What are the Parts of an Axe?

What are the Parts of an Axe?

While this is more of a “What are…” than a “How to…” we still wanted to nest this post along with others like it. So, if you are looking to learn what the different parts of an axe are called, look no further.

Take a look at the image below that goes over in detail many of the different parts that most axes share.

12 Axe Parts and Their Descriptions

    • Head – the entire V-shaped cutting portion of the axe usually made of steel and attached to a handle
    • Bit – the cutting edge of the axe head; axes can be single bit, meaning they have one cutting edge, or double bit, meaning they have
    • Toe of the bit – the very top of the bit or cutting edge when holding the axe in a natural cutting position
    • Heel of the bit – the very bottom of the bit or cutting edge when holding the axe in a natural cutting position
    • Eye – the top of the head where the handle can be seen
    • Cheek – the side of the axe head
    • Beard – the concave portion of the bottom of the axe bit near the handle; beards can very shallow, deep, or in between
    • Handle – the entire portion of where the axe is held
    • Body of the handle – typically near the center of the handle where your upper most hand would hold it
    • Back of handle – the entire back of the handle
    • Throat of the handle – typically near the bottle of the handle where the bottom hand would hold it
    • Knob – the very bottom of the handle that flares out to prevent the axe from slipping out of your hands

No matter if you’re using a splitting axe or taking down a tree with a felling axe, chances are your axe of choice has all of the parts listed above. It might not have an eye if it’s a one-piece design and not your typical two-piece head and handle design, but aside from that, from the head down to the knob, you’ll be able to spot all of these.

Although most axes share all of these parts, there is a lot of variety from model to model. Mauls will have a very wide head used for splitting logs while felling axes have very thin heads and sharp bits. Some axes will have one bit, and others will have two, which is often referred to as a double bit. And, some axes will have almost no beard at all, but others, like many carpenter’s axes, will have a very pronounced and deep beard.

Another common difference is the handle. Some axes have a uni-body design so the handle is made from the same steel the head is made from. Others have a wooden handle, which is often made from hickory. Additionally, some axes come with a leather or vinyl grip on the handle.

In Summary
Most axes share many of the same parts. They have a head and handle with many small parts in between. Although they share all these parts, the variety of the parts, such as the shape for the head and the design of the bit, determines what type of axe it is and what it should be used for.

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How to Sharpen an Axe

An axe is undisputedly one of the most used tools in every man’s workshop. An axe, also known as ax, is a tool that has been used for a long time to fell trees, split logs, and shape wood. Aside from woodworking and axe also can be used as a weapon.

There are various shapes and types of axes, each designed according to the kind of work they do. No matter what type of axe you are suing, to efficiently use it, it must be sharp. However, a question that arises in most occasions is how to sharpen an axe.

Well, sharpening an axe can’t be termed as easy, but the perception of it being hard is not correct at all. There are different means of sharpening an axe. These common ways are: using a heavy-duty sharpener and a puck, electric grinder, use of stone, and use of a bastard mill file.

The first thing to take care of before sharpening your axe is confirming if the axe bit needs to be sharpened or not. If your axe’s bit has dulled and rounded over time, then it will require more sharpening. Some new axes require sharpening too.

How to Use a Sharpening Stone and Puck

Whetstone Cutlery 20-10960 Knife Sharpening Stone-Dual Sided 400/1000 Grit Water Stone-Sharpener and Polishing Tool for Kitchen, Hunting and Pocket Knives or Blades by Whetstone

After inspection of your axe confirms it needs sharpening, it is recommended that you use a felt marker to color the edge of the axe. This will help you to keep a consistent and even bevel during sharpening since you will be following the angle that will match your marking.

If the sharpening is being done at home, then you will need to clamp down the axe for safety purposes,. However, if you will be sharpening it in the field, there will be no such luxury.

After marking, you will need to find the bevel angle on one side of the axe. You will then start to push the sharpening stone against the edge of the axe. Always ensure it’s at a proper angle and always push against the edge, not into the edge. The same process should then be repeated on the other side of the bevel. And, don’t forget to oil up your stone to make the process easier and protect it.

After you have removed the nicks that could have affected the axe, confirm if the edge is sharp. By now, you will need to move to the next tool.

The puck will be more efficient to use since it can remove the scratches that are as a result of the heavy-duty sharpener. It will usually about take 5-6 alternating strokes to make the edge finer and sharper.

