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Reinventing the Axe

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the exotic-weapon-proficiency dept.

Technology 217

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "The axe has been with us for thousands of years, with its design changing very little during that time. After all, how much can you really alter a basic blade-and-handle? Well, Finnish inventor Heikki Karna has tried to change it a whole lot, with a new, oddly-shaped axe that he claims is a whole lot safer because it transfers a percentage of downward force into rotational energy, cutting down on deflections. 'The Vipukirves [as the axe is called] still has a sharpened blade at the end, but it has a projection coming off the side that shifts the center of gravity away from the middle. At the point of impact, the edge is driven into the wood and slows down, but the kinetic energy contained in the 1.9 kilogram axe head continues down and to the side (because of the odd center of gravity),' is how Geek.com describes the design. 'The rotational energy actually pushes the wood apart like a lever.' The question is, will everyone pick up on this new way of doing things?"

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217 comments

Neat (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46808829)

This is really damn clever. Few thoughts though:

- My wrists hurt just watching this guy. I gotta imagine some of that rotational force is transferring into the wrist and elbow, which can’t be good over the long term
- That tire: that's brilliant.
- That price: that's insane.

The question is, will everyone pick up on this new way of doing things?

The new way of doing things is called a log splitter. You can get one pretty cheap now (especially if you can do with electric), and while it doesn't have that same rustic appeal, it works really damn well. Personally splitting and stacking was my chore as a kid (I'd guess I’ve split at least 60 cord in my lifetime), and I'm not planning to ever split a log by hand again.

Re:Neat (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46808875)

Also the video shows them splitting some very easy to split wood.

Re:Neat (5, Informative)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 3 months ago | (#46809173)

Popular Mechanics [popularmechanics.com] agrees. It isn't good for splitting wood that has any tension to stay together.

Re:Neat (1)

jfengel (409917) | about 3 months ago | (#46809411)

I was wondering about that. If you've got well-seasoned, knot-free, straight logs it splits easily enough with a plain old maul. This may have an advantage over that, but it seems like trying to improve on a situation that's already good enough.

As the GP says, if you're splitting by hand, you're already choosing to do a job by hand that really can be efficiently outsourced to a machine. (And given the high price of this axe, one that's not necessarily all that much more expensive.) The thwack of splitting can be quite cheerful; you feel like you've accomplished something.

I'd like to see it applied to some of the crap I've split in my time, where it takes a dozen carefully-placed whacks to get it to go (and sometimes, not even then). That's not fun.

Re:Neat (1)

rogoshen1 (2922505) | about 3 months ago | (#46809443)

never mind the fact that some people would pay money for a gym membership in order to use a machine that works the same muscle groups. :) Domain dependency i tells you.

Re:Neat (0)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#46809503)

' good enough' is the mantra of the unimaginative and quitters.

Re:Neat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809695)

Windows, Xbox and Android are good enough.

Re:Neat (5, Informative)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 3 months ago | (#46809687)

I was wondering about that. If you've got well-seasoned, knot-free, straight logs it splits easily enough with a plain old maul. This may have an advantage over that, but it seems like trying to improve on a situation that's already good enough.

As the GP says, if you're splitting by hand, you're already choosing to do a job by hand that really can be efficiently outsourced to a machine. (And given the high price of this axe, one that's not necessarily all that much more expensive.) The thwack of splitting can be quite cheerful; you feel like you've accomplished something.

I'd like to see it applied to some of the crap I've split in my time, where it takes a dozen carefully-placed whacks to get it to go (and sometimes, not even then). That's not fun.

I had a similar question. When I was first taught to use a maul, I was taught to choose a maul with a handle that puts the kinetic energy slightly off centre from the blade tip -- and if the handle ends up true, to adjust my swing so that at the point of contact, angular momentum is slightly to the side.

I don't see that this really adds anything other than changing the swing technique needed to use it to an even curve with a straight grip instead of a twist grip -- and it seems to me that this could be a bit jarring on your wrists as the momentum from the design overcomes the way you're holding the axe.

Wouldn't it be better just to learn how to swing a maul efficiently?

