My militia took my battle axes and won't give 'em back to my woodcutters. I'd rather not resort to killing my militia. How do I make them give my workers their tools back?
Disband the squad. This should cause the militia to drop their weapons. Then re-create the squad with a uniform that requires a specific weapon (not a battle axe).
If this doesn't work you can dump, then unforbid the soldier's battle axes. Some little hauler will come and wrench the axe from your soldier's hands.