An ax (sometimes ax in American English; see spelling differences) is an implement that has been used for millennia to shape, split and cut wood, to harvest timber, as a weapon, and as a ceremonial or heraldic symbol. The ax has many forms and specialized uses but generally consists of an ax head with a handle or helve.
Before the modern ax, the stone-age hand ax was used from 1.5 million years before present without a handle. It was later fastened to a wooden handle. The earliest examples of handled axes have heads of stone with some form of wooden handle attached (hafted) in a method to suit the available materials and use. Axes made of copper, bronze, iron, and steel appeared as these technologies developed. Axes are usually composed of a head and a handle.