Check out our axe glossary for definitions of words related to axes. The terminology used on this page refers to axes and related tools, axe throwing, and traditional logging industry language.

Tip: Use the table of contents to quickly navigate to a specific term.


Acid etched

The process of adding a design or pattern to metal by applying acid.


A striking tool with a cutting edge that runs perpendicular to the handle.

American style axe

A term encompassing axes with a heavy pole or a tapered oval eye.

Apron axe

A double-beveled axe with a unique concave bit that roughly matches the contour of a tree.


An area in axe throwing often comprising four targets.

Asphalt axe

A double-bladed tool with a pickaxe handle and thin, elongated blades.


A striking tool consisting of a handle and a head with a cutting blade.


Someone who fells trees and processes them into logs using an axe.


Back cut

The final 1-2″ cut made on the reverse side of a tree before felling.


A plywood backing used for supporting the mounted target boards.


The back door is the wider or thicker end of a piece of wood to be split.


Someone who works in a forest area that is sparsely populated or uninhabited.

Bag axe

A portable axe or hatchet that comfortably attaches to a backpack or bag.

Balloon pattern

Describes a cedar pattern shape used for an axe head.

Barbers chair

The portion of rough wood pulled from the inner section of the trunk during tree felling (slang).

Bark mark

A symbol chopped into the bark of a felled tree that signals ownership of the log.

Barking axe

Short-handled axe with a thin, rectangular blade used to remove bark from logs.

Basal axe

An axe used for marking trees 4 1/2 feet from the ground.


Also known as a stump, this is the lowest section of a tree that is above ground level.


Backyard Axe Throwing League originating from Toronto.

Beard (hook)

The section of the axe blade that includes the heel and extends the cutting edge below the eye of the head.

Bearded axe

A style of axe that has a large beard or section of blade that extends below the eye of the axe’s head. It increases the blade’s cutting surface and allows the user to hold the handle in a choke grip.


A large wood or metal mallet used to pound large wood joints, drive wedges, and hammer on paving stones.

Belt axe

Small, portable hatchet made for attaching to a belt when not in use.


The sloping edges or angle of the axe head blade.

Beveled handle

Axe handle with flattened or sanded-down corners; provides added comfort by removing sharp edges.


A one-handed edging tool consisting of one or two cutting edges.

Biscayan Axe

An iron trade axe with no pole and a short bit.

Biscuit axe

An uncommon type of axe with its cutting edge removed; bakers used it to pound on dough.


The hardened cutting edge of an axe used to help the blade bite into wood fibers.


Occupation of someone who makes or repairs items constructed with iron.


The tapered area of an axe head that includes the bit, cheeks, heel, toe, and beard.


Removing a portion of bark or adding a spot of visible paint to help mark a route.

Blazer’s axe

Light and portable double-bit axe used for marking trees (forester’s axe).


A small object axe throwers sometimes use that guides where to position the lead food during a throw.


Lump or bar of steel that a blacksmith works on to create a finished piece, such as an axe head.


Forge or furnace where iron ore is made into blooms.


A tree that strong winds have felled.

Boarding axe

Axe or hatchet with an axe blade and a pick spike on the head.

Boat axe

An axe with a wide, flat pole and a straight cutting edge.

Bog iron

An impure iron deposit found in swamps and bogs.


The bottom section of a tree trunk typically with an irregular grain caused by tree movement.


A section of split log that is generally wedge-shaped.

Boom dog

Forged iron wedge with a point that gets driven into the end of a log and attached to a chain (boom spike).

Booming axe

A single-bit axe with a curved played and a thick pole used for driving dogs and grabs.

Boy’s axe

An axe with a 28″ handle and a lighter head than a full-sized felling axe. 

Branding axe

An axe with a design extending from the pole which gets used to mark logs.

Broad axe

A type of axe with a long cutting edge ideal for hewing or squaring logs.


The process of coloring an axe head using bronzing powder.

Brush rake

A tool with a curved blade, similar to a shovel, that is used for digging and scraping.

