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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Huge Heavy Broadaxe. Reply to topic
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Wed 02 May, 2012 8:33 am    Post subject: Huge Heavy Broadaxe.         Reply with quote

I purchased this Broadaxe a long time ago at maybe a gun or antique show but I don't remember exactly when or where.

Decided to take a few pics of it as it's an interesting axe and people might like having a look at it and might have some ideas about purpose, age or provenance.

It's not a war axe and most certainly a wood working axe used in squaring timbers or something like it.

Statistics:

With handle 36" total length.
Head edge length 12 3/4".
Head width from hammer face to edge 10"
Maximum thickness on hammer 1 1/2"
P.O.B. 28 1/2" from the end of the handle ( Very much head heavy ..... Laughing Out Loud )

WEIGHT: 9 lbs 2 oz.

Nice texture but no visible rust on the very dark patina.

Very very massive axe and weapon usage would be very impractical as recovery from a blow would be very very slow: Not designed for fighting, obviously, but just speculating how it could have been used if pressed into service if nothing else was available i.e. wood worker surprised by a raid while working.

One side of the axe is completely flat and the other side has a much more complex shape with central ridge and bevels.

In one of the pics the blade look crooked but this is just due to the shape of the bevels and don't mean that the other side is anything but dead flat. ( Sort of an optical illusion due to the way the axe is lighted for the pic ).

Probably French or Colonial French Canadian 19th century or earlier Question



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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

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PostPosted: Wed 02 May, 2012 9:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Exactly right. its used for squaring up timbers. http://www.traditionalwoodworker.com/Broad-Ax.../367-7505/
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Wed 02 May, 2012 9:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the link Christopher.
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Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

Posts: 160

PostPosted: Wed 02 May, 2012 2:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have two broad-axes in the shed that belonged to my grandfather - he was a timber cutter during the great depression. They appear to differ slightly in that the blade edge has very little curve at all, they appear to be almost dead straight. Probably just a different manufacturer.
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Lin Robinson




Location: NC
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PostPosted: Wed 02 May, 2012 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It looks old but may not be as old as you think. These things were made continuously for a very long time and I see a lot of them in antique stores around here which are configured exactly like yours. It is for squaring timbers and I have used one in the past for that purpose. They were also made in different sizes.
Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Christopher Lee




Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia
Joined: 18 Apr 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 02 May, 2012 7:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One of my grandfather's broad axes from my shed.


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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Wed 02 May, 2012 7:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher Lee wrote:
One of my grandfather's broad axes from my shed.



Yes it does look like the same type of axe head and even the surface bevels have similar ridge lines.

I does look more squarish/rectangular as opposed to the more half circle rounded shoulders on mine: Maybe regional and period variations of the same type of axe ?

I don't see any makers or manufacturers mark(s) or brand on it's plain but textured surface.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!


Last edited by Jean Thibodeau on Wed 02 May, 2012 8:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Wed 02 May, 2012 8:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:
It looks old but may not be as old as you think. These things were made continuously for a very long time and I see a lot of them in antique stores around here which are configured exactly like yours. It is for squaring timbers and I have used one in the past for that purpose. They were also made in different sizes.


Probably a very old design in continuous production for many centuries and probably still being made today but maybe more mass produced and less organic in design ?

In any case it would be nice to know that it's very old but it could be 19th century or even early twentieth century ?

It is a nice piece in good shape.

In use I think one would use it's heavy weight rather than fighting it to do the squaring of logs as I don't think one would want to spend all day using it in an energy inefficient way.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Scott Woodruff





Joined: 30 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Wed 02 May, 2012 9:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I found an axe almost precisely like that in my grandfather's garage after he passed away. I looked up the makers mark and found that it dated from 1818-1824! Research on the net showed similar axes going for $8-20 a piece.
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Sa'ar Nudel




Location: Haifa, Israel
Joined: 02 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Thu 03 May, 2012 1:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is (roughly) a Pennsylvania pattern broadaxe, probably mid-19th century. The haft is nice but wrong, should you want an historically correct one. Theoretically, if you acid-etch the entire head we will be adle to date it mote accurately. It is about as large as they came, the form has evolved from British broadaxe of the 18th century.
There is a very nice but rather rare book about the subject: American Axes by Henry Kauffman.

Curator of Beit Ussishkin, regional nature & history museum, Upper Galilee.
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