Axe Working with Friends

It’s always a good time getting together with friends, old and new, taking your axes in hand and going at it for no good reason. And that is just the way it was this time down the French town. Of course it’s not the case that there was no good reason because we were there to demonstrate a good way of getting it done out on the streets for people.


Not many of those had showed as Bernard and Ernest sawed up a good end grain surface and out a knick or knot or two.


And then Yvon and Marc taking a turn on ends of the long cross-cut saw. In these cases no chainsaw will do, leaving its overly  roughed up surface there unsuitable for the clean lay-out lines got by ink and bamboo  .


All in preparation, lets put it this way and say making a relatively safe place for axes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo I could get in there having a go at setting clean lines out to out-line the beam within the tree, if I were to put it in metaphysical terms.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy technique being nothing short of iconoclastic, my hair nothing short of catastrophic.

So, with all questions of personal grooming set aside for the moment we can get a’ chopping.


Observant observers will notice a deviation of the notch under the axes in this picture compared to the previous notches further on up the stem. And that’s because it is being chopped another way, called the tree phase way or the trinity notch method, I haven’t officially decided which yet. Not a single notched at all but the culmination of three notches forming one which should be enough explanation to grasp the process involved.

Three notches making one

This is useful on the occasion when the line lies deeper in from the outside edge than the length on the blade of the axe used for chopping. Because I am now convinced that the short bitted bandhacke is the way I find preferable to go about it this is what I use on those distances greater than 70 mm.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Which is handy because then I have the same axe in hand as I use for removing the bulk of the waste in-between notches and hewing to the line. It’s fine to have a bandhacke set up in a way suitable for left or right orientation just like the side-axe you use, though by no means necessary.


Those side-axes are special tools to be cherished, elevated to a position of preeminence among tools, preserved only for use where they are uniquely suited which is not removing bulk wast or even any waste beyond what is necessary which means no more than 2, three at the most, millimeters at the surface. If you are rough hewing any further from the line than half a centimeter please consider not grabbing that sweet axe until you’ve gotten it down a few, or more, millimeters. It will pay off in lengthening the life of the keen edge we make so much effort to achieve on that one.

Surfacing backwards out

My ambition and aspiration is to surface in tandem, me on the right-hand side of the stem and a companion wielding the axe with its flat side the opposite of mine simultaneously down the other side. Imagine it out there in front of a captive audience.