An axe (Am. Eng. ax) is a tool used for chopping or splitting wood, consisting of a wedge mounted on a wooden handle. The wedge, being considerably heavier than the rest of the axe, gains inertia when swung and is driven into the wood, causing it to break. Axes range in size and function. Chopping axes are specialized in cutting down trees, splitting axes are used to split large logs into more manageable pieces, and a hatchet is a small axe, usually less than two feet long, used to chop small trees or strip branches.