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Author Topic: How in the world do you use a brush axe?  (Read 3843 times)

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Offline shinnlinger

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How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« on: March 27, 2018, 10:11:13 PM »
 

 
So I recently acquired a few of these brush axe deals and this one had a decent handle, so I basically cleaned, oiled and sharpened it up.  But what to do with it?  The interweb is surprisingly devoid of information but shows 2 different, conflicting  approaches.  One guy drives it directly into the dirt, which can't be right, and another, prominent Utube personality claiming to show the "proper way" by using it high, like a regular axe, and it quickly becomes evident he has no idea what he is is doing and sums up his performance by denouncing the tool altogether.  .  Yesterday I Had little luck mimicking these fellers , but today was a little better when I swung it like a slap shop/golf T drive as low as I could.  I had some success yanking back in tight spaces as well.  I think part of my issue is I'm 6' 4" and the handle is only 36" and pretty much like a normal axe handle.  It seems short.  I'm thinking I will make a longer, straight handle for my other one, but hoping I can get some decent advice here.  

Thanks.

Dave
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Offline JB Griffin

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2018, 10:27:41 PM »
The "proper" guy on youtube admits he doesn't know how to use it and then goes on to demo the "proper" way. Got no use in him anymore. 

I have one identical to yours and am rough on it, stick it in the dirt, hit rocks, etc.. basically what I won't do with my chainsaw. "Proper" or not its what I do.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2018, 11:01:28 PM »
Tell me its wranglestar.  
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2018, 06:23:46 AM »
Sounds about right Mike
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Offline Don P

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2018, 07:38:06 AM »
That looks a little funky to me. The ones I've used are mounted on the end of the handle and are double edged. The inside hook where yours is sharpened is for limbs or down below you like on a hill or ditch or reaching into something like a rose, the outer curve is also sharpened and is the edge most often used.

Offline Magicman

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2018, 07:51:02 AM »
I have never been fond of a brush axe/blade.  It is kinda between an axe and a ditch bank blade and for my use, does not measure up to either.  Nothing beats an axe for chopping nor a ditch bank blade's longer handle for knocking back briers without getting "brier'ed.
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2018, 08:10:51 AM »
As a boy, I was allowed to use an axe but not the brush axe that was in the shed. All the old timers said they where too dangerous.

Offline TKehl

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2018, 08:32:52 AM »
Council Tool sells both the single bit brush ax like the OP shows and a double bit like Don P mentions.  

http://counciltool.com/brush-cutting-shrubbing/

I was excited when I got one at an auction as a brush ax has sounded like a good tool.  But now that I have one, I'm with shinnlinger in scratching my head how to use it effectively.   :D
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Offline Kbeitz

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2018, 08:41:06 AM »
I have better luck using a machete than a brush ax.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2018, 09:53:08 AM »
I prefer a 6 way blade.  Mounted to a good dozer. 
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Offline bluthum

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2018, 11:29:07 AM »
Decades ago as a young lad I worked for the USCEC and we had those in the tool line up. We had a different name for them which wouldn't be allowed on this site. Anyway no one wanted to use one but it was some times the go to tool for smaller sprouts on steep rocky banks. Swung like an axe. I have no desire to use one ever again. Wicked looking though, sorta like some medieval battle tool.

Offline SawyerTed

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2018, 11:44:58 AM »
 As a young teenager I did odd jobs of all sorts, one couple I worked for was in their 80s.  They had a ditch bank behind their house that had briars, weeds and tree sprouts up to a couple inches in diameter.  Mr. Payne had two tools available, a mowing scythe and a bush axe.

His bush axe was double sided and the handle bolted on the butt end of the blade.  I could use either side to cut brush.  It took two days to clean that bank.   Mr. Payne showed me and I learned how to use and sharpen that bush axe.  You swing it like an axe but cut diagonally down through the saplings or other brush.  When you get good you can leave a very short "stump" close to the ground all be it a sharp one.

