The ax — or axe, if you’re slightly European — isn’t typically something we think of as modern or revolutionary. It’s one of the oldest tools in the prehistoric human toolbox.
But some guys at Vipukirves in Finland have discovered a huge flaw with the tool: it’s really hard to use. As a matter of physics and engineering, splitting wood with an axe requires a huge amount of power to drive the wedge into the wood and split it without getting the ax stuck. Traditional axes can also be dangerous since they can hit your leg if you miss the target. This is why using an ax is such a macho test of strength, and not a simple household task you can assign to a child.
One day, some guy thought to himself, “Eureka! I need to work on this!” (According to the history of Vipukirves). After testing out a few different methods, the company realised that leverage was the answer to the problem. A regular ax uses virtually no leverage — it simply strikes the wood at a 90 degree angle like a sharp hammer. Leverage — in which a shallow angle is used to maximise the force of the weight on the other end of the lever creating the angle — is a more efficient way of transferring force.
And so the Leveraxe was born.
It’s an oddly shaped instrument, but the video does seem to prove it works well.