There are many different axe types each with its own unique purpose and intended use. An axe or hatchet could fall into one or more axe types depending on the features. For information on what some of the terms mean, such as beard or bit, check out the Anatomy of an Axe.
Bearded Axe – A axe featuring a bit that extends down below the cheeks of the axe. Example: Gransfors Bruk Bearded Axe
Boy’s Axe – A boy’s axe is a medium sized axe, typically with a handle around 28″. Typically used for chopping down smaller trees but can be also used to split wood. Example: Plumb National Pattern Boy’s Axe
Carving Axe – An axe type used for carving wood. Feature a very sharp edge and are used one handed. Example: Liam Hoffman Craft Carver
Double Bit Axe – A double bit axe is any axe with two bits (or blades). Often a double bit axe will have a finer edge on one side used for felling, and stouter utility edge on the other side that would hold up better when chopping around the ground where a finer edge would dull quickly. Examples: Liam Hoffman Hawksbill, Norlund Saddle Cruiser
Felling Axe – An axe intended to be used to fell (cut down) trees. They feature a finer edge as compared to a splitting axe and are designed to cut across the grain. Example: Gransfors Bruk American Felling Axe
Hatchet – A hatchet is a small axe that is used one handed. A hatchet can be used for splitting up kindling or chopping up smaller pieces of wood. Examples: Gransfors Bruk Outdoor Axe (pictured below), Liam Hoffman Trapper Hatchet
Maul – A maul or splitting maul, is a heavy two handed axe used for splitting wood. This type of axe is used to split the grain. A maul has a splitting edge on one side and a hardened poll on the other side. The hardened poll, akin to a sledge hammer can be used to pound metal wedges.
Single Bit Axe – An axe with only one sharpened edge, as compared to a double bit axe.
Splitting Axe – An axe designed for splitting wood (Klyvyxor). This type of axe is used to cut with the grain and force is apart. Typically a tree intended for firewood wood is bucked (cut) into rounds crosswise and then split into smaller pieces to aid in drying and curing. Examples: Gransfors Bruk Large Splitting Axe
Tomahawk – A type of trade axe made by europeans and traded with indigenous persons in the Americas. Name is of Algonquian etymology: tamahaac. Often associated with throwing these hatchets were used as both tools and weapons. Examples of these axe types: Cold Steel Trail Hawk (pictured below), Gransfors Bruk Tomahawk
Of course just because an axe falls into one axe type category doesn’t mean is isn’t also in another type. For example the Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe is a bearded single bit forest axe. Axes might be called into one category versus another because of how prominant a feature is. The Gränsfors Bearded Axe with Eye Socket has a more robust beard than say the Scandinavian Forest Axe.