Fire axes are used by first responders for demolition, to clear trails during searches, and many other emergency operations. They can be valuable tools for splitting wood and felling trees. How do you choose the right fire axe for your needs?
When choosing a fire axe, you must consider the handle length and type. You will need a fire axe that is the correct weight and comfortable for you to swing. It would help to consider the head type and how you intend to use your fire axe.
Below we will look at the different types of fire axes and help you choose the correct one. We will also look at how to swing the axe in a safe and controlled manner.
4 Criteria to Choose the Right Fire Axe
You will need to find the correct length handle for your fire axe to be able to swing it correctly and accurately. It should feel comfortable to you without being too short or too long. When the axe head is on the ground and your arms are relaxed next to your body, the length of the handle should reach halfway up your middle finger.
The weight of the axe is a big concern when picking out an axe. The most common weight of a fire axe is 3lbs to 8lbs(1.5-4kgs), but they can weigh as much as seven pounds. Heavier-weighted axes are better suited for demolition. The lighter axes are better for splitting logs and tree felling.
· Axe Head Type
The next consideration is the head type. Fire axes can be single-headed or double-headed, meaning they have a blade on both sides. Some may come with a sledgehammer or spike opposite the blade. Double-headed axes can be sharpened differently giving you two tools in one. Carefully weigh how you will most use the fire axe and buy one that will best fit those needs.
· Material of the Axe
Fire axe handles can come in different materials. The hardwood handles are preferred by most professionals, but composite ones can be just as strong and only have a fraction of the weight. Both options are quite durable and will rely on what you prefer. If you haven’t purchased a fire axe before, stick with the wooden handle options until you become more familiar with the tool.
How to Use a Fire Axe
To use a fire axe you will need to have plenty of room to swing your axe. You should have at least an axe length of clearance around you to avoid the axe deflecting and possibly causing you serious harm.
An axe length consists of your arm fully extended with the axe following your arm out fully extended. This should include the front, the sides, and behind you when you are swinging the axe.
Grip and Swing
Having and maintaining a proper grip is essential when swinging an axe. If you are right-handed, the fire axe handle should be placed so your left hand is just above the knob or end of the axe. Your right hand should be further up the handle just below the head of the fire axe.
When you swing the fire axe, your right hand will slide down the handle, meeting your left hand as the fire axe travels forward.
Your main focus when swinging an axe should be accuracy. Harder swings that do not hit the same spot will be very inefficient. You have a higher risk of missing your target and injuring yourself the harder you swing. Lighter more accurate swings will be more beneficial in the long run allowing you to do more work quickly. You can increase your speed and power when you can swing accurately.
The main criteria for choosing a fire axe will be the head type, handle type, weight, and overall length of the axe. Matching all of these together with the main intended use of the axe will give you the most comfortable fire axe for you to use.
Clearing your area before you begin using the fire axe, and focusing on accuracy over speed and power. This will give you the most efficiency and keep you safe when you swing your fire axe.
What options do you need to consider when picking a fire axe that will give you the most comfortable and accurate swing?