Parts of an Axe and their function

It’s always good to know how your tools are made, how everything sticks together, and what the names are of the different parts of an axe.

An axe might be a simple tool if you see it, but did you know it has 12 different parts? Ok, effectively it’s made from 3 parts, the handle, the head, and a small wedge to keep the head in place. But overall there are 12 parts in an axe we can distinguish from each other.

In the image below you will find the 12 parts of an axe and the description of it.

The 12 parts of an Axe

An axe is made from two main parts, a handle. Mostly made from wood but some are also made from metal or fiberglass. And the metal head. The head and handle are held together with a wooden and metal wedge.

In order of the picture, starting at the bottom of the handle to the top handle.

  • End Knob, swell knob – The bottom of the handle. On most axes, the End Knob flares out for a bitter grip and to prevent the axe from splitting out of your hands.
  • Troat –  Lower parts of the handle where you place your bottom hand.
  • Back of the Handle – Just like its name, the entire back of the handle. Nothing more or less.
  • Shoulder – The part where the handle enters the eye of the head. If you overstrike then this part will hit your wood. Some axes have extra protection made from metal, leather, or rubber to protect the handle.
    Some axes have axe lip or lug on the head. This gives a more stable and durable connection between the handle and the head.
  • Poll – Sometimes also called the butt of an axe. The opposite side of the cutting edge of the head. Can be used as a hammer on some axes.
  • Beard – Bottom part of the head, from the heel to the handle.
  • Heel – Bottom or end of the cutting edge.
  • Bit, cutting edge – The cutting part of the head. The bit can be arc-shaped or straight and this is the part that you keep sharp.
  • Toe – The starting point of the cutting edge.
  • Cheek – The side of the axe head are called cheeks. This is the thickest part of the axe and surrounds the eye of the head. The cheeks give the axe the most weight which contributes to the cutting and splitting force.
  • Eye – The hole in the head through which the handle is inserted. The handle is held in place with a wooden and metal wedge.

Almost every axe is made from the parts above. Except for axes that are made from a fiber compound or are completely forged from metal. Still, most of the parts will be there and you now know what every part is and their function.

At first glance, almost all the axes will look the same, but if you look closely you will notice a difference in the thickness of the head, the shape of the bit, or the shape of the handle.

A splitting maul, for example, will have a wider head to split to wood easier and to add the extra weight that is needed to give you the force to split the wood. Felling axes, on the other hand, will have a very thin head to cut easier in the wood.

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