There is not much philosophy to wood cutting, is there? You just take an ax, swing and chop. Right? Wrong! And the book titled The Ax Book: The Lore and Science of the Woodcutter will get you to re-think everything about cutting wood. This is a comprehensive guide to woodcutting with hand tools in which the author Dudley Cook explains in detail how to properly and effectively use different types of hatchets, saws, mauls, axes and wedges to cut down trees and prepare firewood.

Not only that, Cook details every single aspect of handling and dealing with wood. As Bud Levit from the Bangor Daily News eloquently put it: “From tree selection to fireside cheer, Cook takes the reader every step in the wood-harvesting process, tree felling, climbing, bucking, wood handling, splitting, cutting to size, storing and burning… vivid, entertaining anecdotes from a lifetime of experience.” The book was originally published by Universe Books in 1981, hence its slightly retro design which we love, under the title Keeping Warm with an Ax and is today considered one of the most comprehensive guides to wood handling. The 2005 edition of The Ax Book: The Lore and Science of the Woodcutter is published by Alan C. Hood & Company, it has 144 pages and contains the illustrations of S. Lawrence Whipple.

Cook is very apt at explaining how to use many types of wood cutting tools since, in many situations, only a hand-operated ax will do, be it at camping, hiking, the rough shaping of lumber, creation of firewood or even planting new trees. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a chainsaw will always do the trick. You need to understand that a good old ax is an indispensable tool for anybody attempting to dwell in the woods, even during a short amount of time. Just before you decide to become a forest dweller, get yourself a copy of The Ax Book: The Lore and Science of the Woodcutter, read it, absorb the wisdom and advice contained within in and chop away with confidence.

Get it from Amazon here.

Daily Newsletter

Subscribe to Jebiga for a dose of the best in gear, design, rides, tech and adventure.