I attended a extremely incredible Ax coaching and certification class for path maintainers this previous Friday supplied by the Appalachian Mountain Membership in New Hampshire. It’s the one such course supplied in the USA and teaches you how one can sharpen an ax, cling an ax on a brand new deal with, chop up downed timber blocking trails, and the security procedures to stop planting a razor-sharp axe in your leg or chest. It was effectively value attending for the $25 class price!
This Ax coaching certification class can be required for all path maintainers, volunteers, or skilled path crew members within the White Mountain Nationwide Forest, which can be the one nationwide forest or nationwide park that requires it. The Whites have over 40 path upkeep golf equipment and organizations that preserve the 1400+ mile path system, so there’s a great want for standardized coaching. Over 400 college students from 13 states attended the course this 12 months, whereas domestically, the variety of ax-related accidents that happen within the White Mountains has dropped sharply.
This Ax coaching class is a hands-on 1-day course that begins with studying how one can sharpen an ax utilizing a mill bastard file and a sharpening stone. Whereas I’ve used splitting mauls fairly extensively (the place you break up rounds of wooden alongside the grain), I’d had little earlier expertise with a chopping axe (the place you narrow right into a tree perpendicular to the grain) as you’d discover on horizontal blow-downs blocking trails. Having a really sharp axe is crucial for one of these work so it is smart that the course begins with sharpening.
I arrived at class with a 3.5 lb Snow and Neely Ax which I realized was a very good weight for path upkeep work and about one of the best metal you may count on from a contemporary store-bought ax. I then spent near 2 hours sharpening it, beneath the watchful eyes of our instructors who offered intensive individualized instruction since all of us confirmed up with completely different axes requiring completely different levels of remediation. We additionally realized fairly a bit about how one can inform good ax heads that preserve an edge from mediocre ones and what to search for in a higher-quality classic ax head in the event you’re fortunate sufficient to seek out one in an vintage retailer or backyard sale.
After lunch, we headed off into the woods to study correct security procedures and to observe chopping up timber. A razor-sharp ax may be fairly harmful to make use of and it pays to study the standardized security strategies for assessing and planning cuts when eradicating downed timber and ax dealing with. For instance, when a tree falls within the forest, it usually takes different timber down with it creating widow makers and spring poles that you just need to clear out of your work space earlier than you begin to chop up a tree. Equally, when stepping over a tree, it pays to place it down on the bottom, so that you don’t unintentionally fall on it and lodge it in your chest or leg.
When chopping, you need to strike the tree at a 45-degree angle and alternate between the precise and left sides, switching the place of your palms whenever you change instructions. It’s a surprisingly gradual and exhausting course of, though I suppose you construct up your stamina in the event you do it frequently. However you rapidly perceive why a form axe is a essential prerequisite for achievement.
In the event you’re involved in taking this class or the chain noticed certification coaching that the AMC additionally gives, the courses are listed at Open air.org (Search on Vacation spot: Camp Dodge) and are supplied frequently all year long. I take advantage of a chainsaw pretty frequently to reap firewood within the White Mountain Nationwide Forest (with a allow) and hope to attend their Chain Noticed Bucking and Limbing Class as effectively.