What are the Parts of an Axe?

parts of an axe
June 10, 2023

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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