How to Identify & Value Antique Broad Axes (Guide 2023)

Are you planning to resell your grandfather’s old carpentry tools? Well, search his shed and see if you get any funnel-like broad axe. And if that axe looks old and rusty, it’s a jackpot! That’s because you don’t get broad axes now! So, they are rare and in demand!

But at what price will you sell your broad axe? To calculate it, you must see if it has any special features. And today, I’ll help you spot those features in this antique broad axe price guide! So just clear the rust, and check the details with me!

Key Takeaways

  • Old, handmade broad axes don’t have any marks or numbers. So, look for twisted heads, hammered blades, and bevels to trace their age!
  • You can get two types of antique broad axes – single and double bevel. Of these, the double-bevel one is costly, while the single one is usable. 
  • Pick antique broadaxes with an ash, maple, or cherry wood handle for the best returns.
  • Check if your axe’s blade is stone, iron, or brass. Otherwise, it might be new and cheaper.

How Do You Check If Your Broad Axe Is Old & Antique?

Antique Broad Axe with a Rusty, Alloyed Iron Blade

Hold your broad axe with its sharp edge away from your body. Now, see if it has one flat face and one bevel face. If yes, it’s an antique broad axe costing $200 – 500. If not, it might be a new, forged model. So, check the bevels properly!

But what if your piece is rusty? Checking the bevels becomes tough, right? So here are more features to check:

  • Twisted sockets with 5 – 6 inch clearance and flat edges
  • 20-inch long axe with a 7-inch blade and over 8 pounds of solid wood handles
  • Scissor-shaped bevels with a 330mm sharp edge and hickory throats
  • Concave axe shoulders and flattened toes, heels, and knobs

How Did Antique Broad Axes Evolve?

Can you guess what the first broad axe was made of? Well, it was stone and bone, just like any other stone age tools! But what is different is their precious, handmade designs and lacquers! Plus, you might love their hammered blades and handles too!

It was in the 1800s that metals came into the picture! So, the makers used all of those – bronze, iron, and copper for the blades! But, these pure metals rusted with age and lost their sharpness. Most of them are rare and precious today!

The later 1900s era was tricky! Like, makers did use steel alloys for light, fancy broad axes. But, people stopped using it and moved to the flexible felling saw! So, you’ll get these axes for less money!

2 Types of Antique Broadaxes & Their Valuation

It’s true that broad axes don’t have many designs! But we can divide them into two types based on their use and blades to guess the price!

1. Single Bevel Broad Axe

Vintage Single Bevel Broad Axe with a Bog Iron Blade

As the name suggests, single-bevel axes have one flat and one chiseled edge. So, they have a wider one-side swing and a curved handle for better grip. They also have rough, bog-iron edges and fired blades for easy cutting. These axes are sturdy and cost $200 – 300.

2. Double Bevel Broad Axe

Old Double Bevel Broad Axe with a $200 value

Check if your broad axe has two chiseled sides and scallops. If yes, it’s a double-bevel axe! You’ll also see straight handles, flutes, and a double-swing blade with these. Plus, most have a stamped, cast-steel blade and seasoned handles and cost $400 – 500.

6 Factors to Identify & Value Antique Broad Axes

Bevels change every antique broad axe’s value, just as we saw. But do you know that even age and materials impact its total cost? Let’s see how!

1. Antique Broad Axe’s Date & Age

Old and Rusty Broad Axe from the 1800s

We all love ancient, Neolithic-era tools for their handmade make, right? So, if you want crude, rusty artifacts, pick the 1700s models. And, if you want it durable and metallic, the 1800s models are best!

But, if you want a usable broadaxe, pick the 1900s model. Here, you can pick axes with a double swing and head for better cutting.

But most antique broadaxes don’t have any date! So, I’ll tell you how to guess its year!

How Do You Spot a 1700s Broad Axe?

If your broadaxe has crude bone or wood handles, a one-side swing with short handles, it must be a 1700s broadaxe! You’ll also see bog iron blades and oxidized edges, valuing up to $600. Plus, there won’t be any welding marks or numbers!

How Does a 1800s Broad Axe Look?

Look for broad axes with welded ferrules and flat slopes on either side. You can even find hand-hammered blades and machine-polished handles with this one! Next, check its weight! If it’s 6-7 pounds, it’s an 1800s model, costing $400. But if it’s lighter, it might be new!

How Do You Spot Old Broad Axes from the 1900s?

Check if your broad axe has 4-5mm steel blades with sharp, tempered edges. Also, measure its handle. If it’s long, about 16 – 17 inches, it’s a 1900s axe! You can even see some etched patent numbers or logos with them! So most of these are branded, costing $100 – 300.

Here are some antique broad axe patent numbers for help!

YearAgePatent NumberAverage Valuation
1900s123 yearsUS8925207B2$300 – 450
198637 yearsWO1988000112A1$200 – 300
198439 yearsUS4586258A$100 – 150

Check if the broad axe comes in both the right and left swing versions for the best returns.