Gransfors Bruks Ceramic Grinding/ Sharpening Stone GB 4034

How to Use a Bastard Mill File

The first step is to protect your hands and face during this process. To avoid injuries, you will need to:

    • Wear thick leather gloves
    • Wear safety goggles to offer you protection against metal dust and particulate
    • WARNING: Avoid using a loose vice

The second step will involve cleaning the head of the axe with a rust eraser or steel wool so as to remove any rust on the axe. Then you can use a coarse grit aluminum oxide sandpaper or silicon carbide sandpaper to prepare the bit for sharpening. Apply even pressure on the axe head as you move from the poll to the blade. You will then repeat the grinding with fine-grit sandpaper.

After cleaning the head of the axe, you will need to clamp the axe in a vice either horizontally or vertically for a more even edge since it will allow you to alternate both sides of the bevel. If you consider positioning it horizontally, then try to get it at an angle of twenty to thirty degrees for easier sharpening.

The next step would be selecting the best file for sharpening. The file should be about 25-30 cm long, coarse, slightly tampering and single cut. If the file is new, you will need to rub a soft chalk on it to prevent clogging. You also need inspect the bevel of the axe. It’s important to decide on your axe’s shape before sharpening.

Now it’s time to do the actual sharpening. You will file with a steady motion into the blade as you hold the handle with the other palm of a dominant hand. The position of your foot will also matter. Place one foot in front of the other. This will enable your shoulders to push the file easily.

During the filing, you should repeatedly file in a fan-shaped stroke. It’s advisable to not make contact with the blade on the return stroke since it may spoil your file and may not sharpen the axe. When the metal particles build up, you need to clear them with a wire brush.

Lastly, turn the axe to the other side and repeat the same steps frequently to give you a finer edge.

Sharpening an Axe with an Electric Grinder

A grinding wheel is always a solid option when you have a lot of nicks in the blade and when the blade is worn since it can remove larger amounts of steel. However, the friction between the grinder and the blade will make the axe bit very hot while working. Therefore, it’s important to always have a nearby water source to cool the blade.

You will first need to remove some rust from the bevel then determine the pivot as you draw the correct cutting edge. Lock the poll end of the axe head in a vice and tighten it, but make sure you can still shift the blade in order to access it at different angles . During grinding, always ensure that you maintain the angle accurately and cool the blade often to avoid damaging the quality of the metal.

Always ensure the following safety ideas when using a grinder:

    • Keep flammable objects away from your working table
    • Use safety goggles or glasses to protect your eyes
    • Wear thick gloves
    • Use ear protection
    • Fit the angle grinder with wheel guard to help keep sparks out of your face

No matter which method of the three options above you choose, the name of the game when sharpening you axe bit is safety. It’s all too easy to injure yourself with the sharpened bit, the shards and metal particulate you file or grind off, or with the sharpening tool you have chosen.

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The Best Firewood to Burn Indoors & Outdoors

Whether you’re preparing for the winter or you’re just going on a camping trip, it’s a good idea to know which firewood to burns best.

There are many types of firewood out there, however, only the best will keep you warm when you need it the most. Choosing the best firewood will also depend on your location since different geographic areas are home to different types of trees, which are of course the source for timber.

Usually, when searching for the best firewood you really mean the best suitable firewood for your particular needs. Therefore, have a look at this list of the various types firewood for both indoors and outdoors.

Firewood Types

The beauty of firewood is that there are many different types, and you don’t necessarily need to stick to only one of them. That also helps to preserve the same type of firewood from overuse, which is a bonus for the environmentally friendly minded.

The most common firewood species are:

    • Oak
    • Hickory
    • Black Locust
    • Ash
    • Maple


The most common oak firewood are the white and red oak trees. Oak is very strong, yet it has a density that allows it to produce a very high heat.


Hickory is very similar to oak. It also includes pecan trees which have almost the same density as oak. Therefore, they’re a very popular choice for burning.

Black Locust

Black locust is a great firewood that not many people know about due to limited availability. It’s often used for fence posts because of its strength and density. And, since it’s durable and strong, it burns hot and long.


Ash, specifically white ash, is a very popular choice for firewood. It’s light and less dense than some other popular choices, so it’s extremely easy to split with an axe or maul.


Sugar maple is considered to be one of the best firewood options because of how easy it is to light and how well it burns. It usually only takes a very small flame from kindling to get a good fire going, and it makes very little smoke.


Firewood for Indoors

Getting and keeping a fire going in a fireplace is a bit different than an outdoor fire. The best wood choices are those that burn at a high temperature and do so for a long time.

That means your best options would be hardwoods because they have a higher density.