Brushing hook

A cutting tool with a heavy-duty curved blade, more popular in the United Kingdom.


The process of cross-cutting felled trees into shorter lengths.

Bull axe

An axe with a protrusion extending from the pole used for killing animals and butchering.


The middle red circle on an axe throwing target.


Using a chainsaw or axe to remove stubs and limb ends from logs.

Bush axe

An axe with a hook-shaped head and a broad blade.


The end of an axe head opposite the blade (also known as a poll).


Cable cutting axe

A robust axe with a heavy head designed to cut metal cable and rope.

Camp axe

A broad range of axes typically light, portable, and versatile for performing various jobs around the campsite.


Wooden lever with a steal lip used to roll logs.

Carpenter’s adze

A flat-polled adze ideal for hammering nails and pegs.

Cast iron

Unrefined iron suitable for melting and casting.

Cast steel

A uniform, hard metal ideal for axe blades as it holds an edge effectively.


The process of melting a material and then pouring it into a mold to achieve an object with a specific shape.

Cat’s eye

A gap shaped like a cat’s eye where the handle is attached


The enlarged end of an axe handle, designed to stop it from slipping out of hand.


Footwear with spiked soles to prevent slipping on awkward surfaces or wet bark.

Cedar axe

Single or double-bit broad axes ideal for cutting saplings and young softwood trees.

Ceremonial axe

A style of axe used for displaying, presentations, or demonstrations.

Charcoal iron

A high-quality iron that comes from smelting charcoal with iron ore.


A hairline crack used as a starting point for splitting wood. It could be naturally occurring or made by pounding a wedge into the wood with a maul.


The sides of an axe head located between the bit and the pool (face).


A chunk of wood removed from a tree or log during the chopping process.


A hand position that holds the axe next to the head and allows for accurate, intricate chopping.

Chopping axe

A relatively light axe with a head designed to cut through wood rather than split it. 


Section of land where all the trees have been felled.

Clearing axe

A style of axe used for clearing heavy brush and small trees.

Climbing spikes

Metal spikes attached to each leg to help climbers scale a tree trunk (spurs, gaffs).


A cover at the top of the handle used to prevent damage from overstrike.

Combination pattern axe

An with a different pattern forged on each side of the eye.


A sliced-off log end stamped with an identification mark. 


A limbing swing that runs parallel with the trunk.


The twisted, tough section of a tree where two or more branches combine with the trunk.


The top of a tree, which typically includes the branch system.

Crucible steel

Steel formed by heating and cooling iron and carbon in a crucible.


A type of estimator who calculates the potential lumber yield from a tract of land.

Cupping axe

A double-bladed axe used for cutting grooves into tree trunks to collect gum or resin.

Cutter’s stamp

An identifying mark used by tree fellers and buckers.


Damascus steel

A tough type of steel that makes excellent blades; it takes a double layer of Wootz steel and repeatedly heats, folds, and then welds together again.   


Removing bark from a log or tree.


Logs or trees stacked temporarily in an area before being transported away.


The removal of branches from a felled tree.

Die stamp

Devices used to mark wood permanently.

Dog driver

A logging job involving driving grabs and logs dogs into log ends so they can be connected to other logs.

Dog skipper

A logging job that involves removing grabs and log dogs from log ends.

Double wedged

The application of a wood wedge and a metal wedge into the eye of an axe to ensure the handle is secure.

Double-bit axe

Axes with blades on both sides of the head.

Draw the Line

Using a wedge and maul to start a check or crack in firewood.

Drop forge

Using a press or drop hammer with a die to shape heated metal into a specified shape.

Drop hammer

A heavy-duty mechanical hammer and anvil used to forge metal.


An axe throwing term referring to axes that don’t stick in the target, resulting in zero points. Also a term for felling a tree in a controlled way, so it lands in a safe, easy-to-access location.


Edge tools

A collective term for various forged tools such as knives, axes, hatchets, chisels, and plane irons.

