No single tool provides greater utility and versatility in woodworking than axes do. In terms of blade design, people generally prefer single-bit axes or double-bit axes.
But, what does the bit of an ax mean? How do people differentiate between single-bit and double-bit axes?
To finally conclude the debate on single-bit vs. double-bit axe, I wrote a guide that aptly explains their differences.
Traditionally, axes have been used for a lot of purposes since their dawn in the Viking age. Since then, there have been a lot of variations with designs that seemingly outdo each other in the eccentric department.
However, two types of axes are common, no matter where you look. You have the single-bit axes with the blade edge only on one side.
And then you have double-bit axes. Now, these axes are a bit different from single-bit axes in that it has a blade edge on two sides of the blade.
There have been many single axes throughout the ages based on these two designs.
What is a Single Bit Axe
In layman’s terms, a single-bit ax refers to an axe that has a single-edged blade. Meaning you can cut only using one side of the axe’s blade.
Depending on this design, metalworkers manufacture different ax blades that can properly utilize this aspect.
For example, one might argue that one of the key features of the single-bit ax is the supposed safety of having a single edge. This aspect is what differentiates the axe from other designs.
What is a Double-Bit Axe
Double-bit axes tend to be a bit more eccentric than their single-bit counterparts. Simply put, it is a type of ax where you get two blade edges on the metal instead of one.
Having two edges changes things since manufacturers need to design the axe with utility and stability in mind.
Generally, the double-bit design provides more utility since you are getting two separate edges that you can use for different purposes.
For example, people often prefer the double-bit axes because they can use one side for splitting and the other for making precise cuts.
In order to understand the differences between the two ax types, we can examine their uses and see how they are different from each other.
Benefits of a Single-Bit Ax
Single-bit axes have their own little quirks and nuances that separate them from the other axe designs.
The key differing feature here is the one-sided blade edge design. Think of what your purpose is with a single-bit axe.
You’ll find that it works best at making singular cuts that either push through the wood or precisely cut through the wood fiber.
With the cutting side on one end of the blade, you don’t have to worry about accidentally chopping off your arm or any other limb in the process.
If you work as a traditional lumberjack, the single-bit ax can be your best friend. Splitting logs of wood is easier with the single-bit ax since the edge is usually sharper and more durable.
Benefits of a Double-Bit Ax
Double-bit axes have two edges, making them a bit more complex to use.
If you can utilize the two sides properly, you can become a master lumberjack in no time.
Generally, axes have three purposes – cutting, chopping, and splitting. Among these purposes, you can find lots of different sub-activities that require just as much attention.
For example, cutting small branches from a tree is suitable for a double-bit axe since you can use both sides to cut equally.
Instead of swinging the ax on one side, you can swing the ax equally on multiple sides. This makes it easier for you to clean foliage and even smaller bushes.
Double-bit axes also perform great if you want to sharpen sticks of wood.
If you still don’t understand the differences between a single-bit ax and a double-bit axe, we can observe examples and see how they are different instead.
On the one hand, you have the Felling Ax. This is an ax that is specifically designed for felling trees.
If you do not know anything about felling axes, a stellar primer is that it is a type of single-bit ax. Meaning it has one single blade edge on the metal.
Felling axes are generally cut perpendicularly to the fibers of the wood. This results in a cleaner and more elongated cut across the wood log.
No axe design is better suited for this purpose than the single-bit blade. On a felling ax, you’ll find the edge to be really thin and razor-sharp. Thin edges are an essential design aspect if you want to get in between wood fibers and cut precisely.
You can’t fell a tree without the thin edge design that a felling ax boasts.
On the other hand, you have the cruiser axes with the double-bit design. What is a cruiser axe, you ask?
Generally speaking, it is a type of double-bit axe that is lightweight and smaller in size. They tend to be weighed around 2-4 pounds on average.
Because of their lightweight stature, many people prefer them to their single-bit counterparts. They have a smaller handle and blade, making them precise tools for cutting wood.
A double-bit cruiser ax can help you cut through the toughest of foliage and bushes with little to no effort. Compared to a single-bit ax, you can swing it however you want without worrying about not cutting anything.
Frequently Asked Questions
Axes are wonderful tools for woodworking and lumber cutting. Both single-bit axes and double-bit axes have their differences with merits and demerits.
You can’t certainly use an axe in your work without knowing how each one of them works. I hope my guide has helped you understand the differences and appropriately address the double-bit vs. single-bit axe debate!
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