top of page

Axe Terminology

A continually growing list of terminology pertinent to the study of axes.

Axe Terminology


Acid Etched - Etching or marking an axe head or other tool by the use of acid.

Adze – An edged tool with a cutting-edge perpendicular to the handle used for
trimming wood into a flat shape.

Adze Eye – A slip fit eye structure in which the top of the eye is larger than the bottom, but in which the lateral sides are symmetrical.

American Axe - Typically noted as axes with weighted polls. May also refer to the style of tapered eye that is typical of axes made in the United States.

Asphalt Axe – An enlarged, thick bit axe produced for the reasons of breaking up asphalt or for road work.

Axe – A striking tool with a metal tool with at least one blade. Generally noted with single or double wedge-shaped dimensions on the head, with an elongated handle for swinging with two hands.

Axeman - A person who uses an axe professionally. May also carry over to those who collect, manufacture, or associate themselves with axes.

Axemann – A hamlet in Pennsylvania where members of the Mann family built a factory. Originally
noted as “Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania”.


Bag Axe: Another name for a small hatchet or saddle axe that can be kept in a saddle bag, backpack, or carrying bag.

Balloon Pattern: An alternate name for a Cedar Pattern Axe.

Bark Spud – A tool used for stripping bark from a log.

Beard – The underside edge of the head between the handle and the heel.

Bearded Axe - An axe that has an extended bit that lowers the heel significantly down along the length
of the handle.

Belly – The front side of the upper portion of the handle.

Belt Axe – Another name for a small hatchet that is designed to be carried on the waist, either stuck under a belt or by a belt attached sheath.

Bevels – Changes in the lateral angles of the bit and/or cheek.

Billhook – A type of edged tool used widely in agriculture and forestry for cutting woody material such as shrubs, small trees and branches.

Biscayan Axe - A type of trade axe with short bits and no poll originally made in Northern Spain and used by the Spanish and French as trade axes.

Bit – The cutting edge of the axe or other striking tool.

Blacksmith – A person who forges, repairs, or makes tool from iron or another metal.

Blade – Generally refers to the combination of the cheeks and bit of an axe or edge tool.

Blazer’s axe – A small double bit axe used for marking trees.

Bloom – In iron manufacturing, this can refer to a bar of steel prepared for rolling, a crude pile of wrought iron or simply a mass of metal that has recently been produced

Bloomery - The furnace where wrought iron in the form of blooms is made directly from iron ore.

Blue Gum - One type of wood used for axe handles in Tasmania and other parts of Australia.

Bog Axe – Also known as a sod axe or peat axe. These large bitted axes were used for cutting blocks of peat to use as fuel.

Bog Ore – Iron rich ore that is the product of iron sedimentation out of water. Typically found near swamps and rivers, such as in the Ohio-Cumberland delta of western Kentucky.

Bolt (of wood) – A wedge shaped portion separated from a log after splitting.

Boom Dog – A spiked iron wedge with a ring-shaped protrusion on the end for driving into logs as an attachment point.

Booming Axe - Another name for a rafting axe. Distinguished by the presence of a wide poll that has been hardened. Used for driving in dogs or bolts.

Box - The area between two horizontal saw cuts that, when removed, provides space for a tree to lean. In naval stores, the box is a wedge shaped concavity cut into a pine for the collection of sap.

Box(ing) Axe - A long-bitted axe similar to a mortise axe used to cut the box related to the turpentine gathering process.

Boy’s Axe – A smaller axe that has a shorter than normal handle and a head that typically weighs between 2 and 2.5 pounds.

Brand - An identifying name that associates a product with a specific company.

Branding Axe - A single bit axe with a raised symbol extending from the poll. The poll stamp would be used to mark logs or trees for identifying at a later time.

Broad Axe – An axe in which the length of the bit is significantly longer than the length of the poll.

Broad Hatchet – Similar to a Broad Axe but smaller in overall size (less than a 2-pound head) whereas the length of the bot is significantly larger than the length of the poll.

Bronzing – The act of coloring an axe head or a portion of that head with paint containing bronzing powders or bronze flakes.

Bucking - Laterally cutting previously felled trees of logs into shorter sections

Bull Axe - Also known as a blood or butchering axe, these axes have an extension on the poll for striking the skull of an animal during the slaughtering process.

Bumping - The process of removing limb ends and stubs from felled trees.

Bus Axe – Similar to a Fire Axe, bus axes have a spike on the poll. However, they are generally on a
shorter handle and have a head weight of 3 pounds or less. These were placed on buses in
case of fire or roll overs.

Bush Axe - A broad, bladed, edged tool on a long handle that is used for hacking brush, limbs and under growth. The head is narrow and elongated and may have a blade on one or both sides.

Burst The Chip – A phrase referring to the dynamic movement of the “chip”, or the cut free portion of wood, from the cut pocket on the down swing of an axe.

Butchering Axe - Also known as a blood or bull axe, these axes have an extension on the poll for striking the skull of an animal during the slaughtering process.

Butt – Another name for the poll, or back end, of the axe.


Cheek – The lateral sides of the head of the axe.

Cruiser – A lightweight double bit axe characterized by a 2.5 pound head and a shorter than normal handle.

Eye – The insertion area for the handle into the head.

Fawn’s Foot or Fawnfoot – One style of knob for an axe handle.

Haft – Another name for the handle of an axe.

Hatchet – A small axe made to be used with one hand, generally with a head weight of less than 1.5 pounds.

Heel – The lower point on the bit of an axe, closest to the handle.

Hewing Axe – An axe that is typically beveled to one side; used for hewing logs into usable timbers.

Knob – The bottom portion of the handle, furthest away from the head.

Poll – The back end of the head of an axe, characterized by additional metal and weight.

Saddle Cruiser – A hatchet sized double bit axe. Smaller than a standard cruiser.

Shoulder – The lip of the axe handle generally just below the poll of the axe.

Throat – The bottom of the axe handle, above the knob but below the belly.

Toe – The top end of the bot of the axe, farthest from the handle.

bottom of page