“Chainsaws run out of gas, axes only run out of gas when you quit eating” – Dave Canterbury
We have a bug out that’s in the woods. Only about an acre is open, the rest are full of pines and assorted hardwoods. Because of this our winter preparedness is based around wood as our fuel for warmth and cooking. I have a nice 18” chainsaw that is near and dear to my heart but if we were in a grid down scenario chainsaws require gas and are loud, drawing attention to yourself. Because of this I see axes as an important part of our preps.
At a basic level you can get by with one axe and the Husqvarna multipurpose axe may be that solution but if you live in the woods in my opinion you should have three axes and maybe four.
- First is a hatchet, a small one handed axe for prepping kindling and prepping for a fire.
- Next on the list is a small forest axe, also known as a house axe. This could replace the hatchet if you only wanted three. All this is, is a hatchet sized head in an 18”-20” inch handle. This allows you to get two hands on the handle. You can split wood, prep kindling, take limbs and branches off of fallen trees, and can fell small trees. This is a great axe to have around the house and if you were going to carry an axe for hunting or camping this is the size I would take. Large enough to get most of the work done but small enough to not get in the way. It should be made of good steel and be able to throw sparks. It should also be sharp enough to use as a knife if needed for starting a fire, processing game, or making notches and tools around camp.
- Third is a forest axe. This is an axe that is large enough to fell trees but small enough and have a light enough head to do small tasks. Generally the handle length is around 24”-28” You can split wood but also make fire sticks. You should not really have a problem taking down small trees with this axe. If you live in a heavy wooded environment this would be your go to axe around the house.
- Forth is a felling axe. This is your chainsaw. The head of this axe is on the heavy side; anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds. And the handle is generally over 30”. The weight of the head and the longer handle make chopping down a full size oak much easier. I will do a separate post on these and how you can save yourself a bunch of money finding old axe heads and rehanging them.
I have all four but as I mentioned the house axe can replace the hatchet if you wanted. We have a hatchet. It’s kind of piece of crap, I think I paid $7 for it but it holds a good edge and all I every use it for is processing kindling and mostly lives inside by the wood stove. This point is important. Your axes should not live inside. It is far too dry in your house especially in the winter for an axe. The handle will shrink and your head will come loose. Because of this, my POS hatchet has always lived inside and has a synthetic handle. Continue reading