The broad axe is used for shaping logs and heavy pieces of wood by hewing. It is also sometimes used to peel a tree.
This axe weighs approximately 1.5-3.5 kg and is characterized by a wide blade (up to 40 cm) with one bevel. The stem is 25-40 cm long and is held with one or both hands.
The trunk is first smeared (see chalk line) to indicate the shape to be obtained. If little wood has to be removed, the carpenter immediately proceeds to work with the broad axe; he stands next to the trunk and thus cuts in the direction of the fibers. If the sapwood is too thick, he chops notches in it with the felling axe (1) to about 0.5-1 cm from the line; the distance between the notches (90-180 cm) (2) depends on the type of wood and also on the piece (straight fibers or not). The wood between the notches is then cut away with the felling axe. The rough surface is cut evenly against the line with the broad axe. The broad axe is the iconic tool of the (ship) carpenter.
The tool can be distinguished from the carpenter's axe. [MOT]
(1) According to SALAMAN: 24, a hollow drawbar with rectangular sides is sometimes used.
(2) eg JOUSSE 1751: 6.