Saturday, 23 July 2016

Axe Safety

The axe is a fantastic tool and one that needs to be mastered if you are serious about your bushcraft.  Consequently, I’ve written a couple of posts lately around using an axe, such as this one on cross cutting and this one on splitting a log.  So I thought I should probably put a few tips together on axe safety.

  • Put the mask on your axe when you’re not using it (this means no swinging your axe into a stump when not in use).
  • Inspect the handle for nicks or cracks or other damage.
  • Make sure that the head is attached securely to the handle and that it doesn’t wiggle about.
  • Check that the handle, and your hands, are clean and dry and free from anything slippy.
  • Remember that the closer to the head you hold the axe, the more control you have; the closer to the end of the handle, the more power you have.  So hold the handle according to the task you are undertaking.
  • If you’re swinging the axe, make sure that there are no overhanging branches, ropes or other obstructions that you could catch your axe on.
  • Make sure that no one is within 5m.
  • If splitting, use a firm and stable surface, such as a level stump.  Don’t chop into the ground.
  • When splitting on a stump, place the log furthest away on the stump.
  • Never cut a log leaning against an uneven surface.
  • Keep the chopping area clean and free of debris.
  • After chopping one log, stack the pieces to the side before beginning again with a new log.
  • Check that the log doesn’t contain material such as old nails or spikes.
  • If splitting small logs, consider using a ‘sissy’ stick.
  • Always stop when feeling tired.
  • Only use an axe after dark in an emergency.
  • Carry your axe cradled upside down in your hand with your arm by your side.

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