For an orc tank. I already have the axe; I do not have the epic sword. Since it is no longer hard (in WotLK) for a prot war to do good single-target TPS, the increased DPS on the sword (+15) isn't that big a deal. The axe gives me however 41 expertise rating (racial).
Dicsuss! Hopefully I get some intelligent, non-close minded, and even mathy responses!
I've gotten a lot of "epics are better" responses.
I treat the dps on a weapon to be very low priority. Since only 4 of our moves scales with weapon damage (autoattack, heroic strike, cleave, devastate).
Everything else scales with attack power or shield block value. In that respect both weapons are virtually identical. From a threat standpoint the expertise on the axe is already better than the hit on the sword, add in the Orc racial and I'd say the axe wins going away. Even the survivability difference between the two is not *that* big and expertise is often overlooked as a survivability stat.
Although I'm bad at math, I'm pretty sure the axe will proc bigger deep wound ticks and devastates than the sword. My personal bias though is against slow weapons. But the only time it should matter is against a boss, in which case you may favor the slightly higher survivability from the sword anyways.
Keep the axe. Take the sword if it falls in your lap, then keep both but use the axe mostly.