2. Vintage Broadaxe Handle’s Wood

Antique Broad Axe with an Ash or Hickory Handle

Well, it’s obvious that every broad axe has a wooden handle! But, if it’s straight-grained or seasoned wood, you can raise the costs by 5 – 10%. Similarly, you’ll have a fast resell if the handle has natural wood knots and blemishes.

But, if your handle has a new stained wood or MDF handle, it might not cost that much. And even composite or faux wood handles are a big no for high returns!

Want to know how wood impacts broad axe value? Here’s a price guide:

Old Broadaxe Handle’s WoodAverage Valuation
Ash, Maple, European Beech$160 – 200
Hickory, Alder or Willow$100 – 120
Birch or Cherry$80 – 100
Red Elm or Pine$50 – 80
Pecan, White Oak or Red Oak$30 – 40
European Birch or Basswood$10 – 20

Pick axes with lacquer, oil, paraffin, or shellac-finish handle for high returns.

3. Old Broadaxe Blade Materials

Old Broad Axe with a Cast Iron Blade

Get a scale and measure the thickness of your blade. If it’s 15 – 20mm thick, it might be of stone or microlith. But if it’s 10 -12mm thick, you might have a metallic cast iron blade. And you can price such axes for $100 – 120.

But, if the blade is very thin, say 4-5mm thick, it might be steel or aluminum. So, you won’t get more than $60 for its new machine make!

Here’s a list of how different blade materials impact a broadaxe’s cost:

Old Broadaxe Blade’s MaterialsAverage Valuation
Stone or Microlith$100 – 150
Cast Iron & Zinc $100 – 120
Brass, Bronze & Copper$80 – 90
Alloyed Steel & High Carbide Steel$50 – 80
Stainless Steel & Aluminum$40 – 60

Avoid buying shiny or galvanized blade saws as they might devalue your axe by 10 – 12%.

4. Antique Broad Axe Brands

Vintage Broad Axe Brands with Stained Wood Handles

If you want a polished, high-quality broad axe, get the ones signed by ‘Kangaroo’ or ‘D. Drake.’ These branded axes are not only fancy but hike your broad axe value by 20 – 25%. What’s more? They even come with superior cutting edges and heels for easy chopping!

So, to check your broad axe’s brand, look for logos or marks on its handles. Or see if they have a ‘Made in London’ stamp for a foreign make. If yes, you can price your piece up to $500.

Check out these vintage axe brands and their estimated costs for help!

Old Broadaxe NameManufacturerAverage Valuation
Rafting Axe with Gum HandleCollins$130 – 150
Coopers Broad AxeKolp & Seybold$200 – 250
Shipwrights Broad AxeKangaroo Works, Sheffield$100 – 120
Stained 31” Broad AxeJM Sheffield & Co$150 – 200

Get broadaxes with floral or bird carvings for a precious foreign make.

5. Old Broadaxe Colors

Antique Broadaxe with Black, Oxidized Handles

You’ll get old broad axes in two colors – bare wood and oxidized. Of these, the bare or stained wood ones are more precious, costing $300 – 400. In contrast, oxidized white, black, or brown axes are cheaper, up to $200.

Avoid getting painted or powder-coated axes, as those might be new and cheaper.

6. Antique Broadaxe Weight

Weigh your broadaxe on a pair of scales. If it weighs 7 – 8 pounds, it’s an antique model, costing $400 – 500. If it weighs slightly less, at 4 – 6 pounds, you might have a new $200 model. But, if it weighs less than that, it might be forged or fake.

How Long Should an Antique Broad Axe Handle Be?

Antique broadaxes usually have a handle of 16 – 17 inches. But if it’s longer than that, it might be new and machine-made.

Do You Oil an Antique Broad Axe?

Yes, you can oil your broadaxe’s blade with any vegetable or Rem oil to clear the rust and fungus. Or, you can grease it with paraffin or WD-40 lubes for the best results.

How Often Should You Grease an Antique Broad Axe?

If your antique broad axe is in good condition, grease it once a year to save it from damage. But, if it’s already rusty, oil it twice in 6 – 7 months.

How Do You Clean an Antique Broad Axe?

Cleaning antique broad axes is really easy! Start by scraping the dust with a scouring knife and rinse it thoroughly with soap and water. Next, dab it with some paper towels and dry it for 4 – 5 hours. Your broad axe is now ready for storage!

Pricing antique broad axes is no longer a tedious job! Now that you have our guide, you can check the age, handle, and value of your axe yourself! Just be sure to wipe the piece properly. You don’t want to miss any details and marks, right?

Also, get a wood block and try to flatten it with the axe to test its sharpness. But hey! If a broad axe is heavy, you can get a wood plane for your chisel work. And here’s a quick guide to know everything about ‘antique wood planes.’

Judith Miller
Judith Miller

Judith is an antique expert with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of antique identification and valuation. She has reviewed over 30 thousand vintage items and has worked with numerous antique shops. She enjoys seeing new places, attending antique shows and events, and sharing her knowledge with people! Know more about me

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