Dayton, OH is synonymous with invention. Among its claims to fame are cash registers, pop tops, WW2 code-breaking machines, and aviation (source). This region also invented the Dayton axe pattern, which is still produced and used today.
While we can’t shed much light on most of their inventions, their axe creation is a different story. This guide provides a super-useful overview of the Dayton pattern along with its history and features.
Tip: Check out our guide to another popular tool, the cruiser axe.
What is a Dayton axe pattern?
The Dayton axe was a full-sized felling axe originating in Dayton, OH. It was designed to fell large hardwoods like beech and oak.
The Dayton pattern has a long, curved blade with a minimal beard. It was purpose-built for cutting into the wood’s grain, with thin cheeks to help with deep cuts. The tool’s balanced shape assisted with swinging horizontally (laterally) to the ground – ideal for felling purposes.
Dayton axes have a single bit, with a flat poll on the opposite end from the blade. This essential feature helped with driving wedges and other hammering tasks.
Some state axe patterns looked like others, which still causes designs to get mixed up today. Examples of axe heads that look similar to the Dayton include the Delaware, Michigan, Regular Wisconsin, Ohio, Yankee, Maine, and Long Island.
Did you know? We have a big list of axe types for you to discover.
History of the Dayton axe
As settlers arrived in the state, 95 percent of the terrain was covered with abundant forest. While some were softer species, there were also towering hardwoods like beech, maple, oak, and hickory. They had tough, thick trunks requiring a powerful felling axe to lop them down.
Blacksmiths began manufacturing Dayton axes for the lumber industry to help fell the vast areas of challenging hardwood forest. They were sturdy, powerful, and well-balanced, making them popular with workers in the logging industry.
In the early 1900s, axe makers decided to reduce the number of axe patterns from roughly 200 to 30. The Dayton was shortlisted, which is a testament to its effectiveness as a feller.
Over time, chainsaws and other machinery replaced the dominance of axes. However, vintage Daytons are popular with axe enthusiasts today.
Some brands like Council Tool, Peavey Manufacturing, and True Temper still manufacture Daytons. They are typically high-end axes made for felling.
There are alternative versions of the original design, such as the Miner’s Axe made by Council Tool, which has a much shorter 20″ handle.
Features of a Dayton axe
- Blade shape: Dayton patterns have a curved blade to make it easier to chop deep into tree trunks without sticking. The single-bit design has a flat poll at the other end, which is near the handle.
- Heavy axe head: Dayton heads often weighed up to six pounds which is hefty for a felling axe. It took strength and stamina to swing all day, but the weight helped power through challenging hardwood species.
- Full-sized handle: The helve on a Dayton was typically long, measuring around 30-36″ in length. This wooden handle gave the user excellent leverage to exert massive force on the tree.
Dayton axe video
Check out this video if you’d like to see the Dayton axe in action. It demonstrates how the tool performs against a Connecticut axe at bucking a log.
Pros of a Dayton axe
- Excellent for felling big trees.
- Excels at bucking dense hardwood logs.
- Useful for pruning and lopping saplings but may be overkill.
Cons of a Dayton pattern
- Not advised for tough splitting jobs.
- Can be very expensive to buy.
- Vintage axes are challenging to find.
While Dayton axes aren’t needed by loggers like they were centuries back, they’re still a popular tool. Restored antique versions are often hung on walls as collector’s pieces. But they’re also a powerful axe excellent for tough jobs.
You may get your hands on an original Dayton if you’re lucky. Otherwise, the Velvicut Dayton by Council Tool is an excellent choice among mainstream brands. It is hand-honed, resulting in a razor-sharp edge ready for use straight from the store.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to also read up on the Michigan axe, its features, history, and uses.