Axes and Axe Safety


Axe Head
All Helko axes are forged from C45 High Grade Carbon Steel, with a Rockwell hardness of approximately 53-56HRC.

Axe Handle
There is a small variety of wood suitable for axe handles. Hickory is the most common, being hard and dense, but with exceptional flexing strength. Other common choices apart from hickory include Black Locust, Hop-Hornbeam, White Ash, White Oak, Sugar Maple, and Fiberglass.

Cutting Axe
An axe with a blade that features a shallow wedge angle, and is designed to be used for cutting, as opposed to splitting.

A process in which a smith controls a drop hammer to shape hot steel, as it falls repeatedly onto it.

Felling Axe
Used to chop down trees by cutting across the grain of the wood.

A polymer manufactured from plastic and reinforced with fine glass fibres.

A small, lightweight axe designed to be used with one hand.

Heat Treated
A process that involves heating or chilling the steel, typically to extreme temperatures, to achieve the desired result such as hardening or softening the metal.

A heavy, long handled sledge hammer with an axe blade on the opposite end of the head. Mauls are commonly used for splitting heavy wood.

Oil Hardened
A process where hot forged steel is quenched in an oil bath to cool and harden the steel. Similar to water-hardening, but less likely to cause small chinks and other minor defects in the metal.

Polyethylene Coating
Applied to fiberglass handles to improve their strength and longevity.

Powder Coating
A paint coating that is electrostatically applied to the metal as a dry powder. Unlike liquid paints, this dry powder coating does not require resins and solvents to form the base. The coating is cured under heat, during which the powder flows into a skin.

Splitting Wedge
A wedge, typically made from steel or aluminium, which is used to split wood. A sledge hammer is required to drive the wedge into the wood.

Turn-Around Hook
A small hook at the bottom of a maul's blade, which is used to turn over a log.

Water Hardened
A process where hot forged steel is quenched in a water bath to cool and harden the steel.


Axe Safety

"Take care of your axe, and it will take care of you"

The Head
Always inspect your axe prior to use, making sure that the head is properly fitted and firmly attached to the handle. Never use an axe with a loose head.

The Handle
Check your handle for any signs of splitting or cracking. If this occurs, replace the handle before using. Maintain your handles over time with a protective coating, such as linseed oil, varnish, or lacquer.

The Edge
Know how to properly hone your axe.  The goal is to keep the edge sharp while maintaining the original bevel. Use a straight edge file or sharpening stone. Grinding wheels should only be used by a professional, as overheating can alter the steel temper.

Storage & Sheath

Store your axe in a clean, dry place. Moisture and over exposure to the elements will cause damage over time. After using your axe, clean and oil down the head. A sheath or edge protector should be used to protect the axe blade when not in use. Thick durable leather is recommended. Ordinary leather polish may be used to keep the sheath in good condition.

Rust Protection
High grade carbon steel is susceptible to rusting over time. Rust can be prevented by painting the axe head or keeping the axe head well oiled. If rusting does occur, use steel wool to remove, and then wipe down with oil.

Proper Technique
When splitting, use a firm and stable chopping surface to reduce the risk of injury. Never split wood against the ground. Take care to avoid striking the handle against logs or other objects, which can happen in the event of a miss swing, and is the leading cause of damaged handles. If your axe blade becomes stuck in a log, rock it back and forth in line with the blade. Never twist side to side, as this may break your handle.

Accidental miss swings and flying debris can cause serious injury to the eyes, feet, and body. Eye protection, steel-toed boots, and proper clothing should always be worn. Spectators should maintain a safe viewing distance. The back side of axes and hatchets (referred to as the "poll" or "butt") should not be used as a striking surface. Never use an axe, maul, or hatchet if you are tired, on medication, or intoxicated.