what is a hatchet used for : We grew up listening to the fairy tales of Grimm brothers from our childhood. The brothers used to hunt down supernatural evils with their killer giant hatchets!
Well, we don’t use hatchets any longer for slaying supernatural beasts for sure but, a hatchet has numerous other uses these days. You must be thinking then, what is a hatchet used for?
A hatchet is a small axe with sharp ends that can swiftly cut any object in two pieces right apart with a single strike.
Hatchets are no longer used for heavy lethal purposes these days, rather it has become more of a homely tool for those who are into DIY log-house renovations and for those who’re into handyman’s job.
What is a hatchet used for and how does it differ from an axe?
Those who’re the frequent users of considerably medium or standard sized axes may think, how come a small tool like it replaces the ‘good old giant axes’?
Frankly, not only you but many have got the same misconception! Those who’re accustomed with old fashioned axes, still believe that the old giant axe is the best tool for chopping huge chunks of log in a single cut. But that’s not the purpose for which a hatchet is popularly used.
A hatchet is something that’s meant for single handed use. It’s lighter, easy to carry and gives a more efficient and compact result. Hatchets do all those types of stuff that your so-called ‘old-fashioned giant axe can do’. The only thing is, it will take a little bit of additional time and energy that usual medium sized axes take.
The tool’s finely sharpened angle edged blades are no less than a Samurai pure steel that Japanese used in World War II. It’s single handed striking feature is an added benefit for the user, as the blades are sharp enough to split an object right apart in one or two strokes, (depending on the hardness of the object of course)! The uniqueness of it lies in design, which can quickly separate an object easily and can be used for a variety of
purposes. It’s a perfect replacement of a pocket-knife for those who frequently go off to camping.
Uncompromising Factors While Looking For a Good Hatchet
Often people fail to differentiate between an axe and a hatchet, as it’s unknown for them about what a hatchet is exactly used for?
A hatchet and an axe might appear relatively the same, but there’s a thin line between them.
The difference lies in the cut. A sharp axe may cut an object quick, but a slightest change in the effort you give to split an object may ruin the shape of the cut. Whereas, a good hatchet with a fine polished wooden handle adds longevity to the material that absorbs vibration and can resist damage from multiple angles. Such quality can easily bypass the efficiency of steel and fiberglass easily. Quality of the wood used for gripping the handle of a hatchet is quite convenient than any ordinary axe handle. Even if the handle gets loose with time, the wooden handle is easily repairable.
How Good a Hatchet Can Be?
Unlike an axe, that loses its utility value, after getting older, a hatchet is a good purchase if it’s a bit older one. Few stores also offer good resale prices for an old hatchet. Maintenance of a hatchet is also easy with leather sheaths that cover the head of the hatchet to avoid rust and corrosion. The classic leather sheaths cover the cutting edges of a hatchet with a thick strap, which makes the hatchet easy to carry in many ways.
However, a good hatchet is always a reliable tool for campers. It’s rounded, bevel edge is a perfect mate for an effortless logung-ho chopping. Be it about carving or splitting woods, a narrower edged hatchet razor is always preferable for a neat and perfect cut.
How To Use?
Maximum people may not have the right idea on how to use a hatchet properly. Some try to grip the handle of a hatchet with both the hands and then try to hammer on an object. Some may even give maximum pressure on a single hand to strike an object in a standing position.
Both the techniques are wrong! That’s because hatchets come in different shapes, sizes and variety. Some are longer, some are shorter. If you’re using a longer axe, then automatically, the moment you’re swinging the hatchet downwards, most likely it will hit the ground that you’re trying to split. Whereas, a shorter hatchet may not require that much force that you use for hitting an object.
The best way to use a hatchet is to get a balance on the ground before striking an object. It’s better if you can kneel down and strike the object with a full force. While chopping anything with a hatchet, maintain a kneeling posture so that your swinging wrists are blocked on the object you’re chopping.
