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11/14/2012 8:37 AM
 

my gerbar gator/ saw combo's head flew off and I don't plan on buying another one. Can anyone recommend me a good axe

 
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11/14/2012 11:39 AM
 

Little bit more info - backpack carry or car / canoe / sled carry? Splitting wood primarily or other stuff as well?


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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11/14/2012 11:53 AM
 

pack carry for splitting wood. Wanted to be somewhat in the range for both hand usage but not too long and short enough to do some small work if need be. The head between 1.5 and 2 lbs, hickory handle if possible.

 
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11/14/2012 12:14 PM
 

The Husqvarna axes (which are actually made by Hultafors, a Swedish axe company with a long and solid history) are some of the best deals around, imo. Their 15" hatchet is an excellent tool for the price (about $40). You get a Swedish steel, hand-forged head and a quality hickory handle with good alignment. They are really great, durable tools, and the hatchet fits nicely alongside a day pack. Mine came with a decent edge, but 10 minutes with a file and puck and it took a shaving-sharp edge very easily.

Short of spending twice as much (or more) for a Gransfors Bruks or Wetterlings, I don't think you'll beat the Husqvarna/Hultafors. You can check them out at Bailey's:

http://www.baileysonline.com/itemdetail.asp?item=HVA+576+92+64+01&catID=

And a good review can be found here:

http://woodtrekker.blogspot.com/2011/08/husqvarna-hatchet-2011-model-review.html

 
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11/14/2012 1:31 PM
 

thanks smith, I was reading on them today. Though with the 15 inch handle, are you limited as to what you can do vs there 26 inch handle multi axe?  Thanks for your post again

 
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11/14/2012 1:50 PM
 

You'll get more bang for your buck (in terms of weight efficiency) out of handle length than head weight. Right now if I'm carrying something on my back it is going to be a Cold Steel trail hawk. About a 12 oz head (if memory serves), but with a 19" handle. I'm not a big fan of the traditional "hatchet" size. Usually not enough handle length to make good use of the weight of the head. When you step up to the "3/4" or "boy length" (26") handled axes, you really start having a serious tool you can get a lot of work done with. By that point though, you're usually into something that weighs 3lbs all up. Great choice if you're not carrying on your back, maybe more weight than you want to carry though.

I haven't seen it before, but I just saw the wetterling large hunter axe - 1.5lb head, 20" handle. 2lbs all up. That makes an interesting choice in between a hatchet and one of the 3/4 length axes. Relatively light head weight for the handle length (a good thing for weight efficiency).

eta - With the 19" handle on my trail hawk, I can do a legitimate two handed (one hand sliding) overhead swing but it feels a little cramped. With the 26" handled tools you can do that comfortably.


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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11/14/2012 1:57 PM
 

Brunt The Grunt wrote

thanks smith, I was reading on them today. Though with the 15 inch handle, are you limited as to what you can do vs there 26 inch handle multi axe?  Thanks for your post again

A hatchet will definiitely be a compromise over a full size axe. Sorry, I thought you were looking for something smaller. But I would still recommend a Husqvarna for the price - take a look at their "Traditional" axe instead. 1.9 pound head and a 26" handle:

http://www.baileysonline.com/itemdetail.asp?item=HVA+576+92+62+01&catID=

 
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11/14/2012 2:23 PM
 

I have spent a lot of time with axes in my hands. I am far from an expert, but personally, I will take bat speed over head weigth every time, and bat speed comes from handle length and a light head that you can whip.  I have two axes I use on a regular basis. The first lives in my truck and gets put in the pulk or on the pack if I know that I will be doing lots of wood processing. It is a Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe, or boys axe style axe.  I did have to spend a lot of time with a file reshaping the edge to what I prefer, but now that I have that thing is a working fool. It was purchased as a present when they were about 1/2 the price they are now. I am not sure if I would buy another to replace it, but instead would be looking for something similar in head weight (2lbs) and handle length (26"). I would look really hard at one of estwings midsize axes for that use as well. When I was in the FS that size of axe was my go to axe for axe work.  I continue to prefer it since the lighter weight is easier to carry and doesn't wear you out over the course of a day like swinging a heavier headed axe does.

My other axe, my pack axe, is a wetterling.  It to was purchased before the prices went up, but languished until I rehafted it with a 19" handle. Unfortunately, the eye on the wetterling faces the opposite way from most axes so I had to get a larger blank and reshape it completely by hand to fit.  The edge also needed some work, but that thing is now a chopping fool.  Basically, a 1.2lb head on a 19" handle.  I prefer it to the hawk like Evan has just becasue to blade geometery. That being said I was impressed enough with Evan's hawk that I bought two when a great deal came along.  They are lighter than my custom, but well I just like my custom better, and the little bit of extra weight is not that bad. For the bang for the buck that hawk is hard to beat for a pack axe. 

