Introduction: Cross Bladed Axe

Picture of Cross Bladed Axe

The axe is one of the oldest tools known to man, and we still use it heavily today. One of the main uses for the axe is to split fire wood. A traditional axe typically splits wood only into two pieces at a single time. So here is a modification I did to a traditional axe in order to achieve multiple splits of wood in a single swing. I wasn't sure if I should call it a cross bladed axe or a crossed blade axe or somewhere in between.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials

Gather your tools and materials:

2 x axe heads

1 x Axe handle


Angle grinder with cutting discs and flap discs (60, 80 & 120 grit)



Bench grinder with stones wheels (40 and 80 grit), buffing wheels and wire wheel.

Sandpaper, various grits 80 to 600 grit

Diamond file

Olive oil

Step 2: Cutting the Axe Head

Picture of Cutting the Axe Head

Using the angle grinder and the cutting disc, cut one of the axe heads in half. I clamped it in the vice and used a really thin cutting disk 0.045". It took me 2 disks to complete the job. Make sure that you wear a particle mask because there tends to be a lot off nasty dust flying around. Of course wear all the other safety gear as well, and depending how you hold the angle grinder the sparks can be really hard on your clothes. Clean up the two pieces of the axe head with the wire wheel on the bench grinder.

Step 3: Grinding

Picture of Grinding

Using the bench grinder with the stone wheels, grind the two side pieces so they are roughly the same shape. I cut a Dayton style axe head in half to create my two side blades so they were not very similar in shape. But the grinding goes quick using the 40 grit stone. Next, align the side blades on the side of the main blade with the cutting edges staggered back. Grind the bottom of the two side blades so they roughly follow the contours of the main axe. They don't have to be perfect because you are going to be filling it in with a heavy weld beads. Next taper the edges of the side blades in preparation for welding and clean up the main blade with the wire wheel.

Step 4: Welding

Picture of Welding

Align the side blades evenly and symmetrical onto the main blade. I used small welding magnets to hold it in place while I tacked it with the welder. Remove the welding magnets and 'go to town' with the welder. The metal is fairly thick so I used the hottest setting on my little welder and went slowly in order to try and get the maxim penetration that I could. After welding I begin cleaning up the surfaces and grinding down the weld. I also cut of the back corners of the side blades to help reduce the weight of the axe head, I also think it looks a little better.

Step 5: More Grinding

Picture of More Grinding

The majority of the grinding was done with the 60 grit flap disk on the angle grinder. This removes a lot of material quickly on the axe head. I found that when the edge of the flap disk began to round off, I could push it into the corner of the side blades and really begin to remove the weld into a smooth contoured shape. After the weld was ground down I went to the finer flap disks and smoothed the entire axe head.

Step 6: Sanding and Polishing

Picture of Sanding and Polishing

Next is the hand sanding process. I started with 80 grit and moved my way to 600 grit. I didn't use a sanding block and just used my bare hands. This process took me a couple hours, but it doesn't require much thought and you can invent other things in your mind as you sand:) Once I got down to 600 grit paper it was time to buff it using the bench grinder and buffer wheels. I have a 3/4 hp bench grinder and the little extra power really helps with the process. I have a selection of cutting and polishing compounds and worked my way through each of them. I was happy with the outcome of the polishing and the end result was an almost mirror like finish.

Step 7: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

After the polishing, I sharpen all the blades on the axe head with a diamond file. I then mounted the axe head on a new hickory handle and used olive oil to treat the wood of the handle. I have never used olive oil on an axe handle before but it seemed to work out pretty good.

Step 8: Test Run

The final step was to actually try out the axe. I had a bunch of fir rounds left over from the winter and the rounds were between 7 and 12 inches in diameter. The wood was dead standing as of last year so the wood was fairly dry, but the majority of the rounds still had the bark on. The axe did really well on the smaller rounds when the bark was off or partially off, but struggled on the larger ones when the bark was fully intact....but maybe it was me that was struggling and perhaps a stronger man could have split the bigger ones as well. Either way, let me tell you that it is an awesome feeling when you do split an entire round into 4 pieces with a single swing. I also think that this design would be great with a smaller axe or hatchet for making kindling. Here is a clip of me splitting a full round:


trailogy (author)2015-03-30

Whoa! This is awesome! I like the way it came out. At first it didn't look so great but the polishing and sanding made it look awesome! Also this is great for your first instructable!

