One of the oldest professions of mankind was “axe-maker”. Enjoy this collection of quotes, proverbs and jokes about axes and hatchets. For a similar collection in Dutch language see: bijlen.

By Simon A. Eugster CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

A beautiful woman is like an axe in one’s life.

A blacksmith has no need of an axe.

A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.

Franz Kafka

A little axe can cut down a big tree.

A razor may be sharper than an axe, but it cannot cut wood.

All our lauded technological progress, our very civilization, is like the axe in the hand of the pathological criminal.

Albert Einstein

An axe without a shaft is no threat to the forest.

And many strokes though with a little axe hew down and fell the hardest-timbered oak.

William Shakespeare

And where the offence is, let the great axe fall.

William Shakespeare

Behind him where the walls were nearest could dimly be seen coats of mail, helms and axes, swords and spears hanging; and there in rows stood great jars and vessels filled with a wealth that could not be guessed.

The Hobbit – Chapter 12 – Inside Information
J.R.R. Tolkien
About Smaug.

Careful, careful, careful with that axe, Eugene.

Careful With That Axe, Eugene
Roger Waters
(Pink Floyd lyrics)

Do not remove a fly from your friend’s forehead with a hatchet.


Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from your friend’s forehead.

Don’t use an axe to do embroidery.

Each one of his folk was clad in a hauberk of steel mail that hung to his knees, and his legs were covered with hose of a fine and flexible metal mesh, …
In battle they wielded heavy two-handed mattocks; but each of them had also a short broad sword at his side and a round shield slung at his back. Their beards were forked and plaited and thrust into their belts. Their caps were of iron and they were shod with iron, and their faces were grim.

The Hobbit – Chapter 17 – The Clouds Burst
J.R.R. Tolkien
About the dwarves of Dain

Even the highest tree has an axe waiting at its foot.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.

Abraham Lincoln

Hammers, axes, swords, daggers, pickaxes, tongs, and also instruments of torture, they make very well, or get other people to make to their design, prisoners and slaves that have to work till they die for want of air and light.

The Hobbit – Chapter 4 – Over Hill and Under Hill
J.R.R. Tolkien

He laughed a great rolling laugh, put down his axe and came forward.

The Hobbit – Chapter 7 – Queer Lodgings
J.R.R. Tolkien
About Beorn.

He who sits in the shade won’t take an axe to the tree.

If I had five minutes to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first three sharpening my axe.

If the axe is not sharp, it doesn’t matter how hard the wood is.

If you are eager to be in the shadow, leave your axe at home.

If you are going into the wood — don’t leave your axe at home.

If you are the big, big tree, we are the small axe, ready to cut you down!

Bob Marley

Janine, Janine, you'd like to crash
my walls
But if you take an axe to me
You'll kill another man
Not me at all

David Bowie
Janine Lyrics (Space Oddity Album)

Let's bury the hatchet
Wipe out the past
Make love together
Stay on the path

Mixed Emotions
The Rolling Stones

Little strokes fell great oaks.

Make a big task easier by dividing it in small parts.

Make a friend of the wolf, but keep your axe ready.

Many enter the wood without an axe.

Mistrust is an axe in the tree of love.

Outside the ring of dancing warriors with spears and axes stood the wolves at a respectful distance, watching and waiting.

The Hobbit – Chapter 6 – Out of the Frying-Pan into the Fire
J.R.R. Tolkien

Royal indeed did Thorin look, clad in a coat of gold-plated rings, with a silver-hafted axe in a belt crusted with scarlet stones.

The Hobbit – Chapter 13 – Not at Home
J.R.R. Tolkien
About Thorin

Sleep! I feel the need of it. Yet my axe is restless in my hand. Give me a row of orc-necks and room to swing and all weariness will fall from me!

The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers
J.R.R. Tolkien

Standing near was a huge man with a thick black beard and hair, and great bare arms and legs with knotted muscles. He was clothed in a tunic of wool down to his knees, and was leaning on a large axe.

The Hobbit – Chapter 7 – Queer Lodgings
J.R.R. Tolkien
About Beorn.

Swords in these parts are mostly blunt, and axes are used for trees, and
shields as cradles or dish covers; and dragons are comfortably far off, and
therefore legendary.

The Hobbit – Chapter 1 – An Unexpected Party
J.R.R. Tolkien

Teacher: "George Washington not only chopped down his father's Cherry tree, but also admitted doing it. Now do you know why his father didn't punish him?"

Student: "Because George still had the axe in his hand."

Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.

Albert Einstein

The axe falls first upon a straight tree.

The axe forgets what the tree remembers.

The sandal tree perfumes the axe that fells it.

The tree makes shafts for axes.

There in the shadows on a large flat stone sat a tremendous goblin with a
huge head, and armed goblins were standing round him carrying the axes and
the bent swords that they use.

The Hobbit – Chapter 4 – Over Hill and Under Hill
J.R.R. Tolkien

There indeed lay Thorin Oakenshield, wounded with many wounds, and his rent armour and notched axe were cast upon the floor.

The Hobbit – Chapter 18 – The Return Journey
J.R.R. Tolkien

This lot keep gabbling in Gobbledegook … and I only know one word of Gobbledegook. Bladvak. It means 'pickax.' I don’t like to use it in case they think I’m threatening them.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
J.K. Rowling

Thorin wielded his axe with mighty strokes, and nothing seemed to harm him.

The Hobbit – Chapter 17 – The Clouds Burst
J.R.R. Tolkien
About Thorin fighting.

Thou art my battle axe and weapons of war: for with thee will I break in pieces the nations, and with thee will I destroy kingdoms.


To lay the axe to the root of the tree.

You can’t blame the axe for the noise made by the chicken you are about to slaughter.

You need a sharp axe for a tough bough.

You need sharp axes for knotty trees.

Photo by madmrmox