Have you considered Fiskars or Husqvarna axes with composite handles? They are geared more towards splitting, but could chop a bit if needed. Husky A2400 probably a bit more all rounder, Fiskars have done away with their chopping axes and concentrate more on splitting models now. (Not sure if chopping variants still available as Gerber brand?).Not a good idea to hammer on an axe poll with a sledge as it can mushroom it, deform the eye if it has one (composite handle axes have a wrap around handle) or if it has a hardened poll for hammering then you can fracture off metal chunks that can embed themselves in skin or eyes. If you want to wail on wedges go for plastic or aluminium wedges so you don't smurf your other tools, safe for chainsaw use too.
Yeah I agree with the others, wouldn't hit an axe with anything metal, a wooden maul maybe.This review made me think a lot more about what to look for in a hatchet:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dK6Ad0uoVqw
I quite liked the Fiskars splitting axes for splitting firewood. These days I use a kinetic log splitter with an electric motor - much easier on my back (and less frequent visits to my Chiropracter).
I keep a small all-metal Estwing in the truck for camping or emergencies. Nice axe. (Image removed from quote.)
That's one I was looking at. Does it hold a edge well and does the metal extend all the way through the handle like on the hammers? This seems to be a good balance between hatchet and axe for my height. I was just concerned about the steel after I cracked one of their hammers. That and vibration transferred through the handle.
I have an Estwing hammer that 'rings' with every nail hit. I don't like that, but it's pretty much indestructible, too.
A builder friend of mine took an Estwing hammer back to the store for replacement/refund after it broke. He was denied because there were marks on the side of the head. Surely everyone has used the side at one time or another to tap a wayward nail straight. Every builder I have seen uses an Estwing here (I remember 1 or 2 using Plumb on a site over 20 years ago).
Do you have a Stihl dealership nearby? They have the Woodcutter Camp and Forestry Hatchet for about $30, which is what they sell them at our local Stihl dealer for. According to the owners, they sell a lot of them. They're German made Ochsenkoph in reality, and are half what most of the products that company sells under their own name. I find it the perfect thing between a hatchet and an axe. Also, these are one of the few that ship decently sharp. A lot of other companies ship the things dull and blunt. https://www.stihlusa.com/products/hand-tools/axes/woodforesthatchet/(Image removed from quote.)