November 9, 2020
What I have been told is that axes of modern manufacture are not as desirable as the old classics. Kelly and Plumb are well regarded old names, but there are plenty of others. The USFS says you want a 4 or 5 pound axe to drive wedges and do work to support bucking with a crosscut saw. Most axe heads I see weigh about 3.5 pounds, so probably this weight includes the handle.
Note that chopping and splitting axes are two different things. A splitting axe will have a more blunt taper so it won't be getting stuck endlessly when splitting like a chopping axe would.
For the kind of thing I do, a two bited axe would not be ideal. I need to use the other side of the axe to drive wedges. On the other hand, the video notes that he uses one side of the double bited axe for "grubbing", chopping roots and such and keeps the other side pristine for chopping.
The Fiskars chopping axe was recommended during my crosscut saw class as a good axe you can simply go out and buy almost anywhere these days. An affordable quality item. The synthetic handle is more durable, but also transmits more shock to the user, so you have the usual tradeoff.
Gransfors Bruk makes spectacular axes and hatchets. They are in Sweden. There is only one bad thing and that is they are very expensive.
Putting a head on a handle is called "hanging" an axe head. There are many ways to do this. Metal wedges seem to be poorly regarded. One tip is to leave about 3/16 of an inch of wood above the head, don't cut it nice and flush.
I bought my axe handles from "House Handle", specifying unlaquered wood and a select handle. One nice thing is a selection of lengths (I chose a 32 inch handle). Handles at my local big box store were all 36 inch (and lacquered).
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