However, you can still use softwood for indoor fires if necessary. Just keep in mind that they burn quickly meaning you will need more wood than if you chose a hardwood.


Cherry makes for a great firewood if you can get your hands on it. It’s a very dense wood.

One major drawback though is that it needs to be seasoned for at least 6 months before using. Once it’s seasoned and ready for use, it won’t only burn slow, but it will also have a nice aroma.


Hawthorn meets both most important criteria when it comes to indoor firewood. It burns nice and slowly and get very hot. If you are harvesting yourself though be aware of the thorns, as they will make your life miserable if you’re not careful.


Maple is one of the best indoor firewood options. Due to its density it burns longer than many other firewood options, and most of the time hotter as well.


Oak is very common, but like cherry it need to be seasoned at least 6 months before use.

Black Locust

Black locust is a perfect firewood that burns really well and puts out a lot of warmth.

Firewood for Outdoors

When you’re looking for the best firewood for outdoor use, you can opt for either seasoned or unseasoned firewood. If you’re camping or thru-hiking, then your only realistic option would be unseasoned wood.
Unlike the what you might want to use in a fireplace, choosing a wood that lights easily and burns quickly is a solid idea. That’s why softwoods tend to be great for camp fires.


Birch is a softwood that is great as an outdoor firewood because of how easily it ignites even and an immature green wood. However, keep in mind that it burns very quickly and easily so you’ll need a decent quantity to get you through a cold night.


Pine is suitable for a camp fire, but like other softwoods, it burns quickly. Pine is a great option for getting a camp fire going and then switching to a hardwood to maintain the fire.

And, if you decide to cook any food over it, you will love the scent.


As a hardwood, walnut is great for both outdoors and indoors. Due to its density, it will burn all night long. But, it’s known for have a very minor smoke output too.

In Summary

If you haven’t yet figured out, the major difference between what is suitable for a fireplace and what works well in a camp fire is the density of the wood. Hardwoods make excellent indoor firewood due to their ability to burn slowly at high temperatures. Softwoods word great outdoors because they light easily and usually don’t need to be as dried out as a hardwood.

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How to Use a Sharpening Stone

Sometimes when you purchase a new axe or other bladed tool you will need to freshen up the edge. Even if it comes razor sharp right off the shelf, it will eventually dull and lose its edge.

There are a few different ways to sharpen your bladed tool, but one of the most popular is to use a sharpening stone. It’s a fairly simple process, but if you have never done it before, you might not know where to start.

Don’t worry! We have you covered.

Choosing the Right Type of Stone

The most important part of using a stone to sharpen your axe or knife is knowing what type of stone you have. Or, if you have yet to purchase one, knowing what type to buy.

Believe it or not, there are quite a few options to choose from.

Natural Stones

Sometimes referred to as Japanese water stones, natural stones are a type of sharpening stone that was used widely in the past. But, they are slowly becoming scarce due to Japan not mining them anymore.

Natural stones are basically a type of whetstone. You won’t want to try and sharpen your blade on them dry, so at the very least, use some water.

As they name suggests, they are natural. And, being so they don’t often have a consistent grit.

While that might seem like a bad thing, the natural variations in the grit actually create an uneven blade on a very small scale. Your edge will still be very sharp, but it will wear down at different rates, thus keeping your cutting edge sharper longer.

While they are some of the best and most sought after stones due to their effectiveness, they are also a bit softer than some of the more common whetstone varieties. That means they usually require a little more maintenance and might not last as long.


Whetstones or oilstones are the most common type of sharpening stone. They tend to be the most affordable option due to their availability.

Whetstones can be natural like Japanese water stones, or they can be artificially manufactured. Thus, there is no one type of whetstone.

The natural stones are mostly made of quartz. A certain kind of quartz that’s most common used is called novaculite.

Novaculite has different grains, from very coarse to a more porous grain. The coarse novaculite is often referred to as Arkansas stone due to its origin, thus why you will see some whetstones called Arkansas stones.

The artificial stones are made of various materials like:

    • Aluminum-Oxide
    • Silicon-Carbide
    • Aluminum-Oxide

If you have or end up purchasing a whetstone, make sure to use a lubricant like water or a type of sharpening stone oil to prolong the stone’s lifespan.

Diamond Stones & Plates

Diamond stones, sometimes called diamond plates or diamond hones, are not actually giant chunks of diamond. They are usually steel that has been coated with a diamond grit.

Since the diamond in the coating is so much harder than the steel edge of your tool, it will grind away the steel rather easily. Compare it to using sandpaper on a softwood.

