The Truper “Do-It” Michigan Pattern axe is what most people see in their imagination when someone says “chopping axe.” This old axe pattern was a favorite on the wagon trains, which were filled with people who knew only a little about frontier life.
The Truper is a standard, modern axe with properly tempered bits and a tougher handle eye. The 3-1/2-pound chopping axe is average in weight with a kiln-dried handle of American hickory that’s fixed in the axe head with the usual double wedge system. The handle will wear out if you miss a lot of strikes, but replacements can be found in nearly any good hardware store. This is all the axe most people will need, since few want to step up to the professional models that compete well with power tools.
In the days before the chainsaw took over the industry, the double-bit axe was considered by professionals to be just a little too dangerous. In the woods, a trip over a root could land the owner on the blade, and if you like to work with axes, you’ll find the balance and efficiency just not quite up to the level of a full-sized single bit axe. Less critical pioneers found it so handy that the double-bit axe is now one of the easiest patterns to find, and still one of the most popular. Do keep the old lumberjack advice in mind and be cautious. One edge always points towards you.
For a lighter axe comfortable for one-handed use but still big enough for real work, see Snow & Nealley’s Best Single Bit Axe.
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