7 Tips for Easy Hatchet Use

A hatchet is a small one-hand axe used for chopping.  Hatchets are best for splitting small pieces of firewood and chopping small branches from trees.  Given a hatchet’s small size, you gain more flexibility in smaller spaces and need less backswing as compared to a two-handed axe.  Hatchets typically have a hammer head on the opposite side of the bit for striking purposes.  Here are 7 Tips for Easy Hatchet Use:

1. A longer hatchet is a safer axe. When you swing it downwards, a longer hatchet will be more likely to hit the ground before impacting your foot or leg.

2. A sharper hatchet (or any edged tool) is also a safer hatchet, requiring you to exert less force in using it and therefore retaining more control.

3. If you’re chopping with a hatchet, always do so from a kneeling position. This way an errant swing stops at the ground, not your leg.

4. Never try to hold a piece of wood that you’re splitting or chopping with your spare hand anywhere in the vicinity of a swinging axe.

5. If you’re using a block, place the piece of wood being chopped towards its rear edge. That way, if you miss, you’ll strike the block and not your leg.

6. Never store a hatchet by just walking it into a piece of wood. This creates a tripping hazard, one with a sharp surprise at its end.  Hatchets and axes should always be stored in its sheath, out of the way and, if possible, hanging up.

7. Camp axes and hatchets be particularly careful swinging anything sharp around other people or your dog. You should have an area around you that’s clear to at least twice the handle length of your tool, in all directions.