When I was a teenager we lived in an old farmhouse with central heating. The center was a wood furnace in the basement. Vents in the floors let heat rise into the ground and second story. The house sat on forty acres of land, most of it woodlot. One of my chores was processing wood. Id fell trees, limb them, and cut them into logs. The horse did the hard part, dragging the timber to the house for bucking. I usually used an axe for felling. It was good exercise, and let me practice my axe skills. In those days I was under the influence of George Sears. When backpacking I carried a small belt knife (not a Nessmuk) and a double bit hatchet. A close match to the one pictured and described in Woodcraft. Except mine wasnt custom made. When cutting furnace wood, I used a hatchet to limb the felled trees. Good exercise, good practice. One day I was trimming branches when something deflected my hatchet. Right into my knee. My luck was in. The hatchet hit flat on, giving me a nice bruise. Had it hit edge on, that would have been a life changing event. Perhaps a life ending one, since I was out there alone. I continued to use a full size axe. And yes, I got a lot more careful about clearing swinging room before I started chopping. But from then on, for anything smaller, I retired my hatchets. My Nessmuk double bit languished. Instead I used a trail knife or a heavy machete. When instructing an apprentice I always say, This saw doesnt care. It will cut off your fingers just as slick as it cuts lumber. The safety must be what you provide. Blades dont care either, nor blunt objects. Its not that big blades arent dangerous. They certainly are. I just consider them less dangerous than a pocket axe. The thing about a short axe is all that weight on the end. The very thing for which it is valued. All that inertia so far from your hand is hard to abort when a stroke goes wrong. It is easier to correct a trail knife mid-stroke. That is why I consider big blades less dangerous. Mind you, this depends on circumstances. I continued to use a rig-axe when stacking rafters. On top of the building there is nothing but blue sky to deflect my framing hatchet. And on a job site there is emergency care available. But in the woods? In an emergency kit? A full axe is fine in a truck kit, or your bug-out cabin. For a backpack kit? A big knife or small machete. For a smaller kit, a hunting knife and a saw. A kit for someone unfamiliar with hand tools? A hunting knife and a saw. Your mileage may vary.