Re:Neat (2)

jandrese (485) | about 3 months ago | (#46809303)

Yeah, my impression of the video is that he's making wood that's easy to split even easier. On something like scrub pine, that axe would probably be a nightmare. I really don't need a breathtakingly expensive maul to split dry birch.

Re:Neat (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 3 months ago | (#46808901)

The wrist! that's exactly what I was thinking, actually, I was coming to post with the exact phrasing as you.

it looked far lower impact than swinging a maul though, so perhaps the increased efficiency makes the wrist not hurt.

Re:Neat (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 3 months ago | (#46808917)

I haven't used a log splitter in at least 10 years, but last time I did, it was considerably slower than doing it by hand. It saved a hell of a lot of energy, but it just wasn't very fast compared to doing it by hand with a good axe.

Re:Neat (1)

Anrego (830717) | about 3 months ago | (#46809009)

Like most tools, there's a great deal of variability and options out there.

Some log splitters are painfully slow, whereas some of the better multi-stage/variable speed types probably work at about the rate I could.

Even with a slow log splitter, I'd rather hang out with a beer and feed the thing over a few hours than spend a half hour with an axe.

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809253)

You were using a wimpy "safety" splitter. we had one at work that would split a 18" long log piece into 6 pieces in 4 seconds. as fast as you could load them and hit the ram lever it would split them. now if you put your head in there and someone hit the lever, instantly big splatter, it's unsafe as hell if you dont know what you are doing. it would make a great murder machine for a movie.

Re:Neat (4, Informative)

jandrese (485) | about 3 months ago | (#46809337)

My experience with splitters is that they were much faster than doing it by hand, but we were always splitting stuff that required a wedge and multiple strikes because the interlocking fibers would hold the log together (and snap back if you pulled the wedge) until you had pounded practically all the way through the wood. Of course sometimes we got some nice dry poplar and we would be finished with the whole tree in a couple of hours, but usually the wood we were splitting was just awful.

I can't imagine the guy in this video doing the same with some choke cherry logs.

Re:Neat (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#46809071)

The back of the blade is secure against the log, so that would minimize twisting. If it didn't this ax wouldn't work.
log splitters are slow, and more difficult to take with you into the woods.

Re:Neat (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 3 months ago | (#46809131)

If you don't want to buy one, you can rent a log splitter in many areas. Moreover, as someone else pointed out, a hydraulic log splitter works with knotted up wood, not just the very easy to split wood in the example.

Re:Neat (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 months ago | (#46809197)

Price is insane only if you think his labor is free, if you have any metalworking skills at all you can replicate this axe quickly and easily in only a few hours in the forge.
My buddy will make it for cost of materials and 2 cases of his favorite german import beer. But anyone else it would cost $300 for him to do it at his normal hourly rate.

Re:Neat (4, Informative)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | about 3 months ago | (#46809201)

Having grown up splitting enough wood to fill a 30'x30'x10' wood shed every year(not all of it was split but a lot was) and all of it by hand because I grew up poor as dirt I can tell you that it's not as bad as you think. The way this thing rotates is actually how you should split wood anyway, it just takes a ridiculous amount of practice to get it right. With a more traditional single bit axe(no maul, too heavy to swing for hours like I used to) you come down as hard as you can and then right at the moment of impact twist to transfer some of the inertia laterally causing a wider split. The only thing this changes is makes it a hell of a lot easier to do and more efficient because you can get consistent results.

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809645)

Right on. That's why on a single bit axe or splitting maul the handle does not enter the head at the center of mass, so after giving that little twist at the end, once the bit is in the wood, kinetic energy is partly working on a lever, much more effectively splitting the wood. As the poster points out, it takes a lot of practice because the right amount of twist depends on the wood type/size/presence of knots, mass/balance of the axe/maul, and how much energy is delivered. But there's great incentive to practice: one can significantly reduce expended effort.

GAS (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 3 months ago | (#46809305)

I heat with natural gas (if at all). I don't even know if burning wood is legal anymore in California...

Re:GAS (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 3 months ago | (#46809403)

I heat with natural gas (if at all). I don't even know if burning wood is legal anymore in California...

