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DesBrisay Museum

Axe


Accession number: X.14.5
Category: Woodworking T&E
Object type: Felling
Date: circa 1700
Materials: IRON
Measurements: 19 cm L x 6.6 cm W x 11 cm H
Subject: FRANCE, FORESTRY
Narrative: The felling axe, whose long, curved handle increased its impact upon the tree. The heads of these axes varied regionally in terms of their design, but their functionality was the same. Originally made entirely of a single piece of iron that was folded around a handle-shaped pattern, axes incorporated steel wedges into their heads in the 1700s. Steel was not only more durable that iron, it could be sharpened to a finer edge.  Most 18th-century felling axes were single bit, which means it had a cutting edge on one side and a flat hammer-like head called the poll, or butt, at the other. Double-bit axes had two edges—a sharp one for cutting trees and limbs, and a duller one with a shorter taper for splitting firewood. Significantly, the handles of double-bit axes were straight rather than curved.
Description: AXE COLLAR ROUGHLY TRIANGULAR. BOTTOM EDGE ANGLES UP SHARPLY TO COLLAR FROM SLIGHTLY CURVED CUTTING EDGE. NO HANDLE.
History of Use: USED FOR FELLING A TREE.