How to Date a Plumb Axe

Do you have your heart set on a plumb axe but don’t know how to date one? Then you’ve come to the right place! Dating a plumb axe can be tricky, as it’s not just an ordinary tool. Unlike most relationships that are straightforward, axes need the right care and attention for them to last longer – especially if they’re made from wood or metal. 

How to Date a Plumb Axe

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through some of our best tips for maintenance and proper use so that your relationship flourishes and endures beyond what is expected of any regular axe. Keep reading to find out exactly how to date a plumb axe today!

What Axe Did Vikings Use?

The Vikings used a variety of axes in their daily life. The axe most commonly associated with the Viking age is the ‘plumb’ axe, also known as a bearded axe or Danish axe. Plumb axes were single-bitted, meaning they had only one cutting edge along the bottom of the blade. The top portion of the axe head was typically curved in a semicircle, giving it a unique ‘bearded’ shape. 

The blade itself was made of iron, and the handle could be either wood or metal.

Plumb axes were versatile tools used for both battle and utility work. They were primarily used to chop down trees, but they could also be used to slice and hack through various materials. As weapons, they had a great range and could be used to fight off enemies from afar.

Overall, the plumb axe was an essential tool throughout the Viking age. It served as both a weapon during battle and as a workhorse for everyday tasks. With its versatile design, it was a symbol of strength and power during the Viking era. So, if you ever find yourself dating a plumb axe, rest assured that it has quite a history behind it!

10 Methods on How to Date a Plumb Axe

1.  Look for the Maker’s Mark.

Most plumb axes will have a maker’s mark stamped on the head. This can be used to date the axe, as most makers kept records of when they made their products. The maker’s mark will usually contain the company name or logo, as well as the date or year.

2.  Check the Style of the Axe Head.

Plumb Axes Have a Variety of Styles

The style of the axe head can also be used to date it, as certain styles were only made during certain periods. Plumb axes have a variety of styles, including flat head, curved head, and goosewing. 

Flat heads were typically made in the mid to late 1800s and early 1900s, while curved heads were more common in the late 1800s. Goosewing axes were only made during the mid to late 1800s. If you’re not sure of the age of your axe, examining the head style can help you determine its possible date range.

3.  Inspect the Condition of the Axe Head.

If the axe head is in good condition, it is likely that it was not used for very long and is, therefore, relatively new. However, if the axe head is in poor condition, it may be an antique. Use a flashlight to inspect the axe head for signs of wear and tear. Pay particular attention to its cutting-edge, which should be relatively sharp if it is a newer axe.

It should also be free of any rust or corrosion, which may indicate its age. If the handle is loose, this could mean that the axe was used for a long period of time and is, therefore, quite old.  Finally, inspect the handle of the axe to determine its origin. Look for any markings that may indicate a manufacturer or region of origin, which can give clues as to the age of the axe.

4.  Examine the Handle.

The handle can also provide clues about the age of the axe. For example, if the handle is made of wood, it is likely that the axe is quite old. If the handle is made of plastic or metal, it is likely that the axe is relatively new. Additionally, take a look at the shape of the handle. Does it have an ergonomic design?

If so, then it is likely that the axe is from the modern era. Note that even if there is a metal handle, it might still be an old axe—it may just have gone through a few repairs. Furthermore, the size of the handle can indicate an approximate age as well. If it is very thick or wide, then it might date from the mid-20th century or earlier.

5.  Check for Wear and Tear.

Look for Signs of Rust or Corrosion

Wear and tear can also be used to date a plumb axe. If there is little wear and tear on the axe, it is likely that it is relatively new. However, if there is significant wear and tear, it is likely that the axe is quite old. You can look for signs of rust or corrosion, which could indicate that the axe is from an earlier era. 

Additionally, you can look for chipping or fractures in the blade, which could indicate that it has been used for a longer period of time. In addition to these signs of wear and tear, you can also look for signs of repair or modifications, which could be evidence that the axe is not original.

6.  Research Similar Axes Online.

By looking at pictures of other plumb axes online, you can get an idea of what a particular style or type of axe looks like and how old it might be. Many online retailers, antique dealers, and other sites provide information on different axe styles. 

The more you know about a particular style of plumb axes, the easier it will be to determine the age and value of your own. This is especially true if you can find pictures and descriptions of similar axes that have been sold.

7.  Compare Your Axe to Those in Museums or Private Collections.

If you have access to a museum or private collection that contains plumb axes, you can compare yours to those in order to get an idea of its age. Look for similarities in design, construction materials, wear patterns, and other features to help you determine how old your axe is. It may even be possible to find an exact match to your axe in a collection, which can help you pinpoint its age more accurately.

8 . Consult with an Expert.

If you are still unsure about how to date your plumb axe, you can consult with an expert, such as a collector or historian, who may be able to help you determine its age based on their knowledge and experience. You can also seek out a local appraiser or antique shop owner who will be able to help you. If you are interested in finding out the value of your plumb axe, they will be able to give you an estimate.

Consult With an Expert

It is important to do your research and make sure that the expert you are consulting with is qualified and knowledgeable. Knowing the age of your plumb axe is key to understanding its value and making sure that you are taking proper care of it. With a little bit of research and help from an expert, you can determine the age of your plumb axe and fully appreciate its history.

9 . Use Carbon Dating.

Carbon dating can be used to date objects that are up to 60 000 years old, making it a helpful tool for determining the age of a plumb axe. However, this method is expensive and requires access to a laboratory. To use this method, a small piece of the plumb axe must be cut away and sent to a laboratory.

The lab technicians will then measure the amount of radioactive carbon-14 present in the sample and use a special formula to calculate its age. The result can then be used to determine how old the axe is. Be sure to take extra care when cutting away a piece of the axe, as it may affect its value and overall condition.

10. Take It to an Appraiser.

 Take Your Plumb Axe to an Appraiser

If all else fails, you can take your plumb axe to an appraiser who can provide you with an estimate of its age and value. This can be especially useful if you have inherited the axe and want to know its worth. 

Appraisers typically charge a fee, so make sure to ask about it first before committing to an appraisal. Be sure to bring all the information you’ve gathered on the axe and its history so that the appraiser can make the most accurate assessment. With all this knowledge in hand, you are now well-equipped to date a plumb axe!

You Can Also Check It Out Hang an Axe


Plumb axes can be difficult to date, but by following these tips on how to date a plumb axe you should be able to get a pretty good idea of when your axe was made.

 If you have any other questions about dating plumb axes or if you want to learn more about the history of this iconic tool, be sure to check out our other blog posts. Thanks for reading!

You Can Also Check It Out to Change Table Saw Blade Without Arbor Wrench

Photo of author

Enrique Howard

Hi, I am Enrique. I started my professional life as a handyman and did a lot of external and internal repair of home and office with a little bit of electric and plumbing support. I have extensive experience in tools testing such as drilling, turning, milling, and non-conventional machining like EDM. So let me help you on your journey towards becoming an enlightened DIYer with amazing tools that you can use on your project.

Leave a Comment