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TKU Saw School: USFS Ax Basics, Maintenance, and Use – Mt. Hood

June 18 at 9:00 am - 3:30 pm

Free - $100.00
USDA Forest Service National Sawyer Training: Developing Thinking Sawyers. Ax Basics, Maintenance, and Use.

Saw Instructors: Vito P. – Josh D.

Max Size of Crew: 10

Hike Distance: No hiking is required.

Elevation Gain: N/A

Hike Intensity: N/A

Work Intensity: Easy – Moderate

Work Type: USDA Forest Service Ax Training Module

Land Manager: Mt Hood National Forest

District: Zigzag RD

This TKO Saw School training event is for volunteers and agency staff who are looking to learn the basics of Ax Maintenance and Usage.

**Only current certified sawyers are eligible to enroll in this class.**

As a tool, the axe is potentially more hazardous to both the user and crewmembers in the vicinity of the user than either a crosscut saw or chainsaw.

First Aid/CPR is required to obtain a crosscut or chainsaw certification.

Log dynamics are the same when using an axe as they are for crosscut saws and chainsaws. Binds are addressed in the crosscut saw module but not the axe module. Unfamiliarity with springpoles, side binds, end binds, pivots points, etc could result in unexpected log movement leading to injury.

Safe use of axes on trails requires a working knowledge of OHLEC which is covered in crosscut saw trainings and certifications.

Some Topics Covered:

Prework Review – Ax History, modern axes, ax anatomy, ax types, ax features

PPE and Ax Saftey – Risk assessment, PPE, proper stance

Choosing an Ax – Size, handles, weight, intended use

How an Ax works – Ax profile, the 45-degree angle

Chopping Plan – Removing wood by volume, constructing a free face, chopping from both sides, connecting notches

Chopping Techniques – Chopping styles, overhead chop, over-the-shoulder-chop, finishing cuts

Limbing – Technique

Ax Maintenance – Cleaning, honing, daily maintenance, annual maintenance

Additional Material – An Ax to Grind(; One Moving Part (; A Practical Ax Manual

What this course does not cover:

Felling procedures, advanced bucking procedures

Ax restoration, hanging hafts, profiling, sharpening (beyond daily honing)

Note: Please bring work gloves, safety glasses, and hard hats. Some of these PPE items can be provided by TKO staff if needed. Please contact if you have any questions.

Potential cancellation: We will not work in the field if the weather is not safe for our team.

Event details:

Detailed event information, including directions to the meeting location, will be provided to registrants via email 48 hours prior to the event. If you’re volunteering for the first time, read this blog by a volunteer to know what to expect at your first trail party.

What to bring:

  • Plenty of water
  • Snacks/lunch (there are limited food options nearby)
  • Work gloves if you have them (loaner gloves available)
  • Any medications or emergency supplies you may need
  • Sunscreen + insect repellent
  • A pack to bring all of this with you on trail
  • TKO provides all tools and personal protective equipment (hard hats, gloves, glasses)
  • Need gear? TKO has clothes, boots, camping gear, and more available for loan. Reach out to to let us know how we can help!

What to wear:

  • Boots (Please wear something sturdy that will protect your toes from sharp tools. Tennis shoes are not recommended. Open-toed shoes will not be allowed.)
  • Long sleeved shirts and pants
  • Rain gear, insulating layers, sun protection, etc. as appropriate for the weather


Please contact Vito Perrone at Send me an email if you want to join our waitlist for this workshop.

Additional Information:

Check out the TK-U Saw School page for more info.

Free online crosscut course from the University of Montana.

Saws That Sing. A guide to using crosscut saw.

One moving part: The Forest Service Ax Manual

LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: TKO recognizes that the trails we work on travel through the traditional lands of many Indigenous tribes and communities. We are the most recent in a long line of stewards to this land, and it is our responsibility to do so with humility and respect. We are grateful to these tribes and their descendants for being the original and continuing stewards of these spaces, and encourage everyone to go beyond a land ackowledgment by supporting Indigenous communities and organizations in your area.

ACCOMMODATION REQUESTS: TKO seeks to make our events inclusive of people of all backgrounds and abilities. If you would like to discuss potential accommodations to allow for your participation in this event, please click here to complete a short Google survey. TKO staff will then contact you to discuss options. Please note: available accommodations will vary by event and typically need to be requested a minimum of two weeks in advance. If you have any questions, please contact TKO Stewardship Manager Lindsay McIntosh-Tolle at

EQUITY & INCLUSION: TKO seeks to make Oregon’s trails a place where people can go to connect with nature & one another. Not everyone feels safe or welcome in the outdoors due to issues like racism, bias, and hate. We commit to being part of the solution to this problem and to enact change. Conduct, speech, or expressions that target any individual or group will not be tolerated by TKO.

PERSONAL SAFETY: Your physical and emotional safety is our number one priority. If a person’s actions or comments make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, you may: interrupt directly, tell a crew leader, and/or inform TKO staff via the post-event survey.

While TKO no longer requires masking/vaccination for our events, we do support those who choose to mask for their own safety. We ask participants to respect the health of folks who wear masks by distancing or wearing a mask while in close proximity.


June 18
9:00 am - 3:30 pm
Free - $100.00


Trailkeepers of Oregon


Zigzag Saw Training Center
70303 US-26
Rhododendron, OR 97049 United States
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