Usually people hold the object with their free hand for getting better support while chopping. Often, they don’t understand that if their hands slip, they may end up chopping their own wrists instead.
The best way of chopping a wood, or a chunk of log is to place the piece close to the rear edge. If you miss the object by any means, you may just chop the block instead of chopping your own leg or hands.
Where Should You Store The Hatchet?
Inexperienced woodcutters or woodmen, often grips the hatchet in a wrong way. That’s because they’re ignorant about how to use a hatchet?
They often make a common mistake of storing the axe or a hatchet on the wood or the log itself when they’re not cutting anything. Avoid such mistakes by learning the safest way of holding a hatchet. Storing the hatchet in the wood or in the block while not in use, may cause tripping hazards. The right and safest way to store a hatchet is to use it in a leather sheath in a covered way. That way, the tool will be in a hanging position.
Some users don’t bother to maintain the safety measures while swinging a hatchet, unknowingly increasing the risk of harming anyone around them while chopping a wood or a log. That’s why, it’s important to use a hatchet in a large spacious area where you get sufficient space to swing your hands in every direction at ease. Make sure that the space you’re using for swinging the hatchet is sufficiently large so that the risk of harming anyone coming close can be easily avoided.
How To Split An Object With a Hatchet?
The best way to split an object with a hatchet is to place the object on a rigid surface. Be it a solid chunk of rock or a hard piece of log, placing an object on a rigid surface is suitable for a perfect cut. Unlike knives, steel hatchet razors are made of hard steel like D2 or 1055. Those are a seamless fit for cutting strong solid objects. That reduces the requirement of a lower carbon steel.
Another benefit of using a hatchet instead of an axe is, it takes time, effort and a lot of research on DIY axe tool restoration once the razor turns rusty. Whereas, a user doesn’t have to spend much time on a hatchet to make it rust or corrosion free. That’s because, if the surface of the hatchet gets affected due to rust or corrosion, it gets off slowly whenever you start using it for cutting an object.
However, a hatchet is also used for splitting hard objects effortlessly. It’s a perfect replacement for a camping axe/hand axe. The tool is portable and has short shafts with a narrow head with a comparatively smaller body than that of a relatively larger sized axe. A hatchet is portable, easy to carry and perfect for splitting an object, meant for cutting single handedly.
Those who’re quite fascinated about chopping objects in a traditional way, must think about how to use a hatchet for chopping objects in an old-fashioned way? Frankly, you will be happy to know that hatchets are perfect tools for those who prefer traditional ways of chopping. At the same time, it’s easy to carry. Just put it in the leather sheath and let it hang from your waist belt. People who’re into the profession of wood cutting, handyman’s job, lawn mowing, may find a hatchet perfect multitasking tool for:
Though axes can be equally useful for doing all those stuff that a hatchet can do, but since it’s easy to handle, effortless to carry and assures a perfect chop than any ordinary axe, it’s a favourite tool for everyone who believes in gung-ho chopping.
Just as your axe needs maintenance to retain its glow and sharpness, your hatchet needs maintenance too. It’s important to take care of your hatchet to enhance its longevity.
How To Maintain a Hatchet?
The best way to reprofile the razor blades of a hatchet is to use a file for reprofiling the razor blades. Though grinders are equally good for reprofiling a razor blade, there’s a chance for the blades to get curved when it gets overheated. Whereas, a hand file is a good initiative to enhance the sharpness of a hatchet. It might be a time consuming deal, but the sharpness factor will remain uncompromised. While doing the job, try to expose the whole face of your blade on the abrasive material to sharpen it without leaving the edges blunt.