KH4 (author)trailogy2017-03-17

Hey guys, I did another axe (maul) build. Accidentally under another TI name, but here is the new Monster Maul:

busterman (author)2016-10-15

isn`t this one 3 and 4 blade ax original and all rest videos are just copy by this video:

busterman (author)2016-10-15

Nate5b (author)2016-05-20

Thanks for sharing! I saw an attachment like this for a hydraulic log splitter and wondered how well it would (wood?!?!) work with a normal ax. Now I know, thanks.

gr82btnvol (author)2016-04-06

Are you selling these? I am very interested in one for my dad. Please let me know if you are..

arlis1947 (author)2016-03-29

are you selling these

bobbyflatscreen (author)2015-05-02

Nice, it doubles Speed

more than doubles.

RobertW201 (author)2016-03-27 I made it a year before K

EricB163 (author)2016-03-23

Are you selling these? I may be interested. Let me know.

smarico58 (author)2015-08-26

My question is, why did you stagger the blades the way that you did? I am curious to know if there is a design advantage to having the secondary blade back like that or if the tool can be improved with the blade forming a true cross (being completely perpindicular). Also, I wonder if this could be done with a maul to give the hardwood people something to use...

NeoklisD (author)smarico582016-03-21

of course there is an advantage to this, the primary blade cuts into the wood first, thus allowing the secondary blade to strike and chop the wood to 4 pieces. If it was at the same level as the primary blade it would require much more power to cut through and it would be really hard.

beneris1 (author)2015-07-28

i was thinking of the same thing about a year ago :D

SamB10 (author)2015-05-12

Cool name suggestion: The Cruciaxe

fasteddy999 (author)2015-05-09

That is all well and good for soft wood. I have to split post oak. I use a Monster Mall, and some times have trouble.

merlehanna (author)2015-05-07

Very,very nice my friend...great job!

LouisR4 (author)2015-05-07

Paint it all black and they will call it an Assault Weapon and then it will be banned !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HoldOnTight (author)2015-05-07


thoms_here (author)2015-04-18

"Boiled Linseed Oil" is all you need for an axe handle, hammers etc. Watch just about any video on youtube by the extremely popular axe guy "wranglerstar", thats where I learned of it.. His website is Great reviewer of axes.

RonaldMegill (author)2015-04-16

You should patten it before someone else does

weish (author)2015-04-02

looks great, I imagine all that extra weight behind it is part of why it still performs pretty well. once you're used to it I bet those larger rounds will get easier to split as well.

i'd be concerned about the olive oil you treated the handle with, just because it can go rancid and i'd hate to have to use an axe with a handle reeking of rancid oil, but I could be mistaken, I've never used it as a wood treatment before

spark master (author)weish2015-04-02

My wooden spoons do not go rancid and smell, I do wash them, but that never takes it all out. I do humble suggest mineral oil though. It is cheaper and if rancidity is an issue , (and it can be), nothing grows on it. Consider waxing the head before use and after cleaning, (if you have lotsa sap). Keeps away rust, pitting (you have it at a very nice buff), and makes it slippery when it goes through. But I wood imagine it is gone shortly after splitting a few rounds. Think RainX!

LoganSix (author)spark master2015-04-02

I was wondering about that. New to axe care. My dad usually handled that or we never really had a rust issue.

What type of wax do you use? Would RainX work instead of wax?

weldor (author)LoganSix2015-04-02

I usually just sray mine with good ol' WD-40 for keeping rust away

weldor (author)weldor2015-04-02

As for protecting the handle, most new but, not all, handles come prefinished with a clear satin. I have used a new wax ring for a toilet as a wood finish on wood for years as a means of waterproofing walking sticks and wooden knife handles. It has a great finish and seems to hold up really well too

spark master (author)weldor2015-04-03

wd 40 is exceptionally flammable and so no issues on wood to be burned, but a misspray on a rag or your shirt next t a fireplace could get err.....excitingMy buddy uses it at the range to start the wood stove on cold mornings!

I never thought of the toilet wax rings!!! heck as long as they're new...chuckle. Perhaps on my next hiking stick as a finish. Gotta check price to see what works!

static (author)spark master2015-04-14

Worried about the price of toilet wax ring? ask a plumber to save the old ones they remove. I'm sure they would get laugh out of that request.

weldor (author)spark master2015-04-03

They are around $5us.and that is a lot of wax for the money. It also makes great lube for wood screws and lag bolts

spark master (author)weldor2015-04-03

When I did electrical work we always had a bar of soap in the tool kit, nothing beats it fer cheapness and a 4 inch screw nail will go into a 75 year old 2X4 like hot knife in butter. The carpenters would sometimes grouse but I wasn't buying a beeswax plug for 5 bucks. When I learn to do cabinetry I will buy beeswax I would respond, unless of course you want to donate one. Surprisingly they stopped right there. Ah well, it is a good idea, I will need to find out what kind of wax mix they are.

