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Anyone using bearded hatchets or axes?

 
steward
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Most people probably see these hatchets and axes and think of a Viking warrior, I know I do. But they were also tools used by the famous Scandinavian woodworkers.

The name "bearded" comes from the bottom portion of the blade that is unattached from the handle and hangs down like a beard.



Some of the advantages of these types of tools that I've been reading about recently may include:

1) You can grasp the tool almost right behind the blade, allowing for very high control and precision if needed, and use for other things besides woodworking.

2) The blade is usually longer than most axes, which enables it to cut across a wider surface area.

3) The weight is generally a little lighter due to less metal, which helps reduce fatigue.

Has anyone used these tools? How was your experience?
 
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Axes are remarkably misunderstood tools ;) People think of them as crude, but in the right hands, the right axe and properly tuned, they are remarkably precise tools. I have multiple axes, but none of the bearded variety. My large hewing axe allows for gripping the haft behind the head, as you can with a bearded axe, but it is not a bearded axe. Rather more like an oversize Kent pattern.

A good sharp hewing axe (single bevel), whether or not it's a bearded variety, can be used as an axe, a plane or a chisel. You can achieve remarkably flat and clean surfaces, with just the one tool.
One of the "secrets" of bearded axes is not just the length of the edge, but the curve along it. That curve allows for a longer slicing cut, and so better precision and control.

These designs are efficient in their use of iron, but they're also made for carpentry work, not tree felling, or splitting logs. They're kind of delicate ;)
 
gardener
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I find myself wishing I had a bearded carving axe. I feel like I could use the control you get from a higher hand position when I'm using an axe for removing material to make spoons.
 
Steve Thorn
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I just got one about a week ago, and I've been experimenting making my first spoon with it and really like how I can slide my hand so far up for extra control on small precise cuts.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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