I *think* (IANAL) that it is legal as long as it isn't a "spare the air" day and even on those days, it is still legal to burn wood if that is your sole means of heating.

Re:Neat (1)

mmell (832646) | about 3 months ago | (#46809345)

I used to use a wedge and a sledge hammer for this kind of work. An ax is a good wood cutting tool that happens to be able to split logs pretty well.

This is a purpose-designed ax, meant specifically for splitting logs. It might be marginally superior to an ax for the job. It might even be better or more convenient than a wedge and a sledge. I don't see it really catching on - I think an ax is a far more flexible tool, and if you're specifically interested in splitting logs there are other special-purpose tools already available that'll do the job just as well.

Re:Neat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809545)

An ax(e) [wikipedia.org] is a rough-wood chopping tool to go across the grain. For splitting along the grain, you generally get far better results with a splitting maul [wikipedia.org] . A sledge/wedge combo is similar.

This "new" type of ax is how an inventor figured out a way to make a chopper into a slightly more efficient splitter than a standard axe. It's still not a splitting maul. Expect it to fail at both chopping and splitting when used for anything beyond the lightest work.

Awesome (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46808919)

When can I 3D print one at home? Surely in this era of 3D printed guns and powerful computers, this should be trivial.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809265)

Printing (as we currently know it) would suck for this kind of thing; you actually want it forged. Though I guess once you get to "Diamond Age" type fabbing, then your models could actually have molecular crystal structure info in them.

Re:Awesome (1)

jandrese (485) | about 3 months ago | (#46809349)

Where do you 3D print computer chips? Use the right technology for the job man.

Re:Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809447)

Who said anything about 3D printing computer chips? I said that computers got better, therefore all technologies get better at the same rate. It's like trickle-down economics, a rising tide raises all boats, my friend. And if you don't believe that, you're just a Luddite who wants to go back in the caves. But I suppose you could claim ICs are 3D printed, they are lithographed and there are layers. Yes, chips are 3D printed!

Re:Awesome (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 3 months ago | (#46809401)

When can I 3D print one at home? Surely in this era of 3D printed guns and powerful computers, this should be trivial.

Just 3D print the split logs - duh.

Re:Awesome (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46809465)

My god man, that's genius. ;^)

not an axe (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46808925)

Not an axe, axes are not used to split wood. That is a splitting maul, mauls and wedges are used to split wood. And that is actually probably closer to a froe than a maul.

Re:not an axe (1)

Michael Schmitz (3624569) | about 3 months ago | (#46809075)

My thoughts exactly--this is a splitting axe/splitter/maul. "Axe" implies cutting across the grain. Also, owning several axes I'd argue with the point that the axe has changed very little over the past thousand years. It's amazing how much you can alter a "basic blade-and-handle".

Re:not an axe (5, Funny)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#46809103)

I dunno, I'm pretty happy with my grandfather's axe. It must be over 100 years old, and has the head replaced 5 times and the handle replaced 7 times, but it's a fine old axe.

Re:not an axe (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46809235)

Umm... I have to wonder, if you replace everything about a tool over time, is it still the same tool?

Re:not an axe (2)

lgw (121541) | about 3 months ago | (#46809311)

It's one of the older and more interesting fundamental problems in philosophy [wikipedia.org] . What if you have a rock band, and replace the members one by one, but then the original members re-unite to play their classic tunes, but then both bands go on tour together? What's the identity of each band? Interesting scenarios, yes?

Re:not an axe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809479)

It's one of the older and more interesting fundamental problems in philosophy [wikipedia.org] .

In this case I think it's just a Discworld reference. They might as easily have compared it to a broom. [wikipedia.org]

Re:not an axe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809331)

That's the joke.

Re:not an axe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809385)

Umm... I have to wonder, if you replace everything about a woosh over time, is it still the same woosh?

Re:not an axe (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46809493)

I'll give you a new "o" here. Let's see if it's the same after four more replacements.

woosh

Re:not an axe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809247)

If the head and handle have both been replaced, what part of the axe is 100 years old?

Re:not an axe (1)

crunchygranola (1954152) | about 3 months ago | (#46809347)

Allow me: "Who-o-o-o-sh".

