If you only have one axe for splitting wood, felling trees and halving logs, you need to read this article and check out the axe tips video from Len McDougall, noted North American woodsman. This guy wrote the book on modern lumbjacking, literally! Axes are ancient tools and only a rock is older, but that does not mean we all know the best way to use and axe and more importantly which axe to use!
There are so many firsts that came with the axe and it is an invaluable tool around your homestead, even your urban homestead! All of the first things made from wood first were brought down first with an axe. When you think of early pioneers of our country and even earlier explorers and developers, their axes were their “go to” tools. As we head back to the homestead or off grid, we have need of these amazing tools. Most importantly the proper use and technique for using axes as fallen out of our skills. Len McDougall shows us the proper way to swing an axe so it does the work it was designed to do… oh and he explains the two different types of axes needed for the different types of jobs!
Many of us are familiar with the wedge shaped axe used for splitting wood, but a felling axe for chopping down (felling) trees and halving logs (chopping into sections) seems to be a mystery and many new homesteaders do not even own one. So between not having the proper technical skills and the proper tool, you have been doing the work all wrong… and certainly working too hard! So check out the video for some good tips and then grab Len’s newest book, Modern Lumberjacking from Skyhorse Publishing. We have a link below to the best pre-order price on Amazon for our loyal readers. Since it is a pre-order for April of 2016, there is a “best price guarantee” from Amazon. Just check the details when you order.
Here is some more information about the paperback book itself: “While the lumberjack look may be trending among the fashion-forward crowd, lumberjacking is a useful real-world skill. An amateur with a chainsaw or an ax is dangerous to both people and property. Fortunately, experienced woodsman and outdoor writer Len McDougall shares his thorough knowledge of how to fell trees the right way—safely—with the use of a chainsaw, handsaw, hatchet, and ax in Modern Lumberjacking. In addition to providing tips for bringing trees down, he also includes information on: Wood identification, how to buck logs properly, how to stack and age logs, lumberjacking knots and more! Because safety is a priority, McDougall provides color photos and detailed line drawings throughout to carefully illustrate his instructions and make his advice easy to follow. Modern Lumberjacking is the perfect resource for do-it-yourselfers, landowners, and outdoor enthusiasts who want to fell trees safely and protect themselves and their property.”
(VIDEO) It Don’t Mean a thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing: Axe Work, from America’s premier outdoorsman.
Without an axe, the first house could not have been built, the first river spanned by a bridge, or the first wagon made to cross it – nor even the yoke for the oxen that pulled it. Among the tools and innovations responsible for humankind’s rise, an axe was premier. And even today, there are few obstacles that can stand before an axe. Sadly, the need to use an axe in daily life has diminished over the generations, until there are few people who understand the mechanics of using this simplest of tools to its best advantage. This video, from America’s most respected woodsman, a man who has been using one for a full half-century, reveals some of the lesser known basics of using an axe to make timber do what you want it to do.
Hope you enjoyed the tips in the video. Below is the link to the pre-order of the book (due out in April 2016) and the axe brands Len mentions with a couple of related items. So do not forget you need both a felling axe, sometimes referred to as a Michigan, Cross Cut or Halving Axe and a Splitting Axe for going with the grain. Also, since the felling has to be razor sharp, be sure you have an axe sharpener and of course as always, a good set of eye protection. We like the ones below for their anti-fogging and OTG(over the glasses) option. Some folks forget on sunny days you may want to wear sunglasses and still protect your eyes!