Is It Ever Better To Use an Axe Over A Chainsaw?

Approx Reading Time: 8 minutes

An axe is one of the most ancient tools ever created and used by mankind. Even though a chainsaw is used by people all over the world, an axe still is the best choice when performing some specific tasks.

There are several reasons why you should use a chainsaw:

  • A chainsaw is efficient in large scale projects as it requires less physical effort.
  • A chainsaw is fast and gives instant results.
  • A chainsaw is primarily used for crosscutting logs and chopping trees.
  • The main advantage of using a chainsaw is that its cutting power comes from its motor.

There are things that an axe does better than a chainsaw.

  • Some people prefer to use an axe because it is a manual tool.
  • It is a really good chopping and splitting tool.
  • It is environmentally friendly.
  • Is does not need a lot of maintenance
  • It is always ready
  • Is much cheaper and does not need gas
  • The best way to use an axe is at a slight angle with the grain. So, when you are cutting along the grain, it is wiser to use an axe instead of a chainsaw.
Is It Ever Better To Use an Axe Over A Chainsaw? 1

I will now discuss both of these tools in detail. Let us find out the detailed differences.

The Anatomy of a Chainsaw

A chainsaw is an automated portable machine that cuts with a set of blades that are attached to a chain which rotates around a guide bar. A chainsaw is used to do things such as pruning, tree felling, bucking, harvesting of firewood, limbing and much more. The tool first came around 1830.

Later on, it was modified several times. The chainsaw consists of different components, all of which together create the machine. These components include;

● Engine

Chainsaw engines are normally two-stroke gasoline internal combustion engines. It has an electric motor which is either powered by a battery or an electric outlet. The carburetor runs its internal combustion engine.

When using the traditional carburetor, it has to be adjusted by the user. If the carburetor vibrates a lot, you may feel exhausted quickly. You can reduce this problem by de-vibrating the carburetor of your chainsaw. The carburetor can also get overheated.

● Guide Bar

The guide bar is an elongated bar that has a round end of wear-resistant steel which is typically 40 cm to 90 cm long. The bar has an edge slot which guides the cutting chain. The loop style bar which is called the bow bars were once used.

The guide bar controls the path of the cutting chain and it keeps the chain intact with the machine so that it does not fall out and cause grave injuries.

● Drive Mechanism

The drive mechanism is made typically out of a centrifugal clutch and a sprocket. The clutch expands depending on the speed of your chainsaw. There are mainly three purposes that the clutch serves:

  • it does not move when the chain is stopped.
  • When the clutch is at work and the chain for some reason stops in the wood, the clutch protects the engine of your chainsaw. And finally,
  • the clutch protects the operator from any unexpected kickback.

● Safety Bar

The safety bars are laminated bars which have small sprockets at their nose. These small noses help to reduce kickback while engaged. The safety bar also helps in absorbing the vibrations and reduces strain while you are working.

● Cutting Chain

The cutting chain is made out of small teeth. These teeth are the main components which help chainsaws to cut anything. The cutting chain constantly rotates and the teeth help to cut anything that they come across.

The cutting chain is attached to the guide bar which keeps on rotating the chain.

● Tensioning Mechanism

The tensioning mechanism allows the user to be more careful while he/she works, by adjusting the level of tension in the cutting chain so that the chain does not accidentally bend or come off the guide bar. It is controlled either by turning a screw or a manual wheel.

The chainsaw has many crucial parts, but these parts listed above are some of the primary components that most chainsaws have.

The Anatomy of an axe

An axe is an ancient tool used by humans to cut trees and to collect wood. An axe is a really simple tool capable of doing many things if it is used properly. An axe is mainly built of two parts which are an axe head and axe haft.

These two parts also have their subparts. Let us read some more detail about them now.

● Axe Head

The axe head is traditionally bound by the bit (which is the blade) at one end and the poll (also known as the butt) at the other end. Even though this is the most common and traditionally used type of axe head, there are many different kinds of axe heads used globally which have bits at both sides. The axe head has many components such as the cheek, the eye, the poll/butt, the beard, the heel, the shoulder. These components altogether create an axe head.          

● Axe haft

Axe haft is also called the handle. The handle was traditionally made out of wood. But there are many kinds of hafts which have steel or other materials used in them.

The wooden haft is the most efficient one as it absorbs the shock and vibrations completely. Different axes have hafts with different lengths. The haft has different parts which are the belly, the throat, the grip and the knob.

These components altogether form the haft, also commonly known as the handle.

The chainsaw and axe compared

I have explained the detailed anatomy of both chainsaws and axes above. You have now learned the details about these tools and know the appropriate use of them. Along with that, for anybody who does not have the patience to read all that stuff, here is a quick list of the parts below.

Take a quick look at it and you can easily understand the parts of these tools.

PartChainsawAxe
HeadThere is no specific part named head in a chainsaw.Head is the part which holds the blade that is used to cut wood. There are different types of axes based on the type of head they have.
HaftThere is no specific part named haft in a chainsaw.The haft is the wooden handle that is used to hold an axe. The haft can be made up of different materials and lengths depending on the type of the axe.
EngineChainsaws traditionally have two types of engines which they run on. It is either a two-stroke gasoline internal combustion engine or an electric motor run by a battery.An axe is a completely manual tool without any mechanical elements.
Safety barsThere are laminated safety bars in chainsaws which help to reduce the kickbacksand absorb the shockwaves.An axe does not have any safety bars or any kind of safety equipment.
Cutting chainThe chainsaw has a rotating chain which has sharp teeth that are closely arranged together to cut objects.An axe is a completely manual tool without any mechanical elements.
Tension mechanismOne of the good things about chainsaws is the tension mechanism. It allows the user to adjust the tension in the cutting chain so that it does not bend or come loose.An axe is a completely manual tool without any mechanical elements.

I hope you have already understood the proper differences between the use of a chainsaw and an axe. I have given a detailed discussion above, between the two tools. Now that you know their details you can easily choose the type of tool depending on your needs, situation, budget, climate, and your physical health.

An axe is the best tool for cutting straight through the wooden logs when you are working along the grain. But when you are working against or across the grain, it is much better and even safer to use a chainsaw because it will need a minimum effort and time.

Final Thoughts

I am a professional who has worked as a lumberjack for a hobby. I have tried to tell you everything as thoroughly as possible. I have first introduced the two tools upon which the entire discussion is based on.

I have explained what the tools are and also the details of the components they have. I hope by reading them carefully and by understanding the tools properly, you now know which tool to use and when. If so, then I’m glad I must have been able to help you answer the question, ‘is it ever better to use an ax over a chainsaw?’