Re:not an axe (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 3 months ago | (#46809499)

Oh, for a mod point!

Re:not an axe (1)

crunchygranola (1954152) | about 3 months ago | (#46809379)

It is form of a specialized axe, known as a maul. Still an axe, but only good for splitting short logs. Still, if you are busting wood for heating you would do well to have the right tool for the job.

Re:not an axe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809085)

From http://www.thefreedictionary.com/axe

axe (æks) or ax
n, pl axes
1. (Tools) a hand tool with one side of its head forged and sharpened to a cutting edge, used for felling trees, splitting timber, etc.

Sounds like it's an axe to me.

Re:not an axe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809225)

Indeed:
"A splitting maul also known as a block buster, block splitter, Slegax, or 'Godevil', is a heavy, long-handled axe'
-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Splitting_maul

Also, it looks exactly like any other axe, just perhaps heavier and maybe with a wider angle.

Re:not an axe (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46809255)

Fell a tree with this. Oh, and please don't forget to make a video. Either for laughs or a Darwin Award, depends on how you perform...

Re:not an axe (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#46809669)

You can't fell a tree with a Mortising Axe either, but that doesn't mean it's not an axe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

Re:not an axe (1)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 3 months ago | (#46809145)

Not an axe, axes are not used to split wood. That is a splitting maul, mauls and wedges are used to split wood. And that is actually probably closer to a froe than a maul.

99% of the population would take one look at that and call it an axe.

You start getting all pedantic, and it just confuses everybody. Maules, froes, wedges....its just axe-nerdery to the rest of us.

Just let us call it an axe.

This is why we cant have nice things without eternal debate.

Fiskars the leading manufaturer of Axes would disa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809207)

Fiskars refers to them as Axes.

http://www2.fiskars.com/Gardening-and-Yard-Care/Products/Axes-and-Striking-Tools

Re:not an axe (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | about 3 months ago | (#46809243)

I grew up splitting wood with a single bit axe instead of a maul and wedge(all hardwood, maple, oak, cherry, beech, ash). I could hit like the fist of an angry god with an axe because I could get a lot more velocity out of it, plus if you've ever swung a splittle maul that weighs in at six pounds-ish you get really tired really really fast. All that being said this is a great design.

Dictionary definition (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about 3 months ago | (#46809339)

Not to be pedantic, but my nearest dictionary (the Dictonary application on my Mac) defines "ax" as

1. a tool typically used for chopping wood

Moreover, in my opinion (whatever it's good for) the difference between those two tools is that a splitting maul is a big, wide-angled wedge. Truly the wide wedge makes it easier to split wood, but an axe can also split wood, and in any case this tool is to skinny to meet my personal expectations of a maul. Finally, maul is defined as

1. a tool with a heavy head and a handle, used for tasks such as ramming, crushing, and driving wedges

Therefore, I see your pedantry and raise you two dictionary definitions.

Re:not an axe (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 3 months ago | (#46809393)

No, that's an axe. It has an axe handle and an axe head, and you can use it to axe-murder people. If your particular field of occupation uses the term 'axe' as some piece of obscure jargon, that's your prerogative, but it doesn't change the meaning of the word 'axe' in standard English.

Re:not an axe (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46809549)

Well, sure, not is standard English. But the story is from Finland. What's the usage of the word 'axe' in Finland?

Re:not an axe (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#46809653)

It's an axe.
As are splitting mauls.
FYI: There are may types of Axe.
Felling, Splitting, Adze, hatchet. Axe of the Dwarvish Lords, and so on.

Wrong wood selection (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46808935)

Sounds like someone spent all their time with nice, straight grained woods and not things with nasty interlocking grain. I've seen some woods like Eucalyptus that when hit with an axe were more likely to "peel" than split. That is the split would go around the piece instead of through it. I think this twisting action would make that worse. OTOH, having split a bunch of wood, you often apply a twisting force to open up the split, so on the right wood(s) this could be a good feature.

Re:Wrong wood selection (2)

Jorgensen (313325) | about 3 months ago | (#46809057)

Well... You probably won't find too much Eucalyptus in Finland...

