When I first mentioned making a thread like this this is exactly what I envisioned. As stated, good job ineffableone.
I've been carrying a Wetterlings Hunter's Axe http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopi ... 34&t=57986
" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; for the past few years on all my woodsbummin'. I'm a woods bum BTW. I walk a mile or 2, set up camp, and do camp craft for my trips. I'm not a big through hiker or forced marcher. I like a 20-30 pound pack and a relatively flat trail and some good woods. Things I like to do in camp is work on making things - things like fire craft and accoutremants to make my fire easier to use; shelter and camp furniture; coffee and/or tea; I love meat over an open fire... these are the things I do in the woods.
Also of note I grew up with axes and chopping wood. One of my chores was to split firewood for weekend use. This was my job starting when I was around 12 years old. Before that I stacked our 2-3 cords per year. I'd turn out the kindling and split logs for fuel. I used a file to keep that old family axe sharp. My Dad bought that axe in 1980, when we bought the house, from Sears.
In the SCA, I was a known axe fighter - but that has very little to do with IRL axe use for bushcraft. I also threw axes in many competitions and did very well, even won one of them. So, I been around an axe a lot. I'm no pro logger or nothing but I've a little experience.
Anyways, I used to carry a hatchet and a 'hawk until about 2002 when I switched of to a Spetz shovel for it's multi-tasking glory as I just was not really chopping too much wood or splitting it down. Most of my outdoors recreation in that time was either car camping or "through" hiking - trying to cover 10 miles or some such to get to a point, set up a quick camp, eat and tend to hygiene, sleep, wake up and pee, wrap things up, and then do another 10 miles to point C. THat ended up not being fun as it seemed I was passing up all the cool stuff in nature while "low impacting" it. *shrug* Nothing against that, just not my style. Around 2008, and after I joined up here, I decided to pare down some and go towards woodsbummin' as opposed to classic hiking trips.
This changes the dynamic of your interaction with the woods. Instead of the proposed "front row seat" to the game you end up becoming the game
Yes, keep your axe sharp. Sharp like your knife, hair popping sharp. It is safer because when you are taking pinky-sized twigs off of a pole you want to pass through in the same direction that you begun your swing, which would be in a direction away from your legs or somebody else. Plus, see that vid ineffableone posted with NutnFancy on it working a sweat up and getting all uppity about an axe? Dull as fuck. My Wetterlings goes through forearm thick (my forearm, I am an ex powerlifter and lineman, I eat a lot) green sugar maple in 3-4 swings.
Philosophy out, here is what I use my axe for:
Taking down dry twigs that I cannot take down by just pulling.
Cutting poles for fire pit or structure.
Cutting knotches in said poles.
Shaving wet bark off logs for burning.
Making a fast pot hook or hanging hook.
Choking up on the haft all the way up to the cheek to do some fine shaving and cutting.
Clearing the top of a log to create a flat surface to work on.
With the poll, driving stakes and thumping stumps to find usable materials.
That's off the top of my head.