The axe is an object full of tradition and history, considered a very simple object. Not until you dig deep you find challenges and understandings that makes you realize it might be harder than it look to create something new and innovative. This project has been about designing an object we all take for granted.
The axe we know today has been around for thousands of years, and seen from an historical perspective may have been the most important tool used by man. But during the later part of the 20th century, the use of axes has declined and it is now seen as a secondary tool due to the invention of the chainsaw and other technological innovations. The target group got smaller and more niched into a group of core users that still treated the axe with care and respect. When this happened, the producers of axes started to niche their products as well, and replaced evolution with tradition and heritage to satisfy the remaining customers.
The aim with this project was to combine history with new material usage and manufacturing methods, and by doing this it would be possible to produce something more complete and balanced. By thinking of weight and shape instead of tradition, you get something that can be used in more ways and in more places than a a traditional axe or a chainsaw. I wanted the user to think of the object as more than an axe, he or she should feel safe when using it, and giving them the feeling of an extended part of themselves.
This Ironbearded axe, or Goosewing axe, has a carbon fibre handle which is stronger and lighter than any wooden handle. The length of the handle is made for one hand usage that wont induce fatigue on the forearm muscle. The axehead is a refined shape of a traditional viking axe that has existed almost as long as the iron axe itself, the shape allows a greater blade length without having to make the rest of the head bigger and heavier. The shape also allows the user to put his hand in the gap between the blade and handle to use it as a carver. The poll (backside of axehead) works as a counter weight to the blade which increases the aim and balance of the axe, and can also work as a hammer thanks to its square shape.
This axe is not a replacement for all axes, but is made to be used by those who travel greater distances by foot in rough terrain, for example hikers and campers, or to be used by those who’s profession demands a light and versatile axe.
MA degree project 2012