I own two now, one I bought 30 years ago the other was my dad's.  I've picked them up a couple of time in the last 15 years but just to move them out of my way.
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Offline ESFted

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2018, 12:00:38 PM »
The survey crews at my last engineering firm used those to clear survey lines. Swung like an axe against brush and saplings. As said above, diagonal cuts close to the ground and watch out for the sharp stumps.
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #13 on: March 28, 2018, 12:25:17 PM »
My dad had one he called a bush hook.
I used it to cut horse trails when I was a pup.
I mis-placed it and never found it.
My dad reminded me of this fairly often til the day he died.
as I recall it worked ok.
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Offline james

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2018, 12:50:14 PM »
leaves sharp stumps also known as tire go flatters or punji sticks
james

Offline gspren

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2018, 03:15:09 PM »
I have one that hangs on a nail in the pole building, looks impressive but doesn't get used.
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Offline JB Griffin

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #16 on: March 28, 2018, 09:52:36 PM »
The double edged ones ya'll are talking bout ain't brush axes, their called ditch blades or more commonly around here kaiser blades. Big difference between um, brush axes are much, much heavier made, my True Temper brush axe blade is 5/16"-3/8" thick. The kaiser blades I've seen were maybe 3/16".
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Offline btulloh

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2018, 12:19:36 AM »
I have one that hangs on a nail in the pole building, looks impressive but doesn't get used.
That's the best place to keep the brush axe.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2018, 08:30:12 AM »
We sell them at the store. In the 3 years I have been there,I don't remember having a customer ask about it.
When we use to cut bushes here and I still do,they had to be cut right down to the ground. I can still hear my Father say,not going to ruin a tractor tire with something sticking up in the air 2 inches. Which is true. Along the edge of one field that would be just about useless. Lots and lots of rocks sticking up. But I suppose the tractor would not be in that area,so a foot high would be OK. But My Father would still not like it. I am too much like my Father's son.  ;D
I have picked it up,at the store,more than once. Seems like a lot of weight hanging out there. We never had one and I have never seen one used.
I just feel it's made for a 19 year old that says I can split wood faster than a wood splitter. :D
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2018, 08:45:22 AM »
I have one of those exact tools. But, I'd rather use a Sandvik brush axe myself. Barring that, I would be firing up my 560 brush saw. No pointy stubs to fall on. I walk my boundary lines, so I don't like pointy sticks poking up from the ground after they get brushed out. ;D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline TKehl

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2018, 09:29:46 AM »
I bought it thinking of clearing rose bushes.  However, once it was in my hand and I was staring at a rose bush, I realized the handle wasn't near long enough and I hadn't thought this through all the way.   :D

Any ideas with dealing with big multiflora rose?  My army of minions (goats) are taking care of the smaller ones, but the ones 6' or taller look like they've been given a bowl haircut with lots of foliage on top of rose stems (almost trunks).   :(  I took out some with a chainsaw (let my minions take care of the regrowth), but don't want to try that trick again.   ;)  Have an electric pole saw now and hoping that will do the trick.   ;D

Oh, and I can still outsplit a splitter.  Just not for as long as I used to could.   :)
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2018, 11:30:52 AM »
How about burning them to a nub then pulling out stump with a chain?
Revelation 3:20

Offline gspren

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2018, 12:28:21 PM »
I bought it thinking of clearing rose bushes.  However, once it was in my hand and I was staring at a rose bush, I realized the handle wasn't near long enough and I hadn't thought this through all the way.   :D

Any ideas with dealing with big multiflora rose?  My army of minions (goats) are taking care of the smaller ones, but the ones 6' or taller look like they've been given a bowl haircut with lots of foliage on top of rose stems (almost trunks).   :(  I took out some with a chainsaw (let my minions take care of the regrowth), but don't want to try that trick again.   ;)  Have an electric pole saw now and hoping that will do the trick.   ;D

Oh, and I can still outsplit a splitter.  Just not for as long as I used to could.   :)
I used a chainsaw attachment on my weed eater and then pushed several on a pile to burn. The goats kept new growth down until they died.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2018, 01:01:30 PM »
TKehl,

   My place here was overgrown with Multiflora roses when we bought it. I got a long cable and would make a big lasso around a pile and the end to the little tractor and get wife or son to drive while I walked along cutting the stumps. Every time I'd cut a stump the noose would tighten. When I'd cut the last one we'd drag them to a tire and through methods not to be further discussed we would burn them. The ones I could reach with the little Gravely tractor with the 30" bush hog on front I could cut. When I got a fence up that would sometimes keep goats in they cleaned up everything. They ate all the greenery they could reach and in winter they'd gnaw the stumps girdling and killing them. Now that they are gone the horse, mule and deer keep them under check. Maybe you just need to give your goats a little more time and cut back on the other feed and make them work harder.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2018, 01:16:02 PM »
Good info.  