Knowing about what is the purpose for which a hatchet is used for is incomplete unless you know how to maintain it. An axe sharpening stone can be ideal for honing the hatchet blades. Axe honing stones usually have two sides, one side is fine and smooth whereas another side is coarse. Before you begin to sharpen the material, use a little bit of oil in it. Let the effect of the honing oil to absorb on the stone. Once it absorbs, then start rubbing a side of the blade in circular motion first. Rub the blade in the same motion until they become sharp. Use the same tactics for sharpening the other side of the blade as well. Once you see the edges of the blade, you will be able to detect the sharpness of the blade.
Leather belts are a suitable option too for sharpening the blades. If you’re looking ahead to an alternative of grinder stone or a file, then this one is a good choice. If you know how to use a hatchet, then, it’s easier to strop the sides of a razor blade on a leather belt. That way, the edges of a hatchet’s blade gets suitably refined.
If you’re wondering about how to do it, then, the first thing you need to do is grip the belt firmly. After gripping the belt firmly, randomly pull the hatchet up and down on the rough surface of the leather belt till the edges of the blade get sharp. The best way to detect the sharpness of the blade is to use it on a smoother surface like a blank page of paper. It’s the best place to check the sharpness of your blade to feel the sharpness of the razor blade edges.
As a frequent user, if you want to avail the longevity of your hatchet blades, beeswax coating is the best covering for protecting your blades from rust and corrosion. That way, you can assure the longevity of your blades easily. Wiping the blades with a little bit of WD40 lubricant is the best option for sharpening the blades of your hatchet.
At times, users forget that the wooden holders of a hatchet or an axe do need equal priority just like the blades. Prior to one such ignorance, the wooden grips lose their shiny glow. If you’re looking ahead to maintain the wooden handle of the axe or hatchet, use linseed oil for wiping the handle grips of the hatchet holder.
Sweat is one of the reasons for which the handles get slippers at times, when your body sweat gets absorbed on the wooden handle, it leaves sweat marks on the holder point. To avoid such issues, wiping the wooden holder with a linseed oil gently is a good way to maintain your hatchet.
After some years, when the head of your hatchet gets loose, some users may let the head soak in water, often not knowing the fatal consequences that may occur when the wood gets dried up. Once the wood dries up, the loose head of the hatchet may come out easily causing a fatal harm to anyone else or the user even. The best way of avoiding one such menace is to take the material to a hardware store where the loose ends can be wedged by a hardware expert. Once the loose ends get wedged, it’s easier for you to cut or chop different objects easily.
How to maintain the hatchet leather sheath?
Just as your hatchet needs maintenance, the leather sheath that stores the head of an axe or hatchet needs equal maintenance too. Often when you’re carrying it around your side waist in a hanging position, the leather gets exposed to sunlight-heat, rain, dusty, etc. These things quickly damage the leather cover of your hatchet head. To avoid such damage, use a lubricant or oil for maintaining the sheath cover. There are multiple oils available in the market for leather sheath treatment. Pecard’s motorcycle dressing is definitely one of those. After applying the oil for treating the sheath cover, give some time for the oil to absorb on the sheath cover. Once it sits on the sheath cover, the leather material will glow as usual.
Users make a common mistake very often, by using the leather sheath to cover the wet hatchet head. That causes significant damage to the leather sheath. Already you’ve known by now, what is a hatchet and how is it used for cutting multiple objects? Say for e.g., after cutting a water soaked log, when you put the hatchet head in a leather sheath the wetness of the blade may affect the razor blades. That’s why, let the blades get dry. Once it’s dried, then put the blade in the sheath again.
That way you gain mastery on how to use a hatchet leather sheath easily!
Finally, when you know how to use a hatchet, how to maintain it and how to differentiate between an axe and a good hatchet, it’s time for you to know all those things that you can do with a hatchet.
How can a hatchet be a useful tool to you in many ways?
Hatchets are best for wood splitting. Instead of using an old fashioned axe for slicing a wood or log, hatchets are perfect for splitting woods or heavy logs. Apart from splitting woods, a hatchet is a perfect element for cutting wood branches and stems. Often many people run DIY house renovation after fall months, by trimming the unnecessary shrubs and herbs from the lawn. Some cut unnecessary leaves and overgrown shrubs from their gardens. Some plan a complete lawn and landscape restoration.
