by Michael Beaudry
Horizon Publishers, 2005
Soft cover, 6" x 9", 144 pages
In this unique book, the author interweaves experience with history to present an effective and interesting treatment on the use of axes and related tools. He gives detailed instructions on how to fell trees, split wood, make fence rails, hew timbers, make shakes or shingles, and build log buidlings and timber frames. Effective safety procedures are also covered, as well as good axe maintenance and handle-making.
Along with true axemanship also comes a respect for the woods. Beaudry teaches stewardship: a way to protect this valuable resoucre while thinning and taking as much as Nature can comfortably offer. He reports, "For a quarter of a century my woodlot had provided me with logs, beams, poles, shakes, fence posts, firewood, balsam-wreath brush, and maple syrup. I have not, however, depleted the supply of any of the above, and the straightest, tallest trees remain. If one walked my woodlot, he would be apt to say that I have cut too little, not too much."
Beaudry displays an enduring philosophy in these words: "The woodlot, itself, becomes as much the finished product as the timber I am hewing or the firewood I am splitting."
In The Axe Wielder's Handbook, numerous photos and precise drawings combine with the text to create any axe wielder's how-to book of techniques that are of great value to all who want to enjoy the axeman's art. The application of these skills helps any axe wielder's job become easier and enjoyable. It's a compelling presentation of an art that is both ancient and modern.