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The Boarding Axe

The Boarding Axe is a small, hand axe used in boarding operations, designed to hook-in wood vessels, chop through thick ropes and smash heads. It was one of the Close-Range Weapons of the Pirate.


The Boarding Axe is a straight-handled hand-held axe, not unlike a Tomahawk. The head was a curved pike opposite the bit.


  • 10-12 inches
  • 10 ounces
  • Wood with steel blade


In addition to its use as a weapon, the Boarding Axe was used to cut through ropes, and hook inward vessels. In some cases, it could be thrown, although on the limited space of a ship's deck, the risk of hitting an ally instead of an enemy or the axe missing everyone and flying overboard, would have made this unlikely.

The Boarding Axe was more of an improvised weapon, and Pirate boats were filled with other improvised weapons. From Belaying pins (which were used to hold fast lines), to Chains, to Fishing Hooks, Marlinspikes, boarding pikes, to Grappling Hooks and Harpoons.