Felling Axe vs Chopping Axe | Which one and Why?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 20, 2021
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Felling axe vs chopping axe can be a tricky duel while deciding which one to use for a particular job and which one will be more efficient. Despite having some similar external structure, a felling axe and a chopping axe have their own set of specialties which makes them ideal for certain kinds of woodwork.

Felling Axe

Felling axe, as the name suggests, specializes in cutting down trees. The mechanism of felling trees with this axe involves the blade of the head making deep cuts into the tree and most importantly across the wood grain. Its head has a blade that is sharp enough to sink deep inside the trunk with every stroke.
You may also like to read – best felling axe.

Chopping Axe

A chopping axe, on the other hand, is used to chop or split woods. Chopping or splitting wood basically means splitting it along with the wood grain. That’s why the chopping axe does not make deep cuts into the grain instead, it tries to split the grain and ultimately split the wood into two smaller pieces.

The Differences

Differentiating between a felling axe and a chopping axe is done based on some criteria. These criteria include everything from build design to the mechanism of the axes while felling trees or chopping wood. Weight The overall weight of a felling axe is around the 4.5 lbs to 6.5 lbs range. But a chopping axe weighs in from around 5 lbs to as high as 7lbs in some axes overall. When it comes to weight distribution, the head of a felling axe normally takes in 3 lbs to 4.5 pounds of the total weight. In the case of chopping axes, the head weighs in around 3.5 lbs to 4.5 lbs. Advantages Due to Variation in Weight The felling axe benefits greatly from the comparatively lower weight than that of the chopping axe for cutting trees. Because cutting trees require somewhat horizontal strokes. Having a heavy axe makes the job difficult for the user. However, the chopping axe’s weight allows the axe to push and split the wood grains apart. That’s why it needs more force and the extra weight gives the axe that advantage. Length Felling axes generally come with a handle that could fit anywhere within the range of 28 inches to 36 inches when it comes to their length. Most chopping axes’ handle are 30inches to 36 inches long. The Handle The handle of a chopping axe is straight in most cases because most of the working is done using the kinetic energy by lifting the axe up. But there is a bit of curve to the handle of a felling axe for better grip while stroking a tree. Heads of The Axes The Head of a felling axe has a sharper blade than that of a chopping axe. The chopping axes’ blade is a bit blunt compared to the former axe. The cheeks of the chopping axe are wide. But the felling axe has got thin cheeks. The butt of the chopping axe is broad and as a result, they have a wedge-shaped head. However, felling axes don’t have a broad butt and their head are not wedge-shaped. The Benefit of Different Type of Head The head of a felling axe is made for penetrating the trunk across the wood grain. Hence, the sharper blade. But a chopping axe’s head is used to split into pieces that do not require much penetration. The wedge shape helps to push the grains apart and split in the middle.


Splitting axes are designed to create smaller chunks by splitting wood fibers apart. This is in contrast to a felling axe, which cuts through those wood fibers. Trust us: you’ll feel extremely frustrated if you attempt to use a felling axe for wood splitting purposes.

What kind of AXE do I need to cut down a tree?

A felling axe is used for chopping logs or trees perpendicular to the grain, but there are two types of felling axe: a rounding axe is used on hardwoods and a wedge axe is used on softwoods. The handle of a felling axe is typically 31 to 36 inches long.

What’s better for splitting wood AXE or maul?

For very large chunks of wood, the splitting maul is a great choice, as its heavier weight will give you additional power. … However, smaller users may find the heavier weight of the maul difficult to swing. For smaller pieces of wood, or splitting around the wood’s edges, a splitting axe is the better choice.

Which one is easier to chop the wood with blunt or sharp AXE?

Answer. Actually area under shape axe is very less as compared to area under blunt axe. Since, less area applies more pressure, so, a sharp knife can easily cut across the trees bark than the blunt knife.

What length AXE should I get?

The standard length for the handle of a felling ax is 36”, but Brett says that’s even too long for most men. Instead, he recommends a 31” handle for your average six-foot-tall male. This length will provide you with both force and control.

What kind of AXE do lumberjacks use?

Husqvarna 26 Husqvarna 26″ Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe Although this is a multi purpose axe, it performs quite well in lumberjack competitions. It’s simple design and versatile uses makes it perfect for different events, including throwing. This axe is a bit on the long side with a slightly lighter head than others on the list.

What is a Michigan AXE used for?

Michigan Axe. This axe is a common shape for felling axes, having originally risen to popularity in the 1860s. It has a curved head, which is ideal for chopping large trees and dense wood types.

What’s the difference between a maul and an AXE?

The axe is designed to cut its way across wood fibers. … The maul is designed to divide a piece of wood in two by forcing the wood fibers apart parallel to the grain. The dull edge exploits a crack between fibers, and the V-shaped head forces the crack apart with continuous pressure.

What is a Michigan AXE?

The Michigan axe is an axe pattern made popular in the US in the late 1860s, and is still used today. It became the Ideal tool to handle felling dense and thick wood. This axe head was created due to a demand for a better tool to handle the dense White Pine in the lumber rich area of Michigan.

Does splitting wood build muscle?

“Chopping wood engages virtually the entire core, including lower and upper back, shoulders, arms, abs, chest, legs and butt (glutes).” … In addition to giving you some serious muscle burn, when you chop wood steadily for long stretches at a time, you are also performing a cardio exercise.

Can you split firewood with a chainsaw?

In some cases, you might even have a tree that’s fallen. For power and efficiency, especially if you have a lot of wood to work with, consider using a chainsaw instead of a hand saw for the job. Chainsaws make it easy to cut trees into logs, and they’ll leave you with enough energy to finish the job.

What is the sharpest AXE in the world?

Hammacher Schlemmer The World’s Sharpest Axe – Hammacher Schlemmer. This is the felling axe made in the United States that holds the sharpest, strongest edge in the world.

Should an AXE be razor sharp?

Answer- Your axe should be shaving sharp! … All woodworking tools, including axes, should be sharp enough to shave with for effortless, efficient and enjoyable work. Most new axes require from an hour to a half a day of hand sharpening to put them into proper shape. A dull axe is less efficient and more tiring to use.

Is AXE a good brand?

They produce great, high-quality products but they cut a few corners to pass along some savings to their customers. The price of a single-bit axe from Council Tools, for example, is less than half the cost of one from Gransfors Bruks or Wetterlings.

Final Verdict

While picking a perfect axe for felling trees or chopping woods, both types of axes are winners in this felling axe vs chopping axe duel. Their weight, length, and all other attributes are designed for different tasks. Felling trees and chopping woods with axe have two different mechanisms behind them. The felling axe is perfect for cutting down trees while the chopping axe excels at chopping woods.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.