Re:Wrong wood selection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809125)

Fucking elm trunks.

Re:Wrong wood selection (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 3 months ago | (#46809497)

And don't forgot maple -- seriously warped wood.

Why don't they show a head-to-head comparison. Take a round, split it once. Then two guys with old & new school axes proceed to split the half rounds. A lot easier to perceive a better way.

Yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46808955)

The inventor also claims this tool is much safer because the downward energy that might cause harm is dissipated gradually as rotational energy. So, no abrupt shock, and no deflection.

Except for the whole twisting in your hands part.

weird axe (5, Insightful)

smillie (30605) | about 3 months ago | (#46808971)

I cut and hand split a couple of cords of wood every year. There are some woods such as poplar (in the video) or willow that split really easy. There are other woods that can be cracked open at the top by three inches and still need a sledge hammer to split the two halves apart. Without seeing how it works on the tough woods I can't tell how useful this new axe would be.

Re:weird axe (1)

mackai (1849630) | about 3 months ago | (#46809047)

I agree. My wood is mostly a mixture of blackjack and post oak and will split straight only about a third of the time.

Re:weird axe (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 3 months ago | (#46809109)

Been a long while since I split a lot of wood by hand. A decent log splitter is faster and safer.

Re:weird axe (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 3 months ago | (#46809341)

Been a long while since I split a lot of wood by hand. A decent log splitter is faster and safer.

Literally decades ago, I used to split post oak using a double bit axe. I could split this stuff faster than anybody could with a splitter, especially when it was frozen. It took one swing. There is no splitter I know that is that fast. I'd set op a line of pieces and then just walk up the line popping each. Granted, this was knot free frozen green wood (which is about the best situation you can imagine), but a splitter would have been much slower.

If you have hickory, cured or knotty hardwoods, bring on the splitter. But in that case, this nifty tool won't help you anyway.

Re:weird axe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809591)

Same here. I've never been able to describe how painful it is when a splitting maul shanks the log, shears off a hand-sized piece of wood, and accelerates it to a blinding speed toward the direction of your groin. Been there, done that, rolled around in the snow for 10 minutes holding my groin before limping away. Would not recommend.

Re:weird axe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809241)

I googled and found a nice thread:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/hand-tools/4-tough-axes-field-tested

"Comparison: The Vipukirves is designed to twist off to one side as soon as it strikes the wood. Seasoned wood splitters know how to do this with a wrist flick, but it's helpful for beginners.

Best For: Vipukirves is ideal for straight-grained wood that is easy to split, like white ash."

So it's a tool that's a crutch for a person who doesn't know technique. (That'd be me!) And the demo is on easy wood. So..... Yawn IMO.

Re:weird axe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809273)

Being Finland, the wood in the video is much more likely to be birch, which is the favored firewood in Scandinavia.

Re:weird axe (2)

marcgvky (949079) | about 3 months ago | (#46809627)

Totally agree. Good luck splitting red oak with that...

Re:weird axe (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#46809681)

I know someone who used this axe to split red oak. She loved it.

Maul (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809011)

Interesting concept, but decidedly single purpose: wood splitting. Using an axe with that design that to fell a tree, buck limbs or any one of a number of other axe chores would be rather difficult. The Demo video in the link is truly the ideal wood splitting setup. Very short, wide, well seasoned wood setup in a tire base. You could split it just as efficiently with a run of the mill splitting maul (designed as it's name implies) or a regular axe with minimal issues.

Re:Maul (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 3 months ago | (#46809537)

Totally agree. Where I'd have to try one of these to be sure, given the flexibility of your standard axe, it's hard to imagine this being worth it.

In high School, we used to cut wood for money in the winter. We had a stand of post oak that was 20' to 30' to the first branch (no knots) that dad would chop into about 18" lengths that I got to split. Using a double bit axe, it usually took one swing. The colder it was, the easier it split. It took longer to set up each piece than splitting did.

We had a splitting maul, but I hated it because it was way to heavy. The double bit axe was easier to swing, easier to control and faster. This "new" axe head design looks like a painful experience to me. I can imagine all the side and twisting forces wreaking havoc with your wrists and arms. I remember when I was learning, if you didn't line up the axe head with your swing, it would hurt your wrists. I'm going to bet this "new" design does the same.

