Battle of The Ax Heads-Double Bit Ax Vs Singl Bit Axe
Other than a survival knife, an ax is one of the most indispensable outdoor survival tools you can have. With an ax, you can chop firewood, fall trees, prepare your survival shelter, and perform numerous other survival-related, bushcraft activities.
However, as with most everything in life, choosing this essential survival tool can be a bit confusing. i.e. Should you buy a double bit or single bit ax head?
This article will help you make this important decision easier.
What Is A Double Bit Axe?
A double-bit axe, is known by many as a double sided axe, and as its name implies has two edges or sides that are used for cutting. Each side though serves a different purpose. One side, the side with the razor-sharp edge is used for cutting and chopping wood. The opposite side that is duller works best for wood splitting.
A double bit as it can be two axes in one seems to be the obvious choice. That is not necessarily true though. Take a look below at the pros and cons below, for the double bit, for further explanation.
Double Bit Axe-Pros and Cons
• Handling-A double-bit ax, with its two edges, is symmetrical. As a result, you will notice how balanced it feels when you are swinging it.
• Versatile-Two sides make a double bit quite versatile. As stated before, one side of a double bit axe is razor-sharp and the opposite side is duller. Each performs different cutting jobs. However, if you want you can make both sides equally razor-sharp, which means that you will have to spend less time sharpening as all you need to do is just switch the blade.
• Chopping Wood, Splitting Wood, and Felling Small Trees-The balanced nature of a double bit ax is perfectly designed for chopping, splitting, and felling trees.
• Fool Proof-You don’t have to worry if you mess up one blade edge because then all you need to do is sharpen the dull edge and you’ll be ready to go.
• Safety-As it has two edges, the double bit is twice as dangerous. This makes it not a good choice for a young girl or boy’s axe.
• Not A Hammering Instrument-The double bit, as it does not have a blunt edge, cannot be used for battoning.
Safety Tip-If you decide to buy a double bit get the best leather sheath that you are able to afford.
Single Bit Axe
The Single Bit is a more common type of axe that can be recognized by only having a single sharp edge. The other edge is flattened and can be used as a makeshift hammer.
Pros and Cons
- Safer While Working– As you have only one sharp side the single bit ax is a lot safer than the double bit.
- Safer To Pack- It is easier to place the sharp-sided edge away from your body, which makes it safer when it is one you.
- Swings Better-A single bit ax is likely lighter and a lighter ax can be swung more quickly and chop more accurately.
- Hammering– The opposite end of the sharp edge can be used as a dedicated hammer.
- Only One Side-With only one sharp side you are out of luck if you break that edge.
- Limited Cutting Options-With only one bladed edge, for issues solely related to woodcutting, you do not have the best of both worlds as a double ax does.
Ultimately, choosing a single or double bit ax depends upon your personal choice and what best fulfills your needs. First of all, especially so when the SHTF, safety is a big concern. So, you need to be aware that a double-bit ax is more dangerous. And, if you are accident-prone, think twice about buying one.
For purely cutting and splitting wood though a double bit ax is a better choice. However, when the SHTF you may need your ax to be a multi-tool and hammer away, which makes the single bit blade a better choice. Who says you cannot have both? A potential solution would be for you to use a single-bit axe when you are in the wilderness, and away from civilization and the double bit can be used for around the camp or where you are either temporarily or permanently living.
Choosing axe handle material is another important decision that you need to consider before buying your axe. Wood and a fiberglass axe handle are two common handle materials that you will see, and each of these materials has its pros and cons. So, you should carefully choose the material that suits you best.
Wood handles are the, tried and true classic axe handle, and many outdoorsmen will only purchase a wooden handle. But, are they the best handle?
• Classic-Wood hand is a tried and true classic choice and nothing beats the feel of a classic hickory handle.
• Absorbs Shocks-Wood is an excellent material for absorbing shocks that can occur when you are chopping away.
• Cheapest-A wood handle is the cheapest handle that you can purchase.
• Easy To Replace-The wood handle is the easiest handle to replace.
• Weather Friendly-A wood handle works best in extreme weather conditions ranging from freezing cold to sweltering heat.
• Durability– The wood handle, as it is natural, is not as durable as fiberglass.
• Abuse– A wood handle does not handle abusive conditions as well as the alternatives. For example, a wood handle soaks up water, oils, and other substances, which can eventually damage the handle.
Examples-Gransfors Bruks is an example of a premium ax maker that uses a wooden handle in its axes. These axes are considered to be the best. As a result, they are very expensive.
A fiberglass handle doesn’t have the mystique and prestige of a classic hickory axe handle. But, who cares if it gets the job done?
Pros and Cons
• Durability- A fiberglass handle is better able to take abuse and handle harsh weather conditions. For example, a fiberglass ax handle, unlike a wood handle, will not soak up water, chemicals, and other dangerous chemicals.
• Tough Jobs-Fiberglass is better suited for tough, and abusive jobs that have to be done. i.e. Cutting roots, splitting extra hard firewood ike elm. One indication of the toughness of fiberglass is that a fireman’s axe often uses fiberglass handles.
• Cost-A fiberglass ax handle costs more than the average forest or camp axe.
• Tough To Replace-You’ll have a hard time finding a replacement and also replacing your fiberglass handle.
• Feel-If you are used to the feel of a classic wood handle it can be difficult getting used to fiberglass.
Examples-The Fiskars splitting axe shown below is an example of an ax that uses a fiberglass axe handle.