|Birka Grave 909 Axe-head|
|Modern double-bitted felling axe|
The modern double-bitted axe is a heavy-duty forestry tool invented in North America in the 19th Century. A double-bitted battleaxe would be at least a pound (0.45kg.) in weight heavier than a single-bladed axe. This would make it somewhat more cumbersome to use as a weapon, where speed is critical. Battle axes generally weigh far less than splitting axes because they are designed to hew flesh rather than wood; consequently relatively narrow slicing blades are the norm. These facilitate deep, grievous wounds. Moreover, a lighter weapon is much quicker to bring to bear in combat and manipulate for repeated strikes against an adversary. The extra weight of the weapon would add very little to the severity of wounds caused.
“And he bore a mighty twi-bill, as he waded the fight-sheaves through ...”This influential book, complete with its illustrations redolent with winged and horned helmets, may in part be the source of the Viking twin-bladed axe myth.