Watch: Steel Axe vs. Stone Axe


Watch: Steel Axe vs. Stone Axe

This Townsends video opens with a discussion of some really old-time technology: stone axes. Stone axes must be more blunt than steel axes, but they don’t stick in the wood because they don’t cut as deeply. The synopsis in the comparison of the two axes in the video is that the stone version is only 30% to 50% as effective as the steel one.

The type of stone used to make stone axes will of course depend on what was locally available. Gotta work with what you have.

If you wonder (as I did) why the handle doesn’t split, it’s because the stone axe head isn’t touching on the sides… just the top and bottom. So with each strike of the axe, the head stretches the wood lengthwise rather than forcing the grain apart sideways. Cool!

In a side-by-side demonstration, we see that the stone axe does okay, but naturally the steel one cuts faster. But the stone axe guy does say that his stone axe works very well for peeling bark, and describes the process, which uses the wedged top end of the handle to separate the bark from a tree.

These days, you can probably find materials to make something better than a stone axe, what with all the old bits of steel littering our planet… but it’s interesting to learn how the REAL old-timers did it, and to know that if it came down to it, so could we.


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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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