Whether you’re out in the bush or working around the yard, versatility in your tools is king.
When it comes to the world of axes, a double bit axe gives you more options than any other wood chopper.
The versatility is built into the head with a sharpened edge on both sides. The key is that each side is sharpened differently to take on different tasks allowing for a smooth transition from one job to the next.
Here are the biggest advantages to using a double-bit axe
One side is usually sharp which is great for cutting and chopping while the other side is duller and better for splitting. This will set you up for almost any chore.
The dual blades allow you to fell small trees, cut branches off a tree, cut back bushes and foliage, chop small trees, logs and branches, split firewood and even process small game. The size of the axe will determine how much you can do and what tasks it is best suited for and they come in all different sizes and price points. While a double-bit may weigh more than a single-edge you only have to carry around one axe instead of multiple axes.
If you are using the axe correctly, it will last longer due to having different blades for different purposes. The temptation with a standard axe with a single edge is to use it for tasks it may not be specifically designed for. If you’re out camping, chances are you are bringing just one axe and will use it for everything. The same axe you used to fell the tree may not be ideal for chopping it into logs and splitting them later. This risks damaging the blade, especially if you hit a knot.
The double-bit is a bigger head than a standard single-edged axe and is more symmetrical. This leads to a naturally more balanced axe in relation to its handle. Balance can be important to deliver a more efficient and accurate action with the axe. But this will come down to your own personal preference and technique. The balance also makes them great for lumberjack sports, particularly in throwing events.
Honestly, is there a more badass looking axe? When we think axe, this is the iconic look our minds instantly go to and the axe of choice for Paul Bunyun. They may not be as common as the single-edge axe, but this just looks so much cooler. But the advantages of this axe go beyond just its appearance.
What to look for when buying a double-bit axe
Before buying a double-bit axe, there is much to consider.
First and foremost is the job you need it for and if the axe is an appropriate size — Do you need the biggest axe you can find to fell big trees and logs or are you going to be working long days and a lighter axe is more important for endurance purposes? You also need to consider where you plan on using it. If it is going to be a mainstay of your camping or hiking gear you likely want something a bit smaller and less cumbersome. They come in a wide-range of sizes, generally from 16 inches to about 36 inches.
It is important to consider your comfort and skill level. More edges means more safety issues and due to its size it can be a bit more unwieldy. This is not a tool for first-time lumberjacks.
While we have focused on the double-bit head to this point, do not forget the handle. It should be straight to provide balance and even strokes regardless of which way you are swinging it. They also come in a few different materials, but most commonly in hickory and a carbon fibre, both of which provide a lot of durabilities. A wood handle will absorb vibrations better but a carbon fibre handle will be lighter.
Best uses for a double-bit axe
With so many different types of axes available, it’s important that you make sure that a double bit axe is actually right for your situation. Here are a few of the main use cases for this axe type:
1.Cutting down trees
The different edges make this axe ideal for helping woodsmen accomplish this task as the duller edge works on the more obtuse angles and the sharper edge is better one the thinner and sharper edges.
The double-bit is perfectly designed for chopping firewood. The balance of the head will give you a more efficient and accurate stroke using the sharp edge. The added weight of the head will also give you more power in your stroke.
For many of the same reasons the double-bit axe is great for chopping down trees it is great for clearing out stray branches on a tree obstructing a home or garden or one that has been felled and needs to be cleaned up. The added weight of the double bit will give you enough power to make quick work of the task.
4.Trim, cut and shape wood
A small double-bit axe can be useful in trimming, cutting and shaping wood for projects around the home or making furniture. The sharp edge is great for some of the fine work while the balance and weight will improve your accuracy. You will want to use fine, sharp strokes on any of this type of work.
With the growth of lumberjack sports, one of the fastest growing divisions is axe throwing — it’s not just for magic shows and circus acts any more. The double-bit axe offers competitors a much more balanced tool, from the head through the handle, while the weight of the head gives the athlete more power and accuracy.
A double-bit axe stands alone for its versatility. While it is not an axe for every job, it is an axe for most jobs and will give you the ability to work efficiently without carrying around multiple axes. Also, what lumberjack doesn’t want to look like Paul Bunyun?