The Balanced Axe

Discussion in 'Baryonyx Knife Co.' started by FortyTwoBlades, Dec 17, 2016.

  1. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1,419
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    A primer on one of the less understood (yet often mentioned) aspects of axe and tool design. The concepts laid out here apply to pretty much all hand tools, but because it's so commonly discussed in reference to axes, they're what's used as the focus of the topic.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. charles philbin

    charles philbin Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Michigan
    First I have to start with my basic understanding of axes does not extend much past using them and not injuring myself. I do have a question about the axes illustrated in the picture. The blade angle on the middle axe looks to be off. This is to say that the axes on the ends would impact wood in the center of the blade, but the middle axe would impact on the top 1/3 of the blade. The middle axe to my untrained eye when displayed like this just does not look right, but mabey this is not an issue in actual use. The axe on the right looks like a chopping monster!!!

    Thanks
     
  3. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1,419
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    The presentation of the middle axe, an Italian "Calabria" pattern, is fairly closed, but this can be accounted for easily in the stroke. :)
     
  4. Theodore

    Theodore Member

    Messages:
    1,575
    Likes Received:
    2,520
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    You shouldnt have to make adjustments for poor balance or bad handles of tools. Or re hang. I would like to see you use actual pictures dropping a plumb line on some American axes.(I have seen the pics of you with the german made axe. I question the placement on center of the line. You were off center. And the "green dot" in the illistration was still touching the handle.) I checked three this morning. One I just rehandled. A cheap hardware store axe. And a boys axe. All of them had the "green dot" inside the handle. I think you have greatly exaggerated the balance point of an American felling axe to promote the point you are trying to make.
    All axes are not balanced. All axes have a balance point. Big difference. As the term is used in conversation.
    Cheeeks hitting on deep cuts is an issue? As compared to a huge round eye of a slip on style axe? We stopped using the slip round eyes because they were the cause of the problem. When you start felling large trees the entire axe head has to enter the cut. An "extra long blade" will not solve the issue. The same as bucking. That is why competition axes look the way they do.
    You will find once you adjust the bend in the handle to make up for the extremely unbalanced head that as you hit and experience glances or twist the extreem belly you created is going to present a whole list of problems.
    This article is kind of like arguing why the square wheel would have been as good or better than the round one.
    I highly doubt and would love someone to try and prove me wrong but a straight handled double bit felling axe will not be matched felling by one of these large old style polless axes. Nor will any decent single bit with a poll.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  5. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1,419
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    St
    Still waiting for a photo of any of your axes...Post a photo of one including a piece of paper with "FortyTwoBlades is wrong" and I'll believe you actually own one...

    There's SO much wrong with the above it's not even funny. Again, you've never even laid hands on one of the poll-less axes used as examples in the article. We've already gone over this, so kindly butt out until you put up. Consider this an informal warning.
     
  6. Theodore

    Theodore Member

    Messages:
    1,575
    Likes Received:
    2,520
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    Are you threatening me because I am calling you wrong? I have posted several pictures of my axes. As I said before I am not the only person who disagreed with your "theory" . I believe Bernie Weisgerber himself took issue with it. That would be the man who literally wrote the book.
     
  7. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1,419
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    Not threatening, just saying to watch it because we've gone down this road already. And yes, I'll happily argue with Bernie any day of the week. The man is a legend, and skilled with using and maintaining axes, but his history is ripped from one source of dubious authority and we're dealing with physics here. By all means, ask any mechanical engineer and they can confirm the principles I'm discussing in the article. Your home washing machine even uses those principles to help minimize vibration while operating.
     
  8. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1,419
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    You may find this helpful...
     
  9. Theodore

    Theodore Member

    Messages:
    1,575
    Likes Received:
    2,520
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    Conformation of principles does not equal correct application. Start at the beginning. I claim the graphics you post of a plumb line being held on an american axe is not representative of reality. I believe you have exaggerated the example. The only actual picture of you doing this is with a german made "American felling axe". You were holding the string off center. It was still touching handle. And as anyone who has ever worked for a living in Maine knows, what you are off at the top you are off at the bottom. The line running directly down the handle into the head throws a huge wrench at you. As far as you "arguing with Bernie" those with decades of experience disagree with what you claim. You have made the claims against the norm. For quite some time. Yet other than on paper you have not done anything to back your claims. Why?
    It would seem you are trying to claim you have some insight at what your late 20s? That the entire U.S axe manufacturing and costomer base didnt the entire time they were using an axe to harvest wood in the U.S. You seem to think you have some information that Gransfors Bruks does not have. One would think if you believed what you are saying some practical application would be in order.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  10. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1,419
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    This video explains the concepts of rotational imbalance succinctly, but there is a third possible way to balance the wheel: by changing the axis of rotation. For machinery this is usually impractical, but in the case of hand tools, it's often quite feasible. In the case of American axes they do so by adding weight to the poll until the handle is on, or nearly on, the axis of rotation. In the case of poll-less axes the handle may be offset to bring it along that same axis.
     
