collection of hatchets leaning against a tree round
Photo: Victor Schrager
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Bury the Hatchet

Q: What makes a hatchet different than an ax? —Rob Luskey, Placentia, California

A: Technically, a hatchet is a type of ax, one that weighs 3 pounds or less. Heavier axes have large heads and long handles, just the thing for heavy-duty work like tree-felling, limbing, and log splitting. You can't put a lot of power into a light, short-handled hatchet; it's better suited to finer work. The hatchet at left was for installing lath, and the one immediately below it was for shingling. They both have polls shaped like hammerheads for driving nails. The squarer, more robust hatchet head in the foreground would be good for splitting kindling.
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