1. What is the difference between axe and hatchet?
A hatchet is a shorter, one-handed version of an axe used for chopping and splitting small pieces of wood.
On the other hand, an axe is longer and is designed to be swung with two hands to maximize the power output with each swing.
2. What steel are axe heads made of?
The majority of axe heads are made from medium-carbon steel, rated between 1050 and 1060.
This is the best type of steel for honed-edged weapons and tools.
To reduce the chances of the steel splintering and breaking, it is heat tempered.
Having said that, an axe with 1045 medium-carbon steel could still make a good hatchet or axe head, as long as it is heat-treated properly.
Sometimes a high carbon content (1070 or above) is used in better-quality axes, but the blade will need sharpening more often.
You will also come across axe heads made from 420 stainless steel (or 3Cr13), which only has moderate edge retention but is incredibly corrosion-resistant.
This makes it a much more suitable choice for use in the outdoors.
As such, it is a better option for a survival axe or camping companion that might be left outside.
If you find an axe with 420HC stainless steel, this is high carbon 420 stainless steel.
This is still corrosion-resistant, but it also possesses increased hardness, strength, and edge retention than 420 stainless steel.
3. How heavy should an axe be?
The best weight of an axe will depend on what you want to use it for and the weight you can comfortably swing.
The heavier the axe is, the more force you can potentially create, but unless you’re an expert, you’ll lose accuracy in your swing.
When it comes to survival axes, you should also consider the overall weight they will add to your gear.
Experts recommend starting with either a three-pound, full-size axe or a smaller axe with a two-pound head.
However, if the survival axe is for a bug-out bag or will be carried over long distances, it would be wise to limit the weight to less than 32 ounces (or two pounds).
4. Should an axe be razor sharp?
Abraham Lincoln reportedly said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
So, yes, an axe should be razor-sharp, ideally sharp enough to shave with.
A dull axe blade will be less efficient and will tire you out more than necessary.
In a survival situation, you want to conserve energy as much as possible, so it’s a good idea to keep your axe blade as sharp as possible.
Most new axes require anywhere between an hour and half a day of hand sharpening to get them into shape.
5. Is a maul or axe better for splitting wood?
For smaller pieces of wood, a splitting axe will be more ideal.
However, for larger pieces of lumber, the heavier weight of a maul will give you more power.
A maul will drive through the wood more easily.
In comparison, smaller or more inexperienced users will find it more difficult to accurately swing this amount of weight.