The druidical science of axemanship is glossed over in scouting literature. Wielding an axe expertly is more than meets the eye. Can you properly ‘hang’ an axe? Are you able to detect hidden flaws when choosing a new axe handle?
Bernie Weisgerger is a historic preservation specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. He oversees the restoration of remote historic buildings using traditional technologies and materials. Bernie was the building consultant for the PBS series Frontier House. His manual An Axe to Grind is as complete a treatment of the subject as one is likely to find. Available as a PDF (17.2 M).
I’ve always had a passion for axes. I received my first ax–a toy–when I was 8 years old, and my first real ax not long afterwards. Since that time, for over 45 years, I’ve used and collected all kinds of axes an adzes in my professional work restoring historic buildings and structures.
Master your ax instead of fearing it. You master ax work by practicing it. Chopping is an art. It takes years to become an expert. You can learn only so much by reading manuals and looking at illustrations; the rest you can learn only by swinging. Take a cautious, rather than aggressive, approach to chopping your first logs. Placement, control, proper stance, and technique are far more important than power. Only when you have become fully proficient does power become a consideration.
From An Axe to Grind