  11. Theodore

    Theodore Member

    Messages:
    1,575
    Likes Received:
    2,520
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    You seem to be failing to understand the entirety of what goes on with an axe. Accuracy and the strike are also very important. Speed wobble is only one part of inaccuracy. The perfectly balanced axe is the double bit on its straight handle. Also agreed to be the most accurate by those that use them. And once you put an agressive bend in a handle things become amplified. As I have pointed out the handle you proposed is not going to be makeable on large scale. It would need to be split quartered and steam bent to avoid cut grain and runnoff. You are running into wall after wall trying to somehow show that what has proved to be inferior and/or unfeasible while in actual use is somehow on equil footing with what evolved from it. You will need to provide a tool that requies no user adjustment and provides equal performance. You are proposing adjusting human use and the handle to extreems all to justify using an unbalanced head. And as far as I can see you have not provided any beneficial reason to use that head that makes a difference in actual use.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  12. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1,419
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    The article isn't a "this is better than that" argument. It's explaining the dynamics in axe design and the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches. I do not make a case for one being superior to the other, and in fact would argue against such an assertion. You are imagining an argument that does not exist. And you have no idea of how such axes perform in actual use, so it's pure conjecture on your part. You're taking the individual axes as whole units rather than isolating individual variables and specifically debating matters of balance. It would be possible to make, for instance, an axe that was identical to a standard Michigan pattern American axe but with the eye at the rear. And it would be possible to make a handle for it that would put the primary length of the handle along a unified axis. The purpose of having the eye at the rear is to either enable a deeper bit for a given head weight, and/or to enable a thinner overall geometry for a given eye dimension.
     
  13. Theodore

    Theodore Member

    Messages:
    1,575
    Likes Received:
    2,520
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    [​IMG]
    As i said, I think you have misrepresented the balance of the Americqn felling axe. The cord is taped at the center of the handle at the center of my rear hand placement on swing. I had a lot to say in response to you but I will wait. You have presented an arguement that starts out with what would apear to be intentionally flawed evidence.

    Here is another[​IMG]
    I can do this with every axe I have. Full and boys axes.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  14. Theodore

    Theodore Member

    Messages:
    1,575
    Likes Received:
    2,520
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    You are trying to offer a solution to a problem that does not exist? Can you provide specific examples of how how a current modern axe with a poll does not meet that need? (Or a double bit) Where is this demand for a long huge bit. A little education on force and area and resistance will explain why no one is screaming for a dane axe to chop trees lol.
     
  15. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1,419
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    Did I say I was trying to solve a problem? Nope. Just explaining a dynamic. And your photos of your plumb lines just demonstrate my point regarding polled axes...the very purpose of them is to simplify the process of handle manufacture because it inherently places the handle along a unified axis and so eliminates the need for deep curvature and either minimizes or eliminates the need for an offset neck.

    Regarding force/area/resistance:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Note that by the "long felling axe" it's referencing the very narrow, deep style of felling axe that was at that time being used in the UK.
     
  16. Theodore

    Theodore Member

    Messages:
    1,575
    Likes Received:
    2,520
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    My photos demonstate that you are using false information. From the start of your paper.
     
  17. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1,419
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    How so? Not all axes balance the same, and many American examples, both new and vintage, don't have the center of gravity in the middle of the eye. Most I come across tend to have the CoG about 1/4" inside the front of the eye. Your photos just show where the axle is on the tool when using that grip point, and because it follows the handle you won't experience a change in the orientation of the axle when changing grip points or when two hands are simultaneously applying force to the handle. It's a blatant demonstration of the very principles I discuss in the article.
     
  18. Theodore

    Theodore Member

    Messages:
    1,575
    Likes Received:
    2,520
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    As I said to begin with, I have only seen one photograph of you actually dropping a plumb line on an "American" axe. It was of German manufacturer. From that photograph I would say You were holding the plumb line off center. I can post the picture if you like. I would say you are manipulating the evidence. Kind of throws your speed wobble counter arguement in the trash. And your statement about how American axe handle could be benefiting from more extreem angles is obviously false and not based in fact. Unless you are talking about axes that are not traditionally hung....nah.
    One could argue that the ever so slight difference between my pics and what a double bit would look like(right down the middle straight handle) causes a noticable difference in accuracy. Than to go to the extreem off balance that the large blade polless axe is and add a more extremely curved handle would greatly reduce accuracy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  19. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1,419
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    Not holding it off center in that case, and I can drop lines from American axes if you'd like, but it doesn't change the principles in play. You're using the very same principles that I describe in the article...to attempt to prove that my statements are wrong? :p
     
  20. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    878
    Likes Received:
    1,419
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Maine
    I didn't say that ALL American axes should have more offset necks. Just that many could benefit from it. It has to be done on an axe-by-axe basis because the handle has to be matched to the balance of the particular head.
     

Share This Page