A hand tool for cutting and splitting wood, with the head set in line with the handle (cf. adze). Axes vary in size from one-handed hatchets to two-handed felling axes. Precursors of the axe were among the earliest tools made by humans. In forestry, axes (and hand saws) were widely used until the 1960s, when they were superseded by chainsaws.

This definition is abridged from A – Z of tree terms: A companion to British arboriculture.
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