Basics - Ax safety

You'll have more fun in the woods when you're healthy
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Bram van Munster
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Basics - Ax safety

Post by Bram van Munster » Sun Sep 29, 2019 12:35 pm

Yesterday I've been talking about basic tool safety, and I got the idea the parts about the ax and guns got the most interest. Now as my knowledge about guns is very limited (they're illegal in my country), I'm going to let the experts handle that area, but I dang sure do know about sharp edges!

All my tools are shaving sharp. That makes the amount of energy you have to use to get the job done a lot lower, you can do finer work, and let's be honest, a blunt ax will never get a big tree down in the desired speed or even hurt / injure you. Deformed, blunt or damaged edges make sure you have to use too much force on the tool and that is - of course - a recipe for disaster. It is so easy to injure yourself, even with a blunt tool, we're going to address that today.

Using an ax can be dangerous. You can cut into yourself with one missed swing, you can hurt your arms when you're not swinging right, the ax can bounce back and into your face, so ALWAYS be very aware of the possible danger.

Keep all people well away from your bloodcircle. This is the area around you where in you can hurt other people or animals. If you have a dog with you that is wandering around, know where it is at ALL times. Playful dogs can throw you off balance, or try to steal the log you're swinging at. They can also get hit by flying chips of wood or logs that suddenly fly off your workstation or chopping log.

Kneel down if there are any chances of you following through with your swing and cutting into your leg.

Use gloves for extra grip, especially in wet conditions. You do NOT want the ax to escape as you swing it.

Use goggles when the type of wood you want to cut can send chips flying into your eyes. Dry wood tends to do this more than fresh wood.

Do NOT use axes with loose heads or heavily damaged handles!

After using an ax or other sharp tool, "disarm it" by putting it back in the sleeve or cover. Do not drive it in your chopping block, as you will damage it over time.

To make this a bit more clear: here's a video that shows some of the basics of using an ax.

All edged tools you use will get blunt over time. Sharpening one can be difficult. The thinner the blade, the harder it is to get it shaving sharp. With thicker blades, finding the right angle is a lot easier. Learn that, and getting thinner blades like folders to the desired sharpness is a lot easier all of a sudden.

In this next video, you'll see the same guy that was in the 1st video, but this time he's sharpening his small ax while in the wild. This proves how easy it is, and how easy it is to find the right angle.

Stay safe out there folks. Take care of your gear, and it will take care of you, especially when you need it most...

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