End grain

The section of a log exposed during the bucking process.

End knob

The flared end of an axe handle that helps prevent it from slipping out during a swing.

Eye pin

A steel piece used to form an axe’s eye.


A small hole in the axe head used to insert the handle.



The sides of an axe head located between the bit and the pool (cheek).

Facing cut

The first notch cut into the side of the tree where it is expected to fall. 


Someone who cuts down trees with an axe or saw (feller).


To chop down a tree.

Felling axe

A long powerful axe with a sharp blade for chopping down large trees.

Felling wedge

A metal wedge that helps fell a tree in a specific direction and prevents the saw from binding to a tree trunk.


Fences used for separating each lane and partitioning the adjacent social area.


A metal cap or ring secured around the end of a haft to help prevent splitting.

Fire axe

Typically, an axe with a spike or pick at the other end of the blade that is useful for prying and breaking.

Flame hardened

The process of scorching or searing a wooden handle with an open flame to improve its appearance and harden it.

Forge weld

Fusing two pieces of metal using the combination of extreme heat and hammering.


A furnace that can heat metal to very high temperatures.


An area where metal casting takes place.


A type of stencil used for itching a pattern into axe heads and other metal.



A nick, chip, or broken part of an axe head often caused by swinging the axe blade into foreign material or knots.


A short length of wood or tapered branch used as a splitting wedge.

Going in the back door

Flipping over a log to attempt splitting it from the other side.

Goose-wing axe

An axe with a goose-wing-shaped head commonly used for hewing.

Grab skipper

A type of axe that has a pick protruding from the poll’s upper section; used for pounding logging dogs as well as extracting.

Grooved axe

Traditionally used by Native Americans, these axes used a large stone for the axe head. It had a groove in the middle for attaching the handle with sinew.


To determine the direction a tree will fall once chopped down.

Gutter man

Someone who removes the limbs, branches, and stubs from felled trees.



Someone who has the job of hewing the crossties.


The handle of an axe, hatchet, or other tool used for swinging (halve, helve).

Hammer poll axe

An axe with a single bit and a poll that is for hammering.

Handle shield

A protective guard, generally made from rubber or metal, located at the top of the handle. It protects the handle from overstrike and other misdirected swinging. 


The section of an axe, hatchet, or other tool used for holding onto during swinging (haft, halve, helve).

Hang up

A tree that gets caught in another tree during felling.

Hard-hitting competition

Axemen compete with an axe to underhand chop through a log in the fewest swings.


Small axe, often used with one hand for tasks like chopping, splitting, and hammering.


The heavy, sharp part of an axe that cuts and drives its way through wood. 


The oldest section of a log, found at its center; it is the smallest ring.


The bottom corner of an axe blade’s cutting edge.


Durable rubber or wood areas used in throwing centers to stop axes from getting damaged on a misguided throw.  


Using an edging tool or axe to shape a round log into a plank or another shape.

Hewing axe

A specialized axe with a long cutting edge for squaring off logs (side axe, squaring axe)


A variety of wood in the United States that is popular for axe handles.

High carbon steel

A type of steel capable of tempering due to its 1-2% carbon composition.

High climber

Someone working at the top of a tree setting up equipment or removing branches.


A section of wood between the back cut and the notch that breaks as the tree starts to fall.


A tool with a handle and hook attached for turning or moving logs.

Hudson Bay axe

A style of trade axe head originating from Canada’s Hudson Bay.

Humboldt notch cut

A common type of felling notch chopped into the stump of the trunk.

Hunter’s axe

An axe with a heavy poll and short handle.



International Axe Throwing Federation; sanctions axe throwing leagues

Ice adze

A type of adze with a long handle used for flattening the surface of ice.

Ice axe

An axe for mountaineering and climbing with a hammer and a curved blade for breaking ice.


International Knife Throwers Hall of Fame.

Inlaid bit

Hard steel that gets forged between two softer pieces of metal.



Hammer welding metal together.


Kentucky axe

An axe head pattern from the early 1900s that had a relatively heavy design for that time. 