Diamond sharpening stones tend to cost more than the other previously mentioned options due to the high cost of the diamond grit compared to that of other materials like aluminum-oxide and ceramics.

Another difference with this type of sharpening tool is that you don’t need to use a lubricant.

They also have incredible lifespans, so if you plan to sharpen a lot of tools often, this might be the choice for you.

Choosing the Right Grit

While the type of stone you use matters, so does the grit of the stone. Much like sandpaper, you can choose from coarse grit options to fine grit options.

And, like sandpaper, the grit is measured by a number. The lower the number the more coarse the grit.

For example, a stone with a 400 grit would be considered coarse, while a stone with a 1200 grit is much finer.

The most useful grit is going to be something on the coarse side. A 400 or 600 grit stone is going to be very abrasive. That means it will quickly raise a burr on the edge you’re working on.

For an axe you use to split logs or fell trees, you don’t really need to consider ever going with a higher grit as you’re not doing precision work. If you are sharpening a knife, then opting for a 1000+ grit stone in addition to a coarse stone will help you get a really sharp blade.

Sharpening Your Blade

Now that you have the right type of stone with the right grit, it’s time to focus on how to actually use it. Overall, it’s a fairly simple process.

Wet or Dry?
One of the most commonly asked questions is whether you should use your stone wet or dry.

In most circumstances, lubricating your stone is going to be a the right choice. When you use a honing oil, you’ll get these benefits:

    • longer lifespan of the stone
    • less friction thus quicker work
    • a more even edge

The only real exception here is if you are using a diamond stone in which case you can skip the lubrication.

Find the Right Angle

Probably the most difficult part of sharpening your tool is finding the angle of the edge of your axe or cutting tool. In general, you want to aim for keeping the angle as similar as possible to what the edge is currently.

What makes this a little more difficult on an axe than on a knife is that the angle on an axe bit actually changes gradually as you move along the edge.

On most axes the angle of the part of the bit closest to the edge is about 30 degrees while it changes to around 15-20 degrees as you move closer to the center. This of course depends on the type of axe you have and the manufacturer shaped it originally.

Forwards of Backwards?

Another common question is how exactly do you slide the blade across the stone. But before you get started with that, you need to know how to hold your axe or knife.

The proper way to hold it while using a sharpening stone is to use your dominant hand to hold the handle. Then you want to turn the axe or blade flat so that it’s parallel to the ground.

Fan out the fingers on your other hand, and place them just behind the edge of the bit. You can see an example in the image below.

This will allow you to safely control the blade while sharpening it.

And, as you can also see in the image, you can move the blade both forward and backward. Though with axes, there’s actually a better way.

As mentioned earlier, the angle of an axe bit changes as you move along the cutting edge. A great way to make sure you sharpen the entire bit is to move in small circles and not long strokes.

The video below is a great visual example to follow.

It takes a little getting used to, but after a few tries, you’ll be sharpening like a pro.

In Summary

Whether you are sharpening a knife, an axe, or even a straight razor, using a sharpening stone is very solid choice. You can quickly take a dull blade to a very sharp blade.

Another bonus is that when compared to some other methods like using a grinder, it’s safer and usually much cheaper.

As long as you have a general idea of what you are doing, and you start slow, you should be fine. And always remember, whenever you’re working with any kind of tool, think safety first.

Filed Under: Blog

Famed Axe-Wielders (Fictional and Non-Fictional)

While there are several different types of axes you might use for working outdoors, woodworking, and while camping & hiking, not all axes are utility tools. Some axe had more nefarious purposes, or at least were used that way. And, some axes just looked cool.

Let’s take a look at some of the more famous axes of history, and remember, it’s not always the axe, but the person using the axe, that really stands out.


While maybe not as cool as what someone can come up with in their mind and create a story around, the fact that there are all true makes them cool in their own right.

Carry Nation

Carry Nation was allegedly a very fond of Jesus, and not very fond of alcohol. She was known for storming into pubs with a few supporters in tow. She would then splinter the bar to pieces with a hatchet while praying and quoting scripture.

If the mixture of the hatchet and scripture working in unison is Samuel L. Jackson enough for you to make this cool (and make Carry intimidating), the fact that she was very tall for her time, 6-feet tall to be exact, should give you a clearer image of the kind of shock a pub-goer might have felt upon her entrance and proceeding show.

Source: https://www.britannica.com/list/5-famous-battle-axes

Lizzy Borden

The somewhat vulgar children’s rhyme based on Lizzy’s alleged misdeeds is rather descriptive –

Lizzy Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks. When she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41.

