One of the earliest simple machines invented by man is the axe, whose wedged-shaped blade is actually a dual inclined plane with a handle that acts as a lever. This implement has been used for thousands of years as a weapon and to cut wood for fuel and building shelters.
To help him survive in his harsh environment, prehistoric man fashioned crude axes with heads of stone tied with animal hide to a wooden handle. But as technologies developed, man learned to make more durable axe heads out of metals such as copper, bronze and iron. Today, the modern axe feature hardened carbon steel heads and handles made out of unbreakable materials such as fiberglass. It is important to consider axe dimensions in order to effectively and safely carry out a particular task.
Because an axe is essentially a lever, the striking force of its head is magnified by its handle. In other words, the efficiency of an axe in performing a particular task is not only dependent on the skill and strength of the person who wields it, but on the length of its handle and the weight of its head as well. An axe with too heavy a head needs a great deal of effort to lift it just as too light a head would call for a great deal of effort to swing the axe. Dimensions of this implement must be appropriate and taken into account for the work intended for it.
The head of a camping axe or hatchet, for example, should ideally weigh about 1.5 pounds while a head weighing 2.5 up to 3.5 pounds would be ideal for felling trees. A splitting axe, which is used to split felled trees, has a head of about 4.5 pounds while that of a splitting maul could weigh as much as 5 to 8 pounds.
There is a wide selection of handle lengths for different kinds of axe. Dimensions of these handles would also depend on the feel and capability of the woodsman and the chore at hand. A camping hatchet handle is typically 8 to 14 inches long while the length of the handle of a felling axe ranges from 28 to 36 inches, which is approximately as long as the 36-inch handle of a full axe.
The average length of a scout axe range from 18 to 20 inches. Whatever axe you choose, the usefulness of this tool depends on your familiarity and skill in using it.