One thing I can say about chopping wood for a living.. Sure makes programming and engineering look like a cushy job.

PIty (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 3 months ago | (#46809017)

Smart enough to use his brain to compensate for his poor technique.

Unfortunately, not smart enough to actually develop something that wont exacerbate the underlying physical reasons for his poor technique.

Not at that price (1)

unfortunateson (527551) | about 3 months ago | (#46809041)

They're selling those things for close to 200 Euros, plus shipping.
The Home Depot sells splitting mauls for $30-$40.
With mass production, the prices should be similar, but not until the price comes way down would I even consider it.

Re:Not at that price (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 3 months ago | (#46809615)

They're selling those things for close to 200 Euros, plus shipping. The Home Depot sells splitting mauls for $30-$40.

Back in High School, I used to cut and split wood to heat the house and sell for a living during the winter. I think you are right, this thing is way too expensive. Personally, give me your standard axe, hammer and wedges, skip the splitting maul. What you cannot pop with the axe, split with wedges or a powered splitter. Skip the splitting maul and this 200 Euro fad. They are not worth it, if the goal is to get the job done.

Re:Not at that price (1)

jovius (974690) | about 3 months ago | (#46809625)

The price of this one won't come down easily. It's almost thoroughly hand made from a man of the woods to another and comes with 10 year guarantee. Sure mass production would bring the price down but it would still be expensive. It's a high quality designer tool nevertheless. Quick searching shows that splitting mauls can go over $100 too. From the description / faq [vipukirves.fi] it's evident that a whole lot of thinking how to improve the axe experience has been put to practice.

I look forward to seeing that axe (4, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#46809091)

in the next zombie movie.

Oblig B. Kliban Cartoon- Unnatural Ax with a Sheep (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809101)

Then there's this - Unnatural Ax with a Sheep [staticflickr.com]

Try Google. (4, Interesting)

Gorobei (127755) | about 3 months ago | (#46809111)

The axe has been with us for thousands of years, with its design changing very little during that time. After all, how much can you really alter a basic blade-and-handle?

Well, a simple Google image search for "axe catalog" shows 42 different axe heads sold by the Shapleigh company in 1929.

So, the answer would seem to be "quite a lot."

Adze (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809113)

already has the attributes described, and is excellent for splitting wood, in addition - the adze has the blade oriented perpendicular to an axe, causing it to fail very differently on loss of control. Both suck if you entirely miss the workpiece, of course.

For splitting wood. (4, Insightful)

edibobb (113989) | about 3 months ago | (#46809137)

This might be good for splitting wood, but there are a lot more uses for an axe. This axe wouldn't work well for most other uses.

Re:For splitting wood. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809251)

What about for chickens?

Re:For splitting wood. (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46809377)

I don't think chickens would be able to use this one too well. They don't have the wrist strength for it.

Re:For splitting wood. (1)

turning in circles (2882659) | about 3 months ago | (#46809291)

Good point. How about splitting Orcs?

Yes (1)

CauseBy (3029989) | about 3 months ago | (#46809375)

Yep. And there it is, the diversification of the market: the same reason we have both dustbrooms and pushbrooms; the reason we have both cement mixers and racecars.

Re:For splitting wood. (1)

iroll (717924) | about 3 months ago | (#46809451)

Good point! Also, a standard axe might be good for other uses, but less effective at splitting wood.

Re:For splitting wood. (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 3 months ago | (#46809657)

This might be good for splitting wood....

I don't think it is all that good. I'm worried that this splitter will be rough on the user's wrists and forearms. This splitter might be OK, but I think your standard axe would be just as fast for a lot less money. I used to be pretty fast with a simple double bit axe way back in high school, but we where doing it for money (selling stove/fireplace wood). Usually only took one swing, and I spent most of my time setting up pieces to split. I don't think this new design would have changed that.

Balanced Equipment (0)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 3 months ago | (#46809193)

There is a reason we like balanced knives, axes, etc.

