We live in the information age where you can instantly communicate with anyone around the globe or have a car that drives itself. Despite our best efforts, however, some things haven’t changed much in the last couple thousand years. Take the axe, for instance. The design of this basic but crucial tool has remained more or less the same since the first neolithic people strapped sharp flints on the end of a stick.
One new startup, however, is challenging consumers to rethink splitting wood by revamping the classic axe, metamorphosizing it into a true 21st-century tool.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the LeverAxe — an elegant tool that vastly reduces the energy required to chop wood compared to a traditional axe.
Unlike an everyday axe whose bladed wedge is centered over a handle, the LeverAxe’s weight is distributed off-center. What its designers did was to exploit a basic tenant of physics: the principles of the lever.
“Give me a place to stand on, and I can move the earth,” Archimedes once said speaking of the power of the lever. A lever amplifies an input force to provide a greater output force, which is said to provide leverage. While he did not invent the lever, Archimedes gave an explanation of the principle involved in his work On the Equilibrium of Planes.
Archimedes’ law of the lever
Equal weights at equal distances are in equilibrium, and equal weights at unequal distances are not in equilibrium but incline towards the weight which is at the greater distance.
If, when weights at certain distances are in equilibrium, something is added to one of the weights, they are not in equilibrium but incline towards that weight to which the addition was made.
Similarly, if anything is taken away from one of the weights, they are not in equilibrium but incline towards the weight from which nothing was taken.
When equal and similar plane figures coincide if applied to one another, their centers of gravity similarly coincide.
Using the principles of the lever the ancient Egyptians were able to move and lift obelisks weighing more than 100 tons, and the same physics allows the LeverAxe to split wood with far less brute force than people are used to.
The 4.5-lb (2 kg) LeverAxe makes use of wedged metal on a handle to transfer all the momentum to the wood upon impact. It works like a lever because of the altered or offset center of gravity. When the blade hits the wood, energy that would have otherwise gone to waste is now put to good use in a turning effect. This makes it easier to split wood since a single strike is enough to open up the target by 8 cm. This means even skinny people can now chop wood without feeling embarrassed about it. And according to the tool’s inventor Heikki Kärnä, this is one very fast chopper.
“When using a chopping block with a tire setup, you can achieve a burst of strikes at a frequency of 100 strikes a minute. Thus, as an example, using 10 strikes to chop a log would take 6 seconds.”
“Everybody who has tried splitting wood with a traditional axe knows that it takes a lot of power to penetrate and split the wood. Now, you can easily and safely start splitting suitably sized logs from the sides by striking closer to edges. No more need for the futile first heavy strikes just to get the log split in two,” he added.
One caveat, though. At $219, this baby sure doesn’t come cheap.
Correction: the article initially stated this is a tool meant for chopping wood — it’s primary purpose is to split wood instead.