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


An ax is one of the most ancient tools ever created and used by mankind. Even though a chainsaw is used by people worldwide, an ax is still the best choice when performing specific tasks. Depending on the complexity of the task and the productivity, a chainsaw might come in handy as it is much more advanced in sawing difficult wood types. Therefore, if you’re searching online as to what sort of tool best suits your job, then you might have come to the right place.

There are several reasons why you should use a chainsaw:

  • A chainsaw is efficient in large-scale projects as it requires less physical effort.
  • In addition, 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 ax because it is a manual tool.
  • However, it is an excellent chopping and splitting tool.
  • It is environmentally friendly.
  • It does not need a lot of maintenance
  • It is always ready
  • It is much cheaper and does not need gas
  • The best way to use an ax is at a slight angle with the grain. So, when you are cutting along the grain, it is wiser to use an ax 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 attached to a chain that rotates around a guide bar. A chainsaw is used to do things such as pruning, tree felling, bucking, harvesting of firewood, climbing, 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 with a round end of wear-resistant steel typically 40 cm to 90 cm long. The bar has an edge slot that 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:

  • Safety: It does not move when the chain is stopped.
  • Protection: 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,
  • Prevents kickbacks: The clutch protects the operator from any unexpected kickback.

● Safety Bar:

The safety bars are laminated bars that 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 that 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 ax is an ancient tool used by humans to cut trees and to collect wood. An ax is a straightforward tool capable of doing many things if it is used properly. An ax is mainly built of two parts which are an ax head and ax haft.

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

● Axe Head:

The ax 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 ax head, many different kinds of ax heads are used globally, which have bits at both sides. In addition, the ax head has many components such as the cheek, the eye, the poll/butt, the beard, the heel, the shoulder. These components altogether create an ax 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. In addition, 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 Ax 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.

Part
Chainsaw
Ax
Head
There 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.
Haft
There is no specific part named haft in a chainsaw.
The haft is the wooden handle that is used to hold an ax. The haft can be made up of different materials and lengths depending on the type of the ax.
Engine
Chainsaws 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 ax is a completely manual tool without any mechanical elements.
Safety bars
There are laminated safety bars in chainsaws which help to reduce the kickbacksand absorb the shockwaves.
An ax does not have any safety bars or any kind of safety equipment.
Cutting chain
The chainsaw has a rotating chain which has sharp teeth that are closely arranged together to cut objects.
An ax is a completely manual tool without any mechanical elements.
Tension mechanism
One 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 ax 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 ax. 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 physical health.

An ax is the best tool for cutting straight through the wooden logs when 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 of 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?’

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