Post updated: 26 Feb 2023
A double bladed axe is known as a Double Bit axe. These have been around for centuries as weapons, but in the 1800’s they were the preferred tool of lumberjacks.
Back in the days before power tools, these axes were extremely common due to their versatility in the field. If you look back at old logging photos, they all used double bit axes.
One edge of the axe was used for tasks such as chopping up large roots through the soil or dealing with heavily knotted wood and the other was used for cutting down trees and thick limbs or branches.
The dual function of a double bit axe meant that many different tasks could be accomplished with a single tool. Alternately, the same edge could be put on both sides to enable the user to chop for twice as long before sharpening.
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Straight to the point – What is a double-bladed axe used for?
The double bit axe has two cutting edges that can be tailored to the users preference. One edge can be finely honed to perform intricate cutting and chopping tasks while the other may be used for rougher jobs such as grubbing or wood splitting.
Advantages of a double bladed axe [Infographic]
What is the purpose of a double bit axe?
With two blades that can be tailored to suit a variety of tasks, a double bit axe is an extremely versatile tool. It can be used for precise chopping of trees and branches, and also deal with the nasty stuff like hacking up stubborn roots and splitting knotted, gnarly logs – all with a single cutting tool.
Are double bit axes dangerous?
Obviously having an axe with two cutting edges kind of doubles the risk of hurting yourself. If you have ever used an axe to chop or split wood, you’ll know that regardless of how careful you are, s*** happens! With a double bit axe, you need to be extra careful.
With axes, always choose the right tool for the right joba sensible person!
Splitting wood with the dull edge of a double bit axe means that the sharp end is pointing towards your face, so any bounceback is gonna end in trouble. You should also always place the log to be split at the far end of the chopping block so if you miss, the blade will sink into the block rather than head towards your legs.
What if my double bit axe gets stuck when splitting wood?
You certainly CAN use a double bit axe for splitting, but what happens when it gets stuck? The poll on the other side of a single bit axe can be used as a wedge in these circumstances – a few hard swings with a sledgehammer should be enough to free your axe.
With a double bit axe, you’ll need to use a couple of individual wedges to free your axe. Just hammer a wedge or two into the crack in the wood until your axe comes loose.
Single bit vs double bit axe
Due to the symmetry of a double bit axe, it’s an extremely accurate axe for chopping wood. If you’ve tried felling a tree with a single bit axe, you’ll know that where you aim isn’t always where the axe ends up.
A double bit axe has a straight handle and is perfectly weighted making it far easier to chop with accuracy.
A single bit axe is designed to do one job, and the edge will be shaped and honed for that specific purpose whether it be chopping, splitting, hewing, limbing or whatever. Due to this, it’s often necessary to keep more than one axe to cover these different jobs.
The beauty of a double bit axe is it can be used for a variety of jobs, removing the need for an additional axe. However, no single cutting tool will perform every job so it’s always best to choose axes that fit your specific purposes – The right tool for the right job.
What is the best double bit axe?
Obviously there are personal opinions when it comes to what the best axe is, but it’s pretty much accepted that the Helko Werk Hinterland axe is one of the finest double bit axes out there.
The Helko Werk Hinterland axe is handmade in Germany with a 3.5lb C50 carbon steel head and a 30inch American hickory handle. It comes pretty sharp out of the box but depending on your purpose, you can choose to tailor each edge to suit your needs. My article on How to sharpen an axe will assist with this.
At around $230 it’s pretty expensive compared to other double bit axes, but the quality of craftsmanship means that the Helko Werk Hinterland will last a lifetime with proper care.
I always advocate spending a little more up front to get a quality hand made cutting tool rather than making do with a cheaper axe that will only last a couple of years. Plus your friends will envy you when you pull this beast out of the shed!
Related post: Do New Axes Need To Be Sharpened?
Double bit axes certainly have their place in the world of axes. They really come into their own when felling trees and limbing sturdy branches due to the accuracy that a double bit axe provides.
Having a razor-sharp edge of one side will make short work of the biggest chopping jobs and the dull edge on the other side is ideal for chopping up large roots through the soil.
Although probably not the BEST tool for log splitting – there are certainly safer options out there – many people swear by the double bit axe for this purpose. As with any axe, once you are comfortable with it, it becomes easier to use.