Next question, what do you actually do with a goat after its cleared your lot?
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Offline TKehl

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2018, 01:41:42 PM »
How about burning them to a nub then pulling out stump with a chain?


There's too many of them.  Granted, they only get REAL big when they are in the understory and a giant dies and opens a hole...  Will have to get some pictures...

Maybe you just need to give your goats a little more time and cut back on the other feed and make them work harder.


They can't reach high enough.  Some of these bushes are 10' tall and nearly as wide.  They eat all the way around it 5' high though!  They haven't been hungry enough to eat rose bush bark though with all the acorns and Oak leaves available.  :)  They only finished the first bale of hay a few weeks ago.  :D

Maybe waiting would be a good idea though.  Dad has been looking real hard at a brush cutter for the skid steer.  He's already been looking 2-3 years now.  Bet he will buy one in another one or two.  ;D  

Next question, what do you actually do with a goat after its cleared your lot?


Our goats are more profitable than our cattle.  Trying to get to 200 does to make an impact on our place.  Once we have enough to clean up our farm, we will probably look for more overgrown brushy land to rent cheap on a long lease.  Clean with goats, then transition into more cattle.  ;)

They are also good eating.  Similar to deer in a lot of ways.   8)  The biggest difference is a lot less time waiting in a tree stand.   ;)  
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Offline shinnlinger

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2018, 02:08:13 PM »
My reason for my OP is not how to remove brush, but rather if anyone has actually used a brush axe with success, and if so, how?  I am quickly concluding that the answer is probably not. I have chainsaws, tractors, brush saws, winches, diesel fuel, old tires, a flame thrower, brush hog, an InShinnerator  and even access to goats if I wanted, but I really am just curious about these old axes at the moment, but it seems there is a reason they aren't very popular.

Thanks for the interesting responses so far.

Dave
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Offline Raider Bill

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2018, 02:29:10 PM »
Good info.  

Next question, what do you actually do with a goat after its cleared your lot?
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2018, 02:40:04 PM »
LoL

TKehl.  Can you hingcut these things with a pile saw and push them over with a 10ft chunk of conduit?  Let the goats finish em up? 
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Offline TKehl

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2018, 03:13:33 PM »
Can't really hinge it as it's multi stemmed like a shrub.  I have found as long as I get them topped around 3' high, the goats will take care of the rest.  Within a year after it's cut, the top snaps and breaks easy and the goats attack the young sprouts in the middle.  It's just getting in there to make the topping cuts that's difficult and painful.   ;)

Shinnlinger,  my apologies for the hijack.  Betting these were the bee's knees before power tools.  But now they can't hold a candle to a brush saw.  Maybe for vines, but like Kbeitz said about the machete, I'd rather have a kukri (keep one on the 4 wheeler at all times for checking fence).  

On the flip side, I may eventually make a longer handle for mine and try it as long as I'm still able to actually swing it.   ;)
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2018, 04:12:46 PM »
The goats kept new growth down until they died.


I thought you were saying your goats died....
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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2018, 07:10:46 PM »
Our place was overrun with multiflora too. Counting rings on that and poison ivy we figured it had been let go for about 15 years. Some of the roses were over 20' around and up in the 10' range. I tilted the bishhog up as close to vertical as the pto would let it and backed into them high and then came down. They would still reach clear around the tractor and hug me every now and then but we finally got the majority of them mowed out... they are always waiting though.

Offline moresnow

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #32 on: March 30, 2018, 08:59:12 AM »
Survey crew nightmare's with this tool. Miles of cutting line. Overhead/downward swing to limb standing tree's etc. I shudder thinking of the sweat dripping in my eye's as we fought through the super humid, skeeter/tick infested timber.
  That tool only had one positive effect. After work brew never tasted as good!

Needless to say when I started my own company I selected a tool that you pull a rope and squeeze the trigger. Much more effective :D
Brush axe was no longer part of my rig. Haaaaa!
You won't find me on Spacebook. Haaaaaa!

