top of page


Boxing Pattern

The standard Boxing Axe, also known as the Turpentine Axe, is almost unmistakable, and is generally only confused with some forms of mortise axes. The standard head weight is between 4 and 8 pounds, though examples weighing up to 12 pounds have been noted. The poll generally has significant mass and may be flat or curved. The pattern exhibits lugs, generally pointed, but occasionally round. The cheeks are elongated and are generally more than 7” in length. The bit is generally narrow compared to the length of the head and has a rounded toe and heel.    

The Boxing axe was not used for making “Boxes” in the form of crates or containers, but rather used for forming a “Box” in the trunk of a Pine or other sap bearing tree. The box was an inclined concavity into the trunk of the tree, into which sap was directed. The sap was collected from this box and made into rosin, turpentine and tar. The elongated blade and rounded bit allowed for the cutting of the box without breaking the edges of its shape, drilling into the tree without breaking the circumference of the trunk itself. A sharp toe and heel would have allowed glancing blows to chip the edges and form holes that the sap could escape through.

The figure used in this representation was taken from the American Axe and Tool Company's catalog from 1912.

(As always, please remember that there is significant variance in the patterns made by different manufacturers, and this description is merely a guide for assistance in identification.)

In the picture below, the man is using a boxing axe to form the "Box" at the base of the Pine.

bottom of page