For all these purposes, a hatchet is a perfect material. This is not all, people living in county locations spend maximum time in summer chopping the logs to build log houses. Since the material is short and its grip is rigid, it’s perfect for splitting woods. Unlike an axe the user doesn’t have to give maximum effort for swinging the axe to cut a log. Just kneel down and put the log on a rigid surface to avoid the risk of slipping and swing the hands for an effortless perfect chop.
Consider the job’s done!
Those who’re off to camping need kindlings for starting a fire. Hatchets are perfect for splitting the kindlings to lit-up fire. Keep the kindling on a solid surface so that the chances of slipping gets minimized. Grip the hatchet single handedly and try to give the pressure while swinging the arms to split the kindling. Within a moment the hatchet head will touch the solid surface, bisecting the kindling in two perfect halves. Hatchet is a perfect tool for the campers, who need to light fire after dark. Often it’s an additional load for them to carry a heavy axe with them to do these stuffs. Hatchet being comparatively lighter than an axe is a smart option, as it’s easy to carry. All you need to do is hang it around the waist with a leather sheath and carry it wherever you camp.
If you were ignorant about what’s a hatchet used for on a camping trip, then you must have got a fair idea for which campers carry a tool like this!
Planned a trekking trip with a group of friends and trekked up to a sufficient height where the temperature may go below -16 degree at night? That’s when you need a tinder to light fire. Well, if you’re still thinking about how to use a hatchet for building a tinder, then here it goes:
Once the tinder is found, use it for lighting a fire near the tents, to prevent cold. The same tinders can also be used for building a bon-fire too.
Now you see, how useful a hatchet can be as a camping tool?
Many of you might think, is it possible to take down a tree with a simple hatchet? The answer is yes, of course! You don’t need an axe every time for chopping down a tree! The truth is, whenever a tree is being chopped it leans at a specific direction. The best way to chop down a tree is to reach the underneath of the tree and start hitting it both from the upward as well as the downward side. If you’re trying to chop it off from one specific side, the tree will surely get leaned from a specific side with sufficient risk to lean down towards a specific direction. Whereas, randomly chopping the tree from both upward as well as the downward direction can take it down easily in a few strokes.
Before chopping down a tree, identify a specific portion of a tree. Make sure that the portion is neither too low nor too close to the main branches. Take a portion somewhere from the middle. When you’re almost done with cutting half of the targeted portion, start hitting with the same force at the same angle from the opposite side of the trunk. While swinging your hatchet, use the sharp angles of the razor edge so that it suitably sits on the opposite side of the trunk. That way, you can ease your efforts while chopping the tree.
When you’re assured that the tree will fall down, stand back. Once the tree is taken down, you can use the tool to trim the branches of the tree as well.
Those who’re accustomed with camping, must know that an old tree can’t be a suitable fit for a firewood, as it takes a lot of time to light fire. But dried leaves, stems and branches are incredibly good for lighting a fire. Nothing can be a replacement for a sharp hatchet for snapping off the dried leaves and branches to light a fire in a camping trip.
After collecting dried leaves and branches, use your tool to split them and place one upon another by creating a small debris. It won’t take much time and effort for chopping the dried leaves, branches and stems of a partially dried tree, though. That’s what a hatchet is used for after all while going off to camping in woods!
By now, most of you have realized that ‘a hatchet’ is just not a woodman’s tool or a handyman’s favorite toy, for those of you who have been looking ahead to know how to use a hatchet and for what purposes, a hatchet is used by the users of it.
It’s more of a friendly mate and companion for those who prefer staying outdoors for trekking, camping, rock climbing, etc. Be it for their profession or for lighting fire in a camp, the utility value of a small hand axe like hatchet is always inevitable.