spark master (author)LoganSix2015-04-02

Any wax should be good, like perhaps, car wax, anything to seal the surface and be slippery, oil would work as well. I would agree that olive oil invites bacteria, but most oil do as well. You could heat up some mineral oil and melt in some caning wax, (paraffin wax), mix it well and when cooled be paste wax. rub on a dab and rub it out. No rust

But you got me thinking, while I said RainX as a semi joke, the car wax substitutes with teflon, could be better as a base rub then a wax overlay. That stuff will get in the pores of the steel, (micro-fine scratches, steel does not have pores), and the wax over coating will even them out, but will wear with each chop.

On my walking sticks I just use mat varathane, outdoor type is best. On leather I like Carnuba paste waxes from Tandy.

zacker (author)weish2015-04-02

I bet it would be great to use one of those new composite handles on... I have a

10 lb sledge and an 8 lb maul with those handles, they can take a beating!

Aaronius (author)2015-04-13

This axe is BEAUTIFUL! Great job! Now I will have to make one!

Think_Design_Build (author)2015-04-10

This is such a cool instructable! It is a genius idea that seems very simple and appears very effective. Just wondering, have you considered making a splitting wedge in the same style? Also making a sheath seems difficult, do you have a plan for that?

tyler roberts (author)2015-04-09

now do a cross blade splitting maul.

andreyeurope (author)2015-04-09

Is it effective?

Invention1 (author)2015-04-08

Ditto the heat treating comment.

I got sick of replacing wooden handles in my splitting maul, so I found an old axle and welded it in place instead. Had it now 30 years no need to replace the handle. (Use a solid piece of steel, a hollow tube will bend). I burn several cords a year, split it all, whacked the handle against logs all the time it has never bent or broken. It adds a good 6 lbs to the 8 lbs maul, which I can handle (I'm not big, but skilled) but most amateur splitters cannot. I give them the old axe. I'd recommend the same project, but start with a splitting maul head instead of an axe, and use a steel handle. Your grandkids will still be using it, if anyone is still burning wood in the 22nd century. Here's a pretty good review of hardening steel:

Conor M (author)2015-04-08

I like the shine

corneliusarkeveld (author)2015-04-06

Here in Oz our wood is as hard as the face of our foreign minister, but i'm sure your axe would work as well. The only problem is you have created a work of art and anything I make will pale by comparison. Thanks for sharing your idea in here.

Madrigorne (author)2015-04-05

I would call it the Exe.

KH4 (author)Madrigorne2015-04-05

Ha Ha. I like it! Or maybe the Axe Plus :)

balisticsquirel (author)2015-04-05

I LOVE to see people taking crazy ideas and actually following through with them. :)

c_madsen (author)2015-04-05

That looks amazing. Beautiful metalwork. Thanks for sharing.

silverbackman (author)2015-04-02

Do you think moving the two halves closer to the edge of the main blade would help with the larger logs? I'm thinking that part of the problem is that the main blade has started to move the first split open before the side blades start to do the second split. On the bigger logs, you might need more "blade" in the second split in order to get them to split easier (did that make any sense?).

Either way, wicked cool axe!

KH4 (author)silverbackman2015-04-04

Thanks for the thoughts. I am making a second prototype and I will be tweaking some of the angles and offsets. My 'first guess' was pretty good I think, but I knew there would always be some room for improvement.

wandrews3 (author)2015-04-03

neat idea. Very aesthetically pleasing. I have a concern for heat treatment, however. Your axe blades are hardened and tempered in a certain fashion to allow durability while maintaining sharpness and allowing some "give" in the metal so that it doesn't shatter under use or impact. I see that you are getting desirable results right now, but think you will get great LONG TERM results after heat treatment is addressed, if you haven't already. When you cut the blade in half, you likely disturbed the original treatment of the blade. And in welding, at such a high heat as you describe, you again likely (albeit unintentionally) put stressors in the blades that may prove dangerous or even disasterous at some point. Just a suggestion, maybe have someone proficient in heat treatment (blacksmith or bladesmith in your area) anneal, harden and temper your invention. Great job otherwise!

KH4 (author)wandrews32015-04-04

Thanks. The axe head seems pretty solid as is, but I will consider heat treating my next prototype. I think you are the second to mention this, and I think it's a good idea.

wcgems (author)2015-04-02

You need to patent that thing ASAP!!!

KH4 (author)wcgems2015-04-04

Thanks, I already took out a provisional patent before I posted here on the Instructables.

walkingpureheart (author)2015-04-04


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