Axe Tattoo Meaning, Designs & Ideas

Axes are powerful images when portrayed in tattoos and there are several reasons a person might choose to get an axe tattoo. Often the axe symbolizes strength or power. It can also represent creation or its opposite–destruction. Axe tattoos can also relate to mythology and ancient beliefs about the tool.

In this article, we’ll explore the different meanings behind axe tattoos and show you some great examples.

All About Axes

Axes with handles were first created around 8000 years ago. They were originally made using stone and later transitioned to different types of metal. Today, most axes are made with steel blades and wood handles. There are a variety of types of axes, including the felling axe, hatchet, battle axe, and tomahawk.

Axe Tattoos

Many axe tattoos feature a single axe while others depict two axes crossing each other in the shape of an X. These tattoos often feature the axe on its own, though it is sometimes accompanied by vines or trees. Most axe tattoos are done in black and grey ink.

Axe tattoos are much more common among men and the most common spot for an axe tattoo is the arm, either the shoulder or forearm. Axe tattoos range from very basic to those that have intricately designed handles and blades. Some axe tattoos even have blood on the blade!

Mythology and Ancient Beliefs

There are many instances in the ancient history of the axe representing certain powers. Some believed that keeping an axe under the bed would bring a male child into the world, while others believed that having an axe at the door could keep witches away.

Much of ancient mythology around the axe has to do with weather. Greek god Zeus used his axe to control weather and Shangom, the Yoruba god used an axe to make thunder. The Mayan god Chaac could also create rain and thunder using an axe. Axes were commonly believed to protect people from storms and lightning.

An axe tattoo may represent someone’s interest in mythology or ancient beliefs. Someone who studies mythology might decide to get a tattoo of an axe to symbolize their enthusiasm for the subject.


Axes are often viewed as a symbol of masculinity. When people think of an axe, they often picture a lumberjack with a beard chopping wood out in the forest. Or they imagine a warrior who is fighting to protect his family or land. These two ideas are commonly associated with masculinity.

Someone who wants a tattoo that depicts masculine traits might choose to get an axe. This could be a way of embracing their masculine side and might represent a desire to become more like those ideas of lumberjacks or warriors.

A Firefighting Tool

Axes are also used by firefighters as one of their pieces of equipment. Firefighters often use axes to break in windows or doors in order to gain entry to a building. They may also use an axe to smash a hole in a roof to create ventilation.

Someone who is a firefighter may choose the image of an axe for their tattoo as a way of showing their dedication to the profession. The axe can also be a memorial tattoo–someone who lost a partner, parent, or other loved one who was a firefighter might choose to get an axe tattoo to remember them.

Woodworking or Carpentry

Axes can also be used as a tool in carpentry and woodworking. Carpenter’s axes are typically smaller and are used for log building and shaping wood. A person might choose to get a tattoo of an axe to represent their interest in woodworking.

Similarly, someone may get an axe tattoo to remember a loved one. Perhaps their grandparent or other loved one liked to create things out of wood–an axe tattoo can be a fitting way to memorialize their relationship.

Strength and Power

Axes are symbols of power and strength since they are used as weapons as well as to chop wood. These weapons have been used to fight in battles and they can also be used in hunting animals.

A person who gets an axe tattoo might do so because they want an image that shows how powerful they are. The axe tattoo shows that they are strong and capable. The axe is a symbol of protection and a willingness to take action to defend oneself and one’s loved ones. Someone who hunts might also get an axe tattoo to represent this hobby.


The axe is symbolic of the wilderness and of living off the land. It represents a connection to nature and an ability to be self-sufficient. Since axes are used to build things such as cabins, they also represent creation and the capacity to make something from nothing.

A person who lives off-grid or in the wilderness might get an axe tattoo as a way of displaying their lifestyle. These types of axe tattoos sometimes show a forest of trees in the background, a cabin, or woodland animals to show the wild area in which the person lives.


While many axe tattoos are about building and creating, some of them are designed to illustrate destruction. These tattoos are typically darker and sometimes show blood on the blade of the axe. 

A person who chooses an axe tattoo may like the destructive aspect of it and may have an interest in war or fighting. They may have been involved in fighting themselves or taken an interest in historical battles. 


The sport of axe-throwing consists of tossing an axe toward a target in an attempt to hit a bullseye, similar to dart-throwing. While this sport has been practiced by lumberjacks for some time, it has become more popular among the greater public since the early 2000s.

A person who participates in this sport is a member of an axe-throwing club or perhaps even owns an axe-throwing establishment might get an axe tattoo. This individual may wish to display their interest in this sport and choose an axe tattoo as a way of doing so.

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