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A very large, single-bevel broadaxe

A broadaxe is a large (broad) headed axe. There are two categories of cutting edge on broadaxes, both are used for shaping logs by hewing. On one type, one side is flat and the other side beveled, a basilled edge, also called a side axe,[1] single bevel, or chisle-edged axe.[2] On the other type, both sides are beveled, sometimes called a double bevel axe, which produces a scalloped cut. On the basilled broadaxe the handle may curve away from the flat side to allow a flush stroke when hewing without injuring one's hand. The flat blade is to make the flat surface but can only be worked from one direction and are right-handed or left-handed. The double bevel axe has a straight handle can be swung with either side against the wood. A double beveled broad axe can be used for chopping or notching and hewing. When used for hewing, a notch is chopped in the side of the log down to a marked line, called scoring. The pieces of wood between these notches are removed with an axe called joggling[3] and then the remaining wood is chopped away to the line.


Broad axes have been used since ancient times until the end of 19th century in North America. Broadaxes were commonly used in manufacture of square timbers for wooden shipbuilding, log building, timber framing, and railroad ties sometimes called axe ties.[4][5] Some broad axes are of a shape where part of the axe is called a beard so the axe is called a long-bearded axe.

Modern uses

Since the introduction of sawmills and modern power tools, the use of this tool is now uncommon in manufacturing but still used in restoration carpentry or undeveloped regions.


See also


  1. Salaman, R. A.. Dictionary of tools used in the woodworking and allied trades, c. 1700-1970. New York: Scribner, 1975. ISBN 0684145359
  2. Mercer, Henry Chapman. Ancient carpenters' tools: together with lumbermen's, joiners' and cabinet makers' tools in use in the eighteenth century. 5th ed. Doylestown, Pa.: Horizon Press, published for the Bucks County Historical Society, 1975. 81.
  3. Foxfire - Volume 19 - Page 246. /books?id=u0bYAAAAMAAJ
  4. Railway age - Volume 110 - Page 982 axe ties
  5. Richard M. Van Gaasbeek. Wooden Boat and Ship Building 2010 edition, reprint. 196