The space that results from sawing wood.


Laminated steel

A variety of steel that takes two layers of soft steel and encases a layer of hard, high-quality steel; ideal for making blades that are sharp and durable.


A tree that has grown tilted rather than upright.


The process of removing limbs from a felled tree.

Log boom

A group of logs fastened together on water to form a temporary barrier containing logs before sorting and transporting.

Log dog

Large metal staples driven into logs to keep them in place while getting worked on.

Log driver

Someone that works on floating logs, performing tasks like moving them and ensuring they don’t get jammed up (river monkey).


Limbless felled tree trunks and large branches.


The name for someone who works in forestry, felling, or transporting logs for milling.


Mast axe

A specialist axe with a broad blade used for shaping masts.


A tool comprising of an adze and a pick.

Mild steel

Steel that can’t be tempered as it contains under 1% carbon.

Miner’s axe

An axe with a single bit with a shorter handle for working in a confined space.

Mortise axe

An axe with a narrow head for jobs like shaping a pocket.


A long-handled tool used in construction and mining to scoop, scrape, and clear areas.



The shavings produced when cutting with a saw.


Removing a log’s leading edge to make it easier to move (snipe).


A wedge-shaped cut made in the side of a tree during the felling process (facing cut, box, scarf, undercut). 


Offset handle

A curved axe handle that provides clearance for the hands when chopping close to a surface.

Out of reach

An axe throwing term meaning that a round or match is unwinnable, no matter how high the next throw value is.


A stamp applied over the top of the original maker, often to signal new ownership. 



A method of moving logs up, down, or sideways using ropes or cables.

Partial mark

When a mark some partial details that are hard to read or missing. 


A tool with a spike and hook attached to the end of a handle; used for rolling or hooking logs.

Peeling axe

A broad axe that removes bark and small branches from logs.

Perfect Round

An axe throwing term where all throws in a round are bull’s eyes.

Perimeter wall

A safety wall that separates viewers and competitors in indoor axe throwing centers.

Phantom bevels

Slight depressions adjacent to the blade’s edge, used to reduce binding into wood. 

Pick mattock

A long-handled tool with a pick at one end of the head and an adze or hoe at the other.


A tool with a long, pointed end used for striking and breaking ground. Some picks have a chisel-like blade at the other end of the head (pickaxe).

Pig iron

A brittle type of iron requiring refinement before use.


A tool for moving floating logs with a spike and hook at the end of a long pole.


A secure method of attaching an axe head to its handle using a metal pin.


An axe maker who thins forged objects by manipulating billets below a trip hammer.


Material that gets removed from the head when an eye is punched out.

Pole axe

An axe with an elongated poll that resembles a hammer.


A part of the axe head opposite the blade; important for adding weight and balance to the tool and is often used for hammering. It may be rounded, arched, spiked, or curved.

Pond monkey

The name given to someone who helps move logs along a body of water.

Pulaski axe

An axe with a regular blade at one end and another running perpendicular to the handle at the other end. 


Steel hook with a D-Shaped handle for working with pulpwood bolts.


Logs cut short for paper making.


Quarter sawn

Wood cut with the grain, ideal for projects like making handles.


Racing axe

An axe made for competition chopping that offers high performance and safety.


Logs held together with cables or chains for floating in one cluster.

Rail axe

Double-bevel axe with a heavy poll designed to deal with tough jobs like track work.


Replacing the steel in an axe bit.

Rigging hatchet

A heavy hatchet that could comfortably be held in a choke grip when needed. Originally used on oil rigs and then adopted by heavy construction. 


The natural spinning of an axe thrown at a target.


Sabot maker’s axe

A hatchet with a thick handle and long beard traditionally used by show makers.

Safety axe

An axe with a hinged metal guard that covers the blade as required.

Saw log

Logs of sufficient length and width for processing into lumber.


The occupational name for someone who works with lumber and saws logs.


Someone who determines the quality and volume of logs as well as their species.

