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Racing Axe

Competitive wood chopping requires a competitive racing axe, which is very different from regular wood-chopping axes. These purpose-built axes are specifically designed to cut fresh, soft, and knot-free wood in a high-paced environment. Many are created by Brute Force or Tuatahi, two of the biggest manufacturers in Australia and New Zealand respectively, and others are imported from axe makers in the United States.

Axe Grinds

Axes differ in the grind on the face of the axe, as well as the total thickness of the axe head. Competitors select different grinds depending on the type of wood they are chopping and the event. Axe grinds are applied by an expert finisher, each of which has their own design for overall thickness depending on the wood species. Grinders, belt sanders, stones, and measuring guides are all used to transform a blank steel head into an axe that cuts deeply and without sticking.

Axe Sizes

The racing axe a competitor selects depends on the event and with what they feel comfortable. A competitor standing on a springboard will probably want a smaller, lighter axe than if he is standing on an underhand log or doing a standing block chop. Axes vary in size from as small as around 15 centimetres wide for the springboard to around 20 centimetres for the standing block or underhand events.

Axe Handles

The shape and length of a racing axe handle also comes down to the competitor's preference, with hickory-handle axes and hatchets being one of the most popular materials. The handle is shaved down and driven into the axe head before a wedge and safety pin are installed to keep it in place. It’s important that the axe head is squarely aligned with the handle, otherwise it won't cut effectively.

Vintage Racing Axes

Whether you’re an avid wood chopper or just a fan of the sport, you can also find a range of vintage axes and hatchets, each with their own story to tell. Some collectable axes and hatchets have been used by champion wood choppers, while others are prized for being rare examples of a particular maker’s work.