How to Maintain and Use a Pickax
The origin of this useful hand tool dates back to prehistoric times. The first peaks were nothing more than antlers of a suitable species of antelope such as deer, skillfully carved by man for ease of use. They were mainly used in agricultural tasks and were precursors of other more complex tools like the plow and the hoe.
The design and construction of the peaks were modified over time to extend their application not only to traditional mining but also as a weapon of war in the medieval era. Today, the use of the beak is still paramount, both in mining and in agriculture, gardening and construction.
Although there are various models of size and shape, all the picks are tools of destruction and chopping consisting of a slightly curved bar of iron or steel and a handle of wood or fiberglass in the center. It is precisely the design of the ends of the metal bar that varies not only to confer particular characteristics to the tool, but also to distinguish its name.
Let's look at some variants. It is worth mentioning that the names usually differ depending on the country and, depending on the manufacturer, there may be more combinations of different types.
One of the types of pickax has the metal bar that can be symmetrical or asymmetrical and has both ends at sharp points. These pointed ends are most often used to break rocky or hard surfaces such as concrete or hardened dry earth. The high impulse of a large peak combined with small contact areas makes it remarkably effective for this purpose. Therefore, the primary application of the pickaxe is to prepare the ground for construction, either by ditching or shredding the soil. A variant of the peak is one where one end is flat with a full cutting edge, so in this case, the tool is useful for clearing and digging in soft soils or for extracting trunks and roots. Both hands are always used to handle the peaks.
Another type has one of its ends in the shape of a hoe or long thin shovel, with a sharp edge that allows digging quickly and accurately.
Moreover, there is a pickax that is somewhat smaller which is used primarily in masonry. One end is sharp and has the shape of an ax while the other has the form of a hoe or shovel. However, there may be forms where a hammer or a tip replace the cutting end.
If you need an ax for lighter tasks, there is also one that can be handled with one hand. The handle is about 40 cm long. You can use it for a variety of jobs like cutting bricks, removing remains of cement or concrete, laying bricks on the yarns, etc..
Maintenance and Use
As these are dangerous tools, these items must be used following personal safety measures, such as the use of approved protective boots and goggles, taking care that there are no other people in the vicinity of the tool.
One of the primary errors that can lead to injury is to use pickax whose tips are toothed, nicked or ribbed, or whose handles are improperly sized or splintered. On the other hand, picks should never be used to hit or break metal surfaces or straighten tools such as hammers or others.
As far as maintenance is concerned, pickax should be stored clean in a dry place, and oiled or greased to protect them from oxidation. The ends used for cutting should be kept sharp using a sharpening stone if necessary.
Nozzles used in gardening and agriculture should be washed to remove adhering soil using a steel brush and soapy water, and then disinfected for future use to protect plants from disease and parasites.
The most recent peaks are constructed of a single piece of heat-treated forged steel with properties that give them maximum tensile, torsion, wear and impact resistance.