What Is a Hewing Axe Used For?
If you are into carpentry or home renovation, you may wonder: what is a hewing axe used for?
Well, we are glad you asked! But before we dig into a hewing ax’s uses, we should break down just what hewing is.
What Is Hewing?
Hewing is the art of transforming a round log into a flat piece of wood. Dating back centuries, this practice is an essential step to making natural wood into something easily workable.
Generally, people used hewing to prepare timber into framing materials for homes, log cabins, and other structures.
Given the antiquity of the practice, modern electrical tools such as sawmills have nearly made hewing obsolete. However, it is still widely used by homeowners who regularly process timber around their homes or businesses.
Nature enthusiasts also practice hewing for recreational purposes.
A hewing ax is a hand tool used to assist with hewing. It is the tool used to shape the wood. Historically, there is not one defined type of hewing ax. Therefore, a “hewing ax” is an umbrella term for a wide range of tools.
The most common type of hewing ax is the broadaxe, which is most carpenters’ tool of choice.
Some broadaxes have one flat side and one sloped side. That is called a side ax. In some cases, both sides can be sloped. That is a bevel ax. The ax you choose will depend on its intended purpose.
What Is a Hewing Ax Used For?
Essentially, people use hewing axes to make wood easier to work with. There are many stages involved in taking wood from its natural state to something usable. Hewing is an essential part of the process.
Often, people use hewing axes on felled trees (or trees they have knocked down).
How To Clean a Hewing Ax?
If you are one of the few people keeping the art of hewing alive, congratulations, you are in good company. However, your output will only be as great as your tools.
One way to ensure that you keep your ax in tip-top shape is to keep it clean. But before you dunk it in a bucket of water filled with dish soap, you should know it is not that simple.
Axes are delicate tools that are susceptible to rust and rot. Therefore, you must take special care when cleaning them. And given how rare hewing axes are, you will likely come across axes that are not in the best condition.
Cleaning Your Axe and Preventing Rust
Ax heads are metal, which makes them susceptible to rusting and corrosion. Therefore, the first step to keeping your ax clean is to take preventative measures to avoid this.
Once you are done with your ax for the day, you should dry it and store it in a cool, dry place. This will help to prevent moisture from seeping in and ruining your blade. You should also keep the storage area temperature controlled due to excess humidity speeding up the rusting process.
However, if your blade is already showing signs of rust or corrosion, there is an easy fix.
Vinegar is an excellent rust remover. When applied to rust, the vinegar reacts and eats through. At this point, you should use steel wool to wipe the softened rust away.
The last step of this process is neutralizing the acid present in the vinegar with a baking soda paste. That will prevent the vinegar from breaking down the metal.
If there is minimal rust present, you can also use a bit of WD40 on the blade, as it will remove the rust, help seal the metal and prevent further corrosion. Of course, you can also use WD40 on cleaned blades.
Beware of extreme temperature changes because it can loosen the handle, which is a safety hazard.
Acetone and steel wool is great for cleaning dirt and sap from the ax’s blade. For the handle, you should coat it in linseed oil.
Finally, you should oil the blade, which will help protect it.
Now you have the answer to – what is a hewing axe used for? and how to take care of one.
Hewing is a diminishing art form that shaped North American architecture for hundreds of years. It is great that you are doing your part in keeping it alive.