If you have not heard of Lizzy until now, the short poem should sum up what she is best known for. Ironically, though the poem live on infamy, Lizzy was never convicted of the murder of her father and step-mother due to her appearance. And let’s be fair, we weren’t there so who knows who committed the terrible crime.

Source: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lizzie-borden-took-an-axe

Jake Bird

Jake Bird is more known for what he said after being convicted of his heinous crimes (performed with an axe) than for the crimes themselves.

Bird was a drifter and while looking for work, one night he for still some unknown reason, he decided to let himself into the home of Bertha Kludt. He proceeded to gruesomely murder her and her daughter Beverly June with an axe.

He tried to claim he was surprised during a burglary attempt, but that wasn’t enough to get him off the double murder charges.

What makes Bird so infamous however is that when being sentenced he alleged cursed or hexed the legal professionals that were involved saying, “I’m putting the hex of Jake Bird on all of you who had anything to do with my being punished. Mark my words. You will die before I do.”

And sure enough, Bird outlived his attorney, the officer that took his confession, the judge, the court’s clerk, another officer that was involved, and a prison guard all passed away before Bird himself.

Source: http://www.southsoundtalk.com/2016/03/31/jake-bird-tacoma/


If you think there were some crazy stories from the non-fictional events above, there are plenty of fictional characters that are hard to forget. Oh, and they have a penchant for axes too.

Jack Torrence

Jack Torrence was the trouble author in the famed novel the Shining by Stephen King. In the original film adaptation, Torrence was played by Jack Nicholson.

In the film, one of the most memorable scenes is when Jack tries to hack down a bathroom door with the intention of hacking apart his wife and son who were hiding inside the bathroom.

And, what did he use? An axe of course.

While not the most glamorous or vicious use of an axe, it is one of the most memorable.

Johanna Mason

Johanna Mason is a fictional character with a fondness for an axe in a book and movie series where the protagonist has a fondness for a different weapon, the box and arrow. That series is of course The Hunger Games.

Though quite the skilled axe-wielder, her real skill was her cunning and ferocity. In the novels she survived by feigning weakness and only letting her true murderous self show after many of the others had already died in their hunt to be the lone survivor.

In the movies she is portrayed by Jena Malone, who does a very solid job.

Source: http://thehungergames.wikia.com/wiki/Johanna_Mason

Jason Vorhees

A list of axe-wielder, fictional or not, would not be complete without including Jason from the Friday the 13th film series. Though he is almost always seen with his white plastic hockey goalie mask, it’s not unusual to picture an axe first when you hear his name.

Axes weren’t his only murderous weapon of choice though. He was OK with using just about anything he could get his hands on, from machetes to ice picks to his bare hands.

But, Jason’s most dangerous weapon of all was his ability to magically travel faster while plodding along than his victims who were running for their lives.

Source: https://www.sideshowtoy.com/blog/the-many-murder-weapons-of-jason-voorhees/

In Summary

Though this is a short list, it covers some of the heavy hitters. From real-life hatchet friendly women, to fictional serial killers, the one thing everyone on this list has in common is their willingness to forgo more popular tools and weapons in lieu of the axe.

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Jobs Where Your Axe Skills Will Be Appreciated

There is no other manual tool that’s as primal as the axe. From the moment you get your hands wrapped around the handle, you feel a certain power. Then, when you drive it through a log or swing it into a tree trunk and you feel the impact vibrate from the head through the handle and into hands and up your arms, you feel a surge of adrenaline.

Handling an axe awakens part of our being that you don’t normally access when working with others tools. And, it’s definitely something different that you experience in your professional life if like many people you find yourself working in a store or in an office.

But, did you know that if you are really good with an axe, you can actually make a living with that skill?

4 Jobs that Require Axe Skills

If you’re great with an axe and tired of your white collar job or want to do something more fulfilling than drive a truck or deliver packages, you might want to consider one of these fine professions.


Probably the very first profession one thinks of that requires serious axe skills is the lumberjack. A lumberjack is a person whose primary job is to cut down trees for the sake of gathering lumber. They are commonly referred to as loggers.

The lumberjack profession is actually classified as one of the most dangerous jobs in America. This is due to the fact that many things can go wrong while trying to fell large trees with sharp objects. For instance, no matter how skilled or experienced a lumberjack may be, trees don’t always fall where you want. They sometimes take down collateral lumber in the process of falling that can in turn injure the worker.

