The Ames True Temper Landscaping Axe could be considered the civilian version of the Pulaski Firefighting Tool used by smoke jumpers and other wilderness workers to clear trails and firebreaks. The model used by the U.S. Forest Service is heavier than the Ames, but this lighter version for home and farm still does the hard jobs of clearing brush and grubbing stumps better than any other hand tool.
The Ames pulaski axe shouldn’t be considered a digging pick. Both blades of the axe head are tempered steel, one used as a chopping axe and the other used more like a hoe or adz. Cutting and chopping is the purpose of the pulaski, and if you do use the adz end of it as a pry bar, you may snap it off. Tempered steel doesn’t bend very far.
Lightweight garden tools like mattocks work well enough for breaking up last year’s garden, but when you’re digging out saplings, you need something better. The Ames pulaski is built for bigger things than a few feeder roots sneaking under the fence. Chop the trunk down with the axe blade and use the other to attack the roots. Save the adz for chopping in the dirt, if possible, because dirt and rocks will quickly wreck the edge. Sometimes there’s no other choice but to use the axe blade on roots, but try to clean them off first. Expect to sharpen the pulaski frequently if your work goes below ground level.
The high carbon steel pulaski axe head of the Ames True Temper Landscaping Axe weighs 3-3/4 pounds — a heavy tool by homeowner standards but lighter than the professional model. The full-sized 36-inch American hickory handle provides plenty of power.
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