After the saw the axe is one of the most useful tools in the earlier stages of any piece of work. Axes are of various kinds, manufactured for different purposes. An axe of American construction, very suitable for slojd work, is shown in Fig. 45. The edge and faces are slightly curved, and ground on both sides. The axe should not weigh more than about 2 lbs., that it may, without trouble,be wielded by one hand. The handle, of hard and tough wood, such as oak or ash, should be curved so as to fall well into the hand, and the axe shaft must be firmly secured by wedges into the eye of the axe-head.
Fig. 44. Groove-saw. \.
Fig. 45. Axe. Ohio pattern, 1/7.
In working with the axe the wood is supported on a block, formed of an evenly sawn-off piece of the trunk of a tree. The best tree for this purpose is the poplar.
The surface of the block must always be kept free from sand, which would destroy the edge of the axe.
It is of the utmost importance for beginners to hold the piece of wood in such a way that the hands may receive no injury.
In grinding (see under this head, pp. 115-118) the axe and all other edge-tools, the tool must be held steadily against the grindstone, in order that the bevelled edge may be quite regular and of the same breadth, not waving. The two bevelled edges should form an angle of about 20°.
Grinding the axe.