Johan Skullman – Outdoor specialist

We sat down and talked to Johan Skullman, an outdoor specialist, about what to think about when using the cutting edge, ie axes and knives.

Do people buy the wrong axe?

Yes, that is not uncommon, an axe should be appropriate for a primary and possibly a secondary purpose. The axes have different characters, which means that some axes are less suitable for certain types of work.

What type of protective equipment should you wear when handling an axe?

First of all gloves, and if you chop wood regularly, you should also wear goggles.

What is the most important thing to keep in mind when using cutting edges, ie axes and knives?

You should not handle knives and axes alone unless you are able to perform qualified first aid. First aid equipment must always be within arm's length. Not in a bag several meters away. In the event of a wrong grip, it is quite easy to cause real damage to oneself.

Do people that buy an axe know about proper handling?

Unfortunately, not. Many are new cottage owners or outdoor practitioners. You focus on all the things you need, but not on how to use them safely.

What are the most common mistakes users make?

People do not understand the consequence of handling an axe incorrectly. You do not think about how to place the firewood on the chopping block in a safe way, how you should stand and what grip is best suited for the task.

"Just like with the knife, there are a variety of tasks you can do with an axe. Depending on whether you perform the task standing or kneeling, there are different ways to handle the axe."
Johan SkullemanOutdoor specialist

If I'm in the woods and need to prepare to make a fire. How should I think?

When I’m out in the woods, I do not have access to a chopping block. Trying to balance and crack smaller sticks in a safe way therefore requires a different handling. Then it is usually better to get on your knees and place the stick lying on the ground and place the axe on the wood so as not to risk injury. In such a scenario, a full-swing stroke is not used to crack the wood for example.

When carrying the axe out into the woods and fields, what should you keep in mind to transport it safely?

It must be worn so that the edge can not cause any damage, preferably with an edge sheet, that it is firmly attached. The axe can be stuck on a backpack or even better if you can hide the axe head under a lid, the risk of getting caught in something is also reduced. If you have the opportunity, it is good to have it tucked into the pack standing against your back.

Top 3 to use an axe safely

  • First aid kit available to you at any time.

  • Protective equipment: gloves and safety glasses.

  • The right axe and the right work technique.

Anything else to think about?

Maintaining the axe continuously is a good guarantee that it works for what you want it to. A dull axe is a less good axe.

Tools we talked about