Fiberglass vs wood axe handle, which one works better? It is a never-ending debate. And that’s what we will be discussing in this very guide.
There are mainly two materials that are widely used for ax handles, wood, and fiberglass. And people have been arguing for quite a long time over these two materials.
According to some, wood is better than fiberglass, and some say the opposite. If you are really interested to know which material is best for axe handles, check this out!
Wood Vs. Fiberglass Axe: Head-to-Head Comparison
|Poor thermal conductivity||High thermal conductivity.|
|Temperature-sensitive||Gets brittle in cold|
|Can’t withstand heavy abuse||Made for withstanding abuse|
|Doesn’t last long||Have a long lifespan.|
|Lacks shock-absorbing properties||Has good shock-absorbing properties|
|Easy to get replacements||Hard to get replacements|
|Can be customized||Can’t be customized|
Wooden Axe Handles
Once there weren’t any other handle options except wood for tools like hammers, axes, shovels, etc. For hundreds of years, people have been using wood as handles for many tools.
And still, many people prefer wooden axe handles due to their smooth feel and appearance.
There are different types of wood that are used for ax handles, here are the most popular ones…
Hickory: It’s the most durable wood for axe handles you will find. And compared to others, these come with decent shock absorbing ability as well.
Oak: This is high-density wood that delivers great strength and stability. The best part of this wood is, that they are naturally resistant to fungus and insects.
Ash: It comes with a very appealing appearance; the long straight grains make the handle look good. Not only does it look good, but it also offers decent flexibility and durability as well.
One most loved perk of wood handles is, that they have poor thermal conductivity as a result during both summer and winter it is comfortable to work with them.
In winter, the handle will not feel unpleasantly cold, and neither will it feel hot when it’s 40-degree outside.
That being said, wood handles tend to shrink and swell due to humidity and temperature. And as we all know that woods soak water pretty well, so if somehow water or any other similar liquid comes in contact, that will cause the wood quality to deteriorate.
Moreover, wood handles can’t absorb heavy shock, and as a result, the shock is transferred to the body, which is not only irritating but harmful to the body as well, especially for those with hand and arm joint issues.
People need to be very careful with wooden axes, and a few heavy wrong swings can wreck the handle.
Among all those drawbacks, some people still prefer wooden handles because they come at a reasonable price, and can be replaced easily. Plus, wooden handles can be customized according to the user’s comfort.
Wooden handles shine bright in terms of good grip and balance as well, and that is the reason still some of the finest axes come with wooden handles.
Advantages of Wooden Axe Handles
- Wooden handles are widely available; hence they come at an affordable price.
- Due to the grains and water-absorbing properties, wood offers good grip and stability.
- Wooden handles are easy to cut, which makes them easy to customize.
- Since wood contains soft and randomly organized tiny fibers, it cannot conduct heat.
- All the manufacturers offer replacement services for wooden handles.
Drawbacks of Wooden Axe Handles
- Since they are temperature sensitive, they don’t last long.
- Naturally, woods absorb water, and when they do, they start to rot.
- It lacks shock-absorbing properties.
- Can’t withstand heavy abuse.
Fiberglass Axe Handles
Fiberglass started to make its hold in the axe industry around 40-50 years ago. Before that, wood was the only reliable option for ax handles.
To be honest, in many areas’ fiberglass outshines wood, here is what they are better at.
Compared to wood, fiberglass handles are way tougher, they can withstand heavy abuse. And it comes with an incredible shock absorbing ability as well, which makes using it very convenient and safe.
What’s most impressive about fiberglass handles is, that they are extremely durable. They are not sensitive to weather, snow, rain, or sun, nothing can damage them.
You can leave a fiberglass handle on the water for days, and nothing will change. That being said, harsh chemicals like acid can harm fiberglass, but that’s an exception.
Fiberglass is a good conductor of heat; in winter, it might get freezing cold and brittle. And in summer, they can even get boiling hot if left directly under the sun. It is one of the biggest drawbacks of fiberglass.
On the other hand, this material is expensive and hard to replace. Once something goes wrong, it will be hard to get a replacement for fiberglass. In most cases, people need to get a whole new axe. Like wood, you cannot customize fiberglass according to your needs.
Advantages of Fiberglass Axe Handles
- They don’t get affected by moisture which makes them highly durable and long-lasting.
- Due to their rich impact-resistant properties, they can take heavy abuse.
- The impact-resistant properties make them absorb shocks as well.
- Fiberglass is made of tiny strands of glasses that don’t absorb water.
- They are resistant to fungus and insects.
Drawbacks of Fiberglass Axe Handles
- Not many manufacturers offer replacement options for fiberglass handles.
- They are tiny hard strands of glass, therefore can’t be cut using normal tools.
- Compared to wood, they conduct heat easily.
- Due to their strength and durability, they come with a hefty price tag.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is hard to say which one is good for whom. People have different needs, and they should pick according to that.
For those who need reliability, it is pretty obvious that they should go with fiberglass. And those who are not willing to pay a high price, wooden handles are the way.
However, we tried to make this wood vs fiberglass ax handle comparison as in-depth as possible, hope it helped!
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