That husky looks interesting, but I would plan on rehafting it, but husky makes a 19" handle, so that should be easy to do.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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11/14/2012 2:36 PM
 

I think you guys are absolutely correct about swing length vs. weight, and the weight of a 'hawk was seductive enough that I ordered a CS Trail Hawk a while back to experiment with. Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed with what arrived.

Having done some homework, I expected I'd probably have to put a little work into the Trail Hawk to get it to be what I wanted. But this thing was an utter piece of Chinese junk, imo. The head fit was awful - I spent a great deal of time filing the roughly-cast head, and sanding the handle, to try and get anything resembling a functional friction fit. In the end, I succeeded in getting a minimal fit that would still come loose every time when put to minimal use, and at that point I decided to cut my losses and look for something else. I know some people love 'em, and I'm still intrigued by the idea of a high quality 'hawk as a lightweight backcountry option, but that experience, along with several other Cold Steel experiences, really turned me off. Maybe I just got a lemon.

Btw, I also love that they put big stickers on their 'hawks that say "The American Tomahawk Company"....

 
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11/14/2012 2:53 PM
 

I removed the coating, and did do a bit of filing to clean up the eye, but other than that didn't really need to do anything else to make it work.  I actually consider the shape of most axe heads to not be that great for splitting, and really think the bang for the buck is what makes that so nice.  Unfortunately, light head/long handles are very hard to find in the tomahawk world as well. There are a few custom makers that have a nice shape to their heads, but for the price they are asking/getting I will just rehaft lighter axe heads myself then go with a hawk. Although the rageweed forge British Belt axe is interesting.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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11/14/2012 2:59 PM
 

scothill wrote

I removed the coating, and did do a bit of filing to clean up the eye, but other than that didn't really need to do anything else to make it work.  I actually consider the shape of most axe heads to not be that great for splitting, and really think the bang for the buck is what makes that so nice.  Unfortunately, light head/long handles are very hard to find in the tomahawk world as well. There are a few custom makers that have a nice shape to their heads, but for the price they are asking/getting I will just rehaft lighter axe heads myself then go with a hawk. Although the rageweed forge British Belt axe is interesting.

Yeah, I think I just drew the short end of that stick on that one, and received a paricularly bad example. I've been curious about that Ragweed Forge belt axe as well. Looks like it has a little more weight to the head than the Trail Hawk? But when I'm really concerned about weight, my choice is usually a lightweight folding bucksaw and a stout knife capable of batoning/splitting/woodwork.

 
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11/14/2012 3:02 PM
 

Take a look at the range of axes from "Grandfors Bruks" also, hand made in sweeden and also have a hickory handle, thier hunter axe is a great weight and size combo and a very capable axe!

 
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11/14/2012 6:38 PM
 

Others have mentioned some really good options like Hultafors, Granfors, Wetterlings, and such.  You may also look at Council Tool and see what they offer, and also go to antique stores, pawn shops, and second hand stores and pick up some vintage axes or heads.  I've found some great domestic vintage heads by True Temper, Norland, Iltis Ox Head, and some old Collins heads. 

 

Good thing about Council Tool is that they're forged in the US and they're an good value.  Reasonable price

 
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11/14/2012 10:05 PM
 

For pack carry, get a Wetterlings Large Hunting Axe:

http://www.wetterlings.se/the/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=75%3Alarge-hunting-axe&catid=35&Itemid=57

It's the same factory as Gransfors but cheaper (with the same quality).

 Here you can see pictures of mine (and also with a Gransfors and the bigger Sweddish Forest Axe) as it was prepared by a friend of mine:

www.stages-survie.info/forum/index.php/topic,563.0.html

 

 
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11/15/2012 8:31 AM
 
I have had an Estwing 26" Camper's Axe for about three years now. It's been great for me. I use it for camp and home duty. It is heavy for packing but indestructible. Also very affordable. I actually found the best price was at Home Depot. The rubber grip is nice, but limits sliding your hand. As short as it is though I just swing with a stationary grip. Great axe if you don't mind the weight.
 
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11/15/2012 8:40 AM
 

thanx for all of the feedback guys. I ended up going with a gransfors small forest axe.

 
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11/15/2012 9:02 AM
 

Brunt The Grunt wrote

thanx for all of the feedback guys. I ended up going with a gransfors small forest axe.

 

Can't go wrong there. Fine choice.

 
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11/17/2012 9:24 PM
 

 Nice YouTube video on both the utility and versatility of the Trail Hawk...

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=6pvv97vPLHk&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D6pvv97vPLHk

lightweightand easily packable.

 

 
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11/19/2012 1:13 AM
 
For 25 yearsI have used Snow & Knealey kindling axe with 1.5 lb. head and 19" handle with fine results. Team this with Fiskars Woodzig saw which folds to 12" length and canbe resharpened with ztandard 2mm chain saw file. Great kit!
 
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11/19/2012 1:14 AM
 
For 25 yearsI have used Snow & Knealey kindling axe with 1.5 lb. head and 19" handle with fine results. Team this with Fiskars Woodzig saw which folds to 12" length and canbe resharpened with ztandard 2mm chain saw file. Great kit!
 
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