"Good blocks of beech it was I split,
As large around as the chopping block;
And every piece I squarely hit
Fell splinterless as a cloven rock.
The blows that a life of self-control
Spares to strike for the common good,
That day, giving a loose my soul,
I spent on the unimportant wood." ~Robert Frost, Two Tramps in Mud Time
The Axe is much more than a practical woods and farm tool. It's one of humankind's earliest tools and one of America's most important symbols. It's a symbol of our pioneering spirit, independence, and connection to the land.
For me, the axe really is a thinking tool. In it's use as a tool it requires sensitivity, finesse, and more brains than brawn. As a symbol it tells us much about our history before and after the civil war, the industrial age, and who we are today.
(An old stone grinding wheel.)
This is a unique class where we will discuss the history and development of the American Felling axe, it's presence in pastoral poetry and art and what that means for us today. Then we'll get to some serious chopping. This class will stimulate your mind just as much as your arm muscles.
(Chopping with a safe leg position and platform to protect the axe blade.)
What we'll cover:
- Axe Types and History
- The Axe as a Thinking Tool
- The Axe as a Symbol
- Other Homestead Tools
- Pastoral Art and the Modern Human
- How to Really Swing an Axe
- Swing an Axe with Minimal Strength
- Switching Hands
- Axe Safety
- Field Sharpening and Equipment
- How to Carry a Log in the Field
***Work boots or heavy leather hiking boots and eye protection are required. Gloves are optional.***
This is different from the splitting classes we've done. We'll get the hang of switching hands while chopping through a log. It takes some practice developing the dexterity and feel of swinging an axe while switching hands.