Stihl 441, 009. And a well used Poulan 5020. My firewood gets used in a BK Scirocco 20 Cat stove

Offline Woodcutter_Mo

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #33 on: March 30, 2018, 09:30:54 AM »
 I tried one of them on a multiflora rose bush (we have a different name for them but I better not say it here  ;D) one time just borrowing it to try it out. I went right back to my little Stihl fs90 with the brush blade  ;)
- WoodMizer LT25, Kohler, all manual, old "drag" style WoodMizer sharpener, cat claw single  setter
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- Kioti DK45, '92 Dodge Cummins with Cannonball  bed, '07 Honda Rancher

Online JJ

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #34 on: March 30, 2018, 05:16:55 PM »
I prefer a good pair of bypass loppers in with saplings and brush.
Doesn't wear you out.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #35 on: March 30, 2018, 10:17:45 PM »
I do it all with a tophandle. 
Revelation 3:20

Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2018, 10:27:25 AM »
I spray with 5 percent roundup and push out with my tractor after a couple of yrs.
LT40SHDD51
Kubota 8540 tractor, Farmi winch
Kubota 900 RTV
Polaris 550 Sportsman ATV
1 Husky 1 gas Echo 1 cordless Echo
241 acres of woodland

Offline dgdrls

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #37 on: April 01, 2018, 08:32:28 AM »
Had one in the field truck when I was surveying day to day.  Dandy tool but it will wear you out.

Machete or a Woodsman pal, loppers and rose shears were the ticket for traversing lightly
and brushing sight lines. 

D

Offline enigmaT120

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #38 on: April 08, 2018, 06:39:38 PM »
I have a Swedish brush ax, much lighter than the OP's version.  It works well for stuff like vine maple but as others have pointed out, you have to slash diagonally and leave little pongee sticks. My Stihl brush saw is better for that stuff.  For the roses, that sounds like my problem with big brier patches, and I like to use my scythe with a brush blade on it.  I cut the vines, put the scythe down, reach in and grab the base of the briers and drag them out to some where I can pile them.  
Ed Miller
Falls City, Or

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #39 on: April 08, 2018, 09:02:03 PM »
How to use a brush axe? Very carefully.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #40 on: April 09, 2018, 05:29:08 AM »
Those Swedish Sandvic brush axes are $100 locally and Amazon, $52 from Lee Valley Tools. Free shipping until April 19 I think. ;D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
Dirty Harry

Offline JB Griffin

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #41 on: April 11, 2018, 09:43:57 PM »
I must be the only one here actually still uses one, but then again I am an Axe Junkie. 8)
2000 LT40hyd remote 33hp Kubota, 160 Prentice, Frick 2 saw gang edger, Wright W-37 ABG, Suffolk dual tooth setter, Cat claw single tooth setter,'96 F-250 7.3 PSD 4x4, CS-590 Echo, MF 20c, M681 Memo.

Over 2 million bdft sawn with a Baker Dominator and counting.

Offline TKehl

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2018, 09:20:50 AM »
We'll, I picked up this gem my younger daughter is holding at an auction Saturday.  She helped carry it to the van and looked so cute and vicious.  Had to take the picture to show my wife.   :D



Had to laugh as I bid $3 for choice between this one and one like the OP shows in his picture.  After that, the other one sold for $6.   :)  

So far, with just a few swings, I like this style a lot more than the other brush axe I have.  It may get a spot in the fence rig...  Now I just need to find or make a Bill Hook.   ;)

I was going to take a picture of the rosebushes I mentioned, but when I walked fence, I saw they didn't leaf out this spring.  A few stems still had green when doing a scratch test, but most were d-e-a-d DEAD.  Guess WV Sawmiller was right and I just need more patience.  ;D  I really DO need to take some fenceline pictures though.  It's amazing how much impact the goats have had on one side of the fence compared to where they haven't been!  
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

Offline pineywoods

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2018, 10:35:37 AM »
Tkehl, that is what we call a kaizer blade. I have a couple, sharpen both sides. They come in very handy for dispatching creepy crawly critters that bite..
1995 Wood Mizer LT 40, Liquid cooled kawasaki,homebuilt hydraulics. Homebuilt solar dry kiln.  Woodmaster 718 planner, Kubota M4700 with homemade forks and winch, stihl  028, 029, Ms390
100k bd ft club.Charter member of The Grumpy old Men

Offline 51cub

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Re: How in the world do you use a brush axe?
« Reply #44 on: April 16, 2018, 12:22:13 PM »
 very handy for dispatching creepy crawly critters that bite..
You sure? That handle doesn't look nearly long enough to me!
I believe in the hereafter, because every time I take two steps into the tool crib to get something I wonder " what did I come in here after"


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