Additionally, because a lumberjack’s work often takes place in remote locations, they are usually not very close to hospitals. Accidents that might normally be treatable when attended to quickly can very easily become life threatening due to the time it can take to get proper medical treatment.

Working as a lumberjack or logger today usually involves use of many more tools than just an axe. Tools such as chainsaws, pikes, log splitters, and pole saws are commonplace.


Firefighters are often thought of as the real life super hero’s of the modern era. They risk their lives in dangerous situations to help common citizens.

From running into fires where people are normally trying to run out of to helping people out of their vehicles after accidents, firefighters’ work often has the lives of others on the line. That means they need to know what they are doing and know how to use their equipment properly and efficiently.

One of the tools that is very handy for a firefighter is an axe. There are two main types of firefighting axes: those with a flat hammer-like poll, and those with a pick at the poll. They also generally come 6 pounds and 8 pounds weights.

Part of a firefighters training actually involves learning how to use an axe quickly and efficiently. When lives are at stake, there’s no room for poor tradecraft.

Axe Master/Axe Throwing Coach

Are you skilled at and enjoy throwing hatchets an axes? If so, you might be able to find work making a decent living doing what you enjoy.

Like you, many others find throwing hatchets thrilling. But, they may not have your skill and expertise and be willing to pay you for yours.

The job of an axe master is one of teaching others the art of axe throwing. Perhaps they want to learn for sport as they are many axe throwing leagues and competitions, or maybe it’s just a hobby.

Either way, throwing axes for a living can be fun. As an axe master, you can actually get paid to teach others how to throw axes and hatchets.

Usually, axe masters are paid based on hourly rates, with the most common rates ranging between $10 and $15 per hour. You might not get rich, but you can make some good money while having a lot of fun.

Landscaping & Tree Removal

Unlike the professional of being an axe master, landscaping is much more commonplace. A landscaper works outside of homes or commercial properties designing and maintaining lawns and gardens.

Certain landscaping companies function as tree removal specialists as well, which is in a way a completely different type of job. Working with large trees that are often in poor health can be a lot more dangerous than maintaining a lawn.

Depending on the type of landscaping service, an axe could be an important tool in the worker’s arsenal. If they company does any kind of tree or stump removal, ace skills will be a must have.

A big reason for that is because that power tools can fail or run out of fuel in the middle of a job. Plus, they are incredibly noisy which can cause problems in some residential areas. An old-fashioned axe however requires little to no maintenance and doesn’t run the risk of offending neighbors with the constant buzz of a chainsaw.


These are just some of the jobs where your axe skills will be appreciated. There are many types of axes that are made today, each with their own special function, like survival axes for while hunting or on an extended hike and splitting mauls for breaking down logs into smaller chunks.

No matter what axe you are most skilled with, there is a job for you out there if you just put in a little time and effort researching them.

Filed Under: Blog

What is a Cord of Firewood?

If you split your own firewood for personal use, then knowing exactly how to measure a cord of firewood doesn’t really matter. But, if you plan on packing up the wood you chop to sell to others, or you need to buy firewood to sustain you through the cold months, you really should know how to properly measure a quantity of firewood.

The most common form of measurement for a stack of wood is called a cord.

A Unit of Measurement

There’s really nothing tricky when it comes to understanding what a standard cord is. It’s simply a unit of measurement. Like a gallon or cubic meter, a cord is a type of measurement that represents a certain volume.

That volume is equal to about 128 cubic feet meaning 1 cord of wood is the same as a stack of wood that would fill 128 cubic feet of space. That’s why cords are often segmented into 4 foot by 4 foot by 8 foot stacks. (4 x 4 x 8 = 128).

Of course, you can stack wood in a another arrangement, but the 4x4x8 is the most common.

The problem though is that firewood is almost never sold in 4 foot long longs. That’s way to long for a log of firewood.

So, when you’re packing or buying a cord of firewood, you’re most likely going to fine a different arrangement.

Cord vs. Furnace Cord vs. Face Cord

Whether you sell firewood or buy firewood, you know a 4 foot long log is just too much wood. So, a standard cord that is comprised of a bunch of 4 foot long logs is not really useful.

Instead, cords for firewood are usually arranged in something called either a furnace cord or a face cord. They have different measurements, and therefore actually contain a less wood than a standard cord.

For example, a typical furnace cord measures about 4 feet by 8 feet by 18 inches (or 1.5 feet). So a furnace cord equals about 48 cubic feet (4 x 8 x 1.5 = 48).

