seriously bruise an opponent. If you are looking for a battle axe, pay a special attention to the length and shape of the handle, which are important for balance. And remember that battle axes are not suitable for chopping wood. 

You can choose between one-handed and two-handed axes. One-handed battle axes can deliver a stronger blow than a sword, because of their centre of gravity. They are not suitable for parrying blows, because of their weight. If you need to parry or deflect blows, consider using a massive shield instead. 

If you want to swing an axe at a LARP event, a two-handed axe is a better choice. In the past, axes were used as a tool for executioners or by warriors in battles. Two-handed axes were historically used for chopping wood, but we don't recommend using it for the purpose today. If you need to chop wood, get a splitting axe instead. 

In any case, you will need an axe sheath.

Double-edged Axes

Do you need an axe for a historical event? You might want to consider an impressive double-edged axe

Two blades allow a warrior to strike in both directions without changing the grip on their axe. Strong warriors will also love the axe for its weight. A heavy axe can deliver very powerful blows.

Viking Axes

Viking axes had a long wooden handle and a blade with sharp ends. The shape of Viking axes was adjusted to the Viking style of fighting. The first downward blow would break the opponent’s shield, and the second upward blow would cut into the opponent’s body or throat.

Throwing axes

In order to hit the target in front of you, you need a well-balanced throwing axe with the centre of gravity in the middle part of the weapon. The axe should be made of strong and flexible material, able to prevent the head of the axe from breaking upon impact. Spring steel is a great option. We have dedicated a separate article to spring steel axes. 

The best option will be all-metal models with a firm tip at the end of the handle. Another thing to consider is whether you are looking for a blunt axe (used for sports) or a sharp throwing axe (used for hunting).

Outdoor Axes

Outdoor axes are multi-purpose, easy to store, and useful outdoors. You can choose from axes with wooden or plastic handles. Both materials can easily chop down a smaller tree or wood for a campfire. Outdoor axes are usually short and fit into your backpack just fine. 

Some modern outdoor axes have a convenient non-slip layer on the handle to prevent it from slipping from your hand.

Fantasy Axes

Perfect for true enthusiasts. Fancy an axe inspired by heroes from the fantasy worlds, films, and video games? It has never been easier to turn into an orc, a strong dwarf, or a Black Legion warrior with a fantasy axe!

Firemen and Carpenters Still Use Axes

We may not use axes as much as in the past, but some professions can't do their job without them, for example firefighters, butchers, or carpenters. Of course, axes used in these professions are adjusted to fit the purpose. 

Are you interested in the history of axes? You might want to read one of our articles dedicated to the topic. Check it out!

Periods: Axes

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