Unbalanced axes are dangerous, hard to use, and hard on the person using them.

There is no way this is actually anything but a defective axe.

Re:Balanced Equipment (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 3 months ago | (#46809399)

Another thing that struck me* is that metal and metal working was relatively expensive in the olden days. Deflective wing-like doo-dads may improve safety, but perhaps at the cost of more metal and/or metal-working effort. Remember, they didn't value individual lives as much back then: life was brutal and short and they accepted that. (Besides, if you put an eye out, you always had a second career as a pirate :-)

* No pun intended

Re:Balanced Equipment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809587)

(Besides, if you put an eye out, you always had a second career as a pirate :-)

Pirates did not wear eye patches because they were missing an eye.

Re:Balanced Equipment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809519)

OOOOooooor you just don't know what you are talking about.

The real invention: Tire to hold pieces (5, Insightful)

mspohr (589790) | about 3 months ago | (#46809259)

The splitting maul is interesting but it may take some getting used to and many not catch on...
However, from the video I see that he uses an old tire to hold the round and this keeps the pieces from flying all over the place. This is actually a great idea!

Re:The real invention: Tire to hold pieces (1, Funny)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46809387)

Now if only I could be a used tire to be 3D printed, I would have the perfect setup.

.
What? There are easier ways to get used tires?

Re:The real invention: Tire to hold pieces (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809521)

I agree... saw the tire and wish I had had a tire when I was growing up and was splitting wood!

Re:The real invention: Tire to hold pieces (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809675)

Quick! Patent it before someone else does

You want re-inventing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809261)

That's neat, but re-inventing means something totally different.

Ever used one of those spiral log splitters you replace a car wheel with? Now that is completely different. And ridiculously fast, too.

Axe-maul FTW (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809317)

The wood FLIES apart.

Ron Popeil (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 3 months ago | (#46809369)

Like the Pocket Fisherman et al, I'm sure this will have a few fanatical buyers who become very proficient in using it, but for most the more common item is probably better.

More savings from work flow. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809439)

Splitting the wood at the pile has proven to be a work drain
on our farm. Much better to split the wood right where it
is cut! THen you load it once, and unload it onto the stack - once.

If you haul your logs to your pile, and then split, you have to
handle each piece of wood one more time (at least).

So if your in the bush, you likely haven't got that tire thing
to contain the log, which would be "rotationally" spun
of your chopping block every time.

Don't see much of a win for me here. .. and I WAS just out yesterday chopping away in the bush!

How is this new? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 3 months ago | (#46809533)

As soon as I saw the picture of it, I recognized it as being the same as one that I saw someone using at a campsite I was at in the 1990's. I don't recall the exact year, but I remember the guy saying that it chopped wood a lot easier when I asked about it (I didn't even recognize it as an axe until he used it, where every single blow split his target in only one swing).

Not Reinvented, Hyperspecialized (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46809611)

Axes are used for other things. He's made a great woodsplitting axe, which is great for people willing to spend a fortune on axes that only do one thing that axes are used for. Alternatively you could chop a hole, and use an actually wedge, which you hit with the opposite side of the axe. It takes just as little energy, and leaves the axe far cheaper and more versatile.

This is why no one has reinvented the wheel.

I found a solution to this problem years ago (0)

wcrowe (94389) | about 3 months ago | (#46809643)

When I was a kid in the 70's, fireplaces were all the rage. When my father finished out the basement he had a Franklin fireplace installed. Of course this meant that one of my chores was splitting wood. And the wood we had was oak, which usually cannot be split with an axe, and requires wedges and a sledgehammer to split. Most of the time I didn't mind the work, but chores are chores and not a lot of fun.

I decided there had to be a better solution to the wood-splitting problem, and when I became an adult and bought my own house I came up with a fantastic solution: I bought a house without a wood fireplace. I haven't split wood in 27 years. Problem solved.

Of course, if some of you Grizzly Adams wannabes like this sort of thing, knock yourselves out. To each his own. :-)

Little known fact. (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 3 months ago | (#46809659)

Floki invented this, and Ragnar would have ruled the world if he had not laughed his ass off when he saw it.

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