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A broad ax is a specialized ax used to shape a round tree trunk into a timber, square or rectangular in cross-section. The cutting edge is longer than on a common ax and is often beveled only on the side away from the log face, allowing greater control and a smoother finished surface. The handle is usually curved away from the tree so that the worker lessens the chance of "barking" his knuckles on the log being dressed. When broad axes were widely used, a local blacksmith made them, but with the introduction of water-powered sawmills in the mid to late 1700s and especially with the widespread use of circular saws the broad ax became obsolete.