What are the Perfect Woods for Axe Handle

best wood for axe handle

Wood is abrasive material in its original state. Different kind of woods are characterized for  their distinct cell construction. No single piece is even measured by its broad spectrum of the species. For example, oak, hickory or other kind of wood is not comparable to another. Some of the species among the woods are hickory, oak, ash, birch, maple are popularly used for their wide range of patterns and texture. This determinants significantly influences the diverse use of woods ranging from furniture, interior designs, kitchen cabinets or even different tools’ handles.  

Some key aspects linked to woods are hardness, grain pattern, resilience, resistance ability, shock absorption power and suppleness etc. For instance, hardness exclusively deals with the separate category of wooden work. A certain level of hardness is required for flooring as it takes a heavy load while other woodwork may not need the same level of hardness. 

Another important characteristic is, some woods are quite sensitive to metal products due to the presence of chemical properties in their composition. For example, oak containing acid substance is quite reactive to the metal objects that causes oxidation and rusting. So, oak is usually not prioritized compared to hickory for axe handle as it is attached with metallic axe. 

Another key aspect to keep in mind is grain’s alignment with the bloc of potency when the tool starts functioning in swapping motion. 

As hardness and strength varies for each species, there are some excellent tools or measuring scale that categorized wood species based on their level of hardness or firmness. These tools also can help people determine which wood would be best fit for making axe handle.  

Based on your personal experience, sometimes you may get better results in making your own handles than buying them from market, considering which species work best in terms of durability, resilience and few other factors already discussed above.  

Hardwoods are mainly considered to be cherry, oak, maple ash and some other popular species which thrive to grow with the change of climate. Winter season is not favorable for this trees to grow due to extreme cold. While hardwoods that grows in regions located along the Earth’s equator (called tropical countries) having excessive heat round the year are most favorable for rosewood, mahogany, teak etc. This type of woods are ideal for interior use of the houses.  

This article is exclusively designed to talk about the best wood for axe handle. I have compiled the name of some of the best woods for you to consider for your axe handle based on grain configuration, stability, firmness, shock-absorbency, resilience, suppleness etc. orientation

The axe is one of the ancient tools developed in later part of the stone age. This is a kind of gadget that has been used for ages for cutting wood, splitting, shaping or harvesting timber. It can prevent crushing and longitudinal shock. The axe’s head is made of metal. 

While handle is known as the hang. The cutting edge of a well-hung axe corresponds with the straight line with the end point of the handle. As handle is typically tend to fracture while on use, it’s recommended to look at the type of wood you are exploring.

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Hickory is a hardest type of wood which is characterized as strong and flexible for years. It ranked the top for axe handle. Its can absorb massive shocks without splitting or fracturing. Hickory handles are recognized for their quality and durability among axe users all around the world.

Oak Wood

Oak is also popular for its hardness and resilience features. Its higher thickness compared to any other woods influence people to buy this for axe handle. This wood is not only ideal for making axe handle but also great choice for furniture pieces. It is extremely potential to deal with  contact shock to absorb. It is pest and fungous resistant. The only limitation of Oak is that it might damage over time if not routinely maintained with oil.


Ash is the most common wood used to make handles specially in European countries. It is the right wood choice for axe handle because of its long fibers and viability for impact shock absorption. Other key aspect is its flexibility and strength. The only limitation is, it does not that much resilient to outdoor set-up compared to hickory or oak. Read more: 7 Best Carpenter Hatchets

Sugar Maple Wood

Sugar Maple, also known as Hard Maple, is ethnic North American tree. It is much harder than Hickory and Ash, but unfortunately for its excessive strength, it tends to be more fragile than the other woods. But if you can season the grain properly, it would also give you a desirable performance for your axe handle.   

Yellow Birch 

Yellow Birch is the tangible choice of wood for axe handle because of its hardness. It does not tend to crack compared to Sugar Maple. Most people prefer it to maple in case of this two option.

Final Notes

As discussed in the article, the key features of the wood would lead you to decide which wood option is best for your axe handle as your axe handle has to deal with strength and absorption. When strength is your priority, then I would suggest you to approach to the Hickory, Oak, Sugar Maple or Yellow Birch. For level of vibration, you can go for Ash, Oak or Yellow Birch. You also can apply your personal experience in choosing the wood for your axe handle that might best fit for your work. 

I hope this compilation of best wood choice for axe handle would help you get the right one for your project. Your axe handle may need simple maintenance. Clean your handle with the paper towel to remove dirt, then apply a thin layer of linseed oil and let it dry to keep it in good working condition. 

We always appreciate your feedback, comments, query to provide you with the better service at earliest convenience. As usual, always maintain safety protocol while working in your workshop to avoid work place hazards and injuries.  

Last Updated on January 18, 2021 by John Dylan

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