And, a typical face cord measures about 4 feet by 8 feet by 16 inches (or 1.33 feet). So a face cord equals about 42.56 cubic feet (4 x 8 x 1.33 = 42.56).

cat firewood

These measurements are important because it can make a big difference in how much money changes hands when buying or selling firewood.

What’s the Value?

Determining what equals a cord is not too difficult. The hard part comes when you need to know the dollar value of a cord.

First and foremost, not all wood is equal. Like all items that are bought and sold, both quantity and quality matter.

What does that mean? It means one face cord of firewood might not be worth the same as another face cord of firewood.

They might be the same quantity, but the quality of the wood might be very different. Here are a few qualities that can affect the value of firewood:

    • the overall dryness of the wood (dryer wood is worth more as it burns better)
    • the overall cleanliness of the wood (dirty wood doesn’t burn as cleanly as clean firewood)
    • the overall thickness of the wood (thinner logs take more time to split than thicker logs)
    • the relative uniformity of the logs (were the logs split with care or just hastily prepared)

If you notice, you really need to see the wood to get an honest feel of all of these factors. That’s why you never want top buy firewood from someone for the first time without actually seeing what you are purchasing.

In Summary

A cord is just a unit of measurement. Like certain units of measurement, there are some variations. For example, you can have a dozen or a baker’s dozen.

In regard to wood, you can have a cord, a furnace cord, and a face cord. Firewood is generally measured by either a furnace cord or face cord because in a regular cord the logs are too ling for firewood.

When buying a cord of firewood, make sure to know the quality of the wood before making the deal. The quality of the wood greatly affects the value, so a face cord of low quality semi-dry firewood should sell for less than a face cord of clean, dry, well cut firewood.

Filed Under: Blog

Outdoor Camping Do’s and Don’ts

With the hustle and bustle of modern day living, it can be great to escape the bright lights and sounds for a little while. People get caught up in modern technology and don’t stop to appreciate the world around them. Camping is a great way to separate yourself from your troubles. For a weekend, you can escape binging on Netflix and being bored, and even reap some long-term benefits.

Spending time in nature has a therapeutic effect. Fresh air is good for the body and soul, and spending time away from the rest of the world can do wonders for depression and anxiety. You can also explore nature, burning away Friday’s pizza and discovering some beautiful sights. With the absence of light, you’ll see the stars like you’ve never seen before. Nature can truly seem like a whole new world.

camping outdoors
If you want to experience nature in a new way, but haven’t ever camped before, you’re in the right place. It can be intimidating to go into the forest and survive without modern conveniences. However, if equipped with enough knowledge, you can camp like a pro the first time around.

Here are some of the most important do’s and don’ts of camping. Be sure to keep them in mind to stay safe, comfortable, and to protect the environment for others.


Plan Your Trip

As exciting as a surprise camping trip may be, you’re going to want to plan out your trip. You should scout out locations and their weather conditions to know what to pack. You should also find out about any camping grounds that are available, or if you will have to make your own.

Dress for the Environment

Even though you may have some luxuries, camping can still be “roughing it.” As long as you are staying outside, the weather will be a major factor of your comfort. Be sure to dress lightly to avoid overheating, or bundle up for when the sun goes down.

Bring More than Enough Food & Water

Remember the 3-3-3 rule: 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. While the trees have you covered with the oxygen, you’re still going to need food and water. If you aren’t a survivalist, chances are you won’t be finding these yourself. Always be sure to bring enough food and water to keep you healthy and safe.

Gear Up for Safety & Comfort

Just because you’re staying outside doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. You can bring supplies like a sleeping mat to ensure you get a decent amount of sleep. Toiletries are also never a bad idea. Don’t forget to bring safety supplies, such as a knife, fire starter, and a form of emergency contact in case something goes wrong.

Bring a Friend or 3

The tranquility of nature can be great, but if you camp alone you may get bored. Camping is more fun with friends. You’ll also be safer in case something goes wrong, and you have someone to tell campfire stories to!

Tell Someone Your Plan

Never plan a trip – especially outdoors – without telling someone. If something goes wrong, time will be the primary factor in whether or not you survive, so the sooner you can get help the better.


Leave Your Garbage Around

This is the cardinal sin of camping. Many campgrounds are shared by other campers, and leaving your trash around does nothing but harm the environment and inconvenience others. Clean up after yourself.

Keep Your Food at Your Campsite

Bears can be a very real problem for campers, especially when they smell food. Be sure to cook away from your camp, and store food somewhere safe. Otherwise, you may get a surprise visit from a 600-pound monster.