Scoring axe

A single-bit broad axe with a straight, wide edge ideal for making layout lines.   

Second growth

Replanted trees that replace virgin forest.  


A thick handle section of an axe located adjacent to the axe head.


A term limbers use to swing perpendicular to the branch and remove the unwanted material flush with the trunk.

Single bit

An axe with only one blade on the head.


Moving logs by dragging them across the ground.

Skinning axe

An extremely sharp axe or hatchet with a thin, rounded flay poll that helps skin animals.

Sledge axe

Heavy, wedge-shaped axe with a relatively dull blade designed to split wood; usually has a heavy poll for driving.


Typically, a section of wood pulled from the tree’s inside, resulting from an upper portion of the tree breaking off.

Slug devil

Maul used for driving railroad spikes.


A piece of pre-shaped metal used to form axe blanks. 


Dead tree or partially dead tree that hasn’t fallen over. 


The removal of buds and shoots from branches or de-limbing logs.

Spar tree

Tall, straight tree that is thick enough for use as a ship’s spar. 

Speak to it

Using a metal wedge to create a fissure in the endgrain before splitting.

Splitting axe

Heavy, wedge-shaped axe designed to split wood.

Splitting maul

Heavy, wedge-shaped axe with a relatively dull blade designed to split wood; usually has a heavy poll for driving.

Spring board

Board that gets jammed into a tree notch to provide a platform for standing on when working at ground level is difficult (chopping board, foot board).


Iron with a high carbon content resulting in a rigid material ideal for sharpening.


Fastening a steel bit to a wrought iron head.

Sticking an axe

Successfully embedding an axe into the target.


When a blade gets stuck or binds to wood during chopping.

Strapped head

A way to attach a handle to the head of a striking tool.  

Striking tool

A hand tool that comprises a handle and a head with a cutting edge or point.


A standing tree that is dead.


A section of tree left in the ground after it gets felled.

Stunt edge

A sharp axe blade used for tough chopping jobs. The blade is sharpened to an angle less than the “keen edge.”


Strong metal used as a type of mold; softer, hot metal is pounded into the swage’s depression to form a new shape.


Someone that clears areas of brush, saplings, and fallen trees so that the site is safer to work in or can be used for worker campsites, paths, and roads. 

Swamping axe

A broad axe made for heavy-duty clearing out small trees and brush.



Collecting sap from coniferous trees by cutting through the bark and into the trunk.

Tapping axe

An axe with a narrow blade and an extended butt used to harvest sap.


Controlled heating and cooling of metal to make it harder.

Thistle hook

A long-handled tool with a curved blade used in the U.K.

Throwing axe

A light, well-balanced axe with a double bit used for throwing at targets.

Tie hacker

Someone who makes railroad ties by cutting logs to size and then hewing them until squared.

Tie pick

A short, heavy pick designed to remove railroad ties.


Standing or felled, squared trees ready to be cut into lumber suitable for construction.


The top corner of an axe blade.


A single-headed axe used for throwing and light chopping jobs and traditionally used by North American Indians.


The thin end of a log that is being split.


Someone who climbs tall trees and removes the top section before it is felled (topper, high climber).

Turpentine axe

An axe with a broad, concave blade that fits the tree’s curvature.



United Knife and Tomahawk, an online league.


Cross-cutting through a raised log by chopping upwards from below it.


Modifying an axe head by replacing a section of the bit.


Viking axe

A type of axe used by Vikings and other Scandinavians in medieval times.



Trees and undergrowth that have been knocked over and moved due to flooding or erosion.


World Axe Throwing League; sanctions leagues, tournaments, and judges


A tapered piece of metal or wood that gets driven into a saw cut to prevent binding or influence the direction a tree falls.

Widow maker

Debris or broken branches that may fall from overhead and cause injury or death while the tree is worked on below.

Wrecking maul

A demolition maul with a spike on one end of the head and a sledgehammer on the other.

Wrought iron

Malleable iron that is often used for welding and forging.

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