Leave Your Fire Unattended

When you’re camping, chances are that you’re surrounded by foliage. In dry months especially, this makes your environment highly flammable. Leaving fire unattended poses a risk of a wildfire.

Show Up at Night

Newer campers who are setting up a camp will likely struggle with pitching their tent and other setup. Add in darkness with no city lights around you, and you’ve got a bit of a struggle on your hands. Get to the camp site early so you have enough time to prepare for the night.

Noise or Light Pollute

More often than not, you will be sharing the forest with someone else. It’s great to have a good time, but keep in mind others are likely enjoying nature as well. Keep noise to a minimum, and limit the amount of light you put out at night. It makes it harder to see the stars.

Damage the Environment

This goes without saying, but nature is fragile. The rocks, trees, and other features have likely been there for longer than you’ve been alive. Defacing them for your own amusement is just plain wrong, and trampling over plants and flowers takes away from the beauty you’re supposed to be appreciating.


That’s it! Now that you know how to be a model camper, you can start planning your next trip. Whether it’s alone or with your whole family, local or a drive away, camping is something everyone can enjoy.

Remember: Everyone who is going camping wants to enjoy nature as much as you do. A little common courtesy and respect for the forest can go a long way.

Filed Under: Blog

3 Ways to Pass Time Around a Campfire

Camping is a great way to get the family away from the hustle and bustle of your regular life. Spending some time outdoors instead of in the office or at a school desk can really relieve a lot of built up stress. And, getting away from all of the screens, like your computer, tablet, smartphone, and even your TV helps you remember there’s much more to the world than social media or the current news cycle.

However, when you are so used to having movies on demand or YouTube to cure your boredom, it’s easy to forget how to entertain yourself without all of today’s tech gadgets. You might not be sure how to pass all of that free time you have while hanging out around your campfire.

Time Tested Campfire Activities for the Whole Family

Here are three old but still very reliable campfire activities good for children and adults alike.

Scope the Stars

When you live in an urban environment and are immersed in the high tech world, it’s all too common to spend most of you day with your head buried in a spreadsheet, email box, or something similar. But, how often do you take the time to look up?

Even if you do look up during the evening, the ambient light from cities can completely wipe out your view of all the amazing sites the night sky has to offer.

Taking time to appreciate the night sky when you’re sitting around a fire enjoying fresh air is a great way to pass some time. You can try and point out any constellations if you know any. Or, you can just try and make your own.

S’mores it Up

When you are through with scanning the sky for stars, planets, and UFOs, it might be time to enjoy a traditional campfire snack. That snack is of course s’mores.

If you have been living under a rock and have no clue what s’mores are, they are maybe the most delicious dessert known to human kind. They are rather simple to make and only consist of three ingredients: graham crackers, marshmallow, and chocolate.

All you need to do is place the chocolate and marshmallow in between two graham crackers like a sandwich. Then, roast it over your campfire until the marshmallow starts to soften and melt.

The hardest part is to remember packing the ingredients before you leave for your camping trip.

Get Ghosting

Last but certainly not least, after you spent some time admiring the heavens and then took care of your sweet tooth with some s’mores, it’s time for the traditional campfire ghost stories. Again, this is not a novel concept, but it’s tried and true and never fails.

There’s just something about being outdoors along with the flickering light from your fire that sets the perfect ambiance for some ghostly tales. You can of course make them age appropriate, so if you are with your family and there are younger children present, you can Disney them up, but if it’s all adults, feel free to go as deep and dark as you can.

If you aren’t a super creative person, you will probably want to prepare beforehand. But don’t fret, there are tons of great ghost stories for when sitting by a campfire available all over the web.

In Summary

Some of the best campfire activities for when you are spending time camping with your family or friends are the same ones that people have been enjoying for decades. They make use of your natural surroundings as well as the fire itself, and are all things that don’t really work the same anywhere else.

There’s nothing complicated about any of the above activities. Just make sure you do some planning so you have everything you need to make them successful.

Happy trails!

Filed Under: Blog

Popular Chainsaws

A recurring theme here at A&A is our love for manual tools. We love anything that require you to put in a little elbow grease to use properly. It must be the primal nature of it that makes it all so appealing.

But, there’s a time and place for manual tools, and there’s a time and place for when using technological advancements like the combustion engine makes the most sense. When you need to cut down a lot of trees on a short amount a time, and axe might not do it. You’ll probably go the chainsaw route.

However, just like all the tools we cover here, choosing a chainsaw that’s best for you requires a bit of legwork. We’ve tried to do most of that legwork for you below.