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HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneral2 Hawks Longhunter Test & Comparisons To Wetterlings Les Stroud Bushman2 Hawks Longhunter Test & Comparisons To Wetterlings Les Stroud Bushman
New Post
3/12/2015 2:13 PM

Great thread guys.  I've had the hots for the Bushman axe at first gaze.  Looks like pure functional elegance.  Having said that my Husqvarna axe with a 26in handle weighs 2#,13oz. with sheath.  It splits quite well and my copy is perfectly hafted.  Baileysonline (foresty supplier) sells them for MUCH less than the Bushman (they sell that one as well) and for someone on a budget is probably a best buy.  I'm currently playing with a couple of Fiskars axes and mauls and the axes are quite a bit heavier (nearly a pound for the 26in) than the Husky.  Steel appears to be good and they work well.  Should be great for a vehicle.

 I split about three cords of firewood this past fall with a 30in Husqvarna splitting maul with no issues.  The steel appears to be decent but cherry knots will still nick it up a little.  It sharpens up easily enough.

 The Gransfors Brux Outdoor Axe looks to be closer to what Evan reccomends as a "super hawk" than anything else on the market I've seen.

New Post
3/13/2015 8:37 AM

Here is an interesting and fairly informative description of the differences between tomahawks and hatchets / axes.  There are other reviews and write-ups on the site that this gent has done, as well:

Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
New Post
3/13/2015 8:41 AM
I have had the longhunter for quite a few years, at least 10 maybe more, back when they were still made by Robert in Montana, it has been through many deer and elk as well as untold piles of firewood. Its my favorite "carrying" axe. Wouldn't want to build a cabin or spend an entire winter with only it but temp shelters, game processing and backpacking are what it's made for. It almost always goes with me.

Hopefully the new ones are as well built and give folks as much enjoyment as mine has.
New Post
3/13/2015 12:22 PM

Nice!  I'm very happy with mine so far!


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New Post
3/14/2015 8:35 AM

I realized that Scot had a very valid point in his previous post about doing a more complete comparison and test with using the Longhunter two-handed.

So, I conducted another round of testing (and comparison against the Les Stroud) with the Longhunter this morning.  I was going to wait until I got the small diameter cordage and furniture tacks to wrap the handle, but decided to just wrap the handle with McNett Camo-Form to do new tests, using it two-handed.  I made sure that both the Les Stroud and the Longhunter were pretty much equally sharp by giving them both a good stropping session using black and green compound, and finished with a clean leather strop.  At the beginning, both tools could easily slice a sheet of paper and trim hairs off my arm.

I started with a pine round, approximately 9" in diameter.

I began with a single, solid, one-handed hit with each tool.  The Les Stroud, followed by the Longhunter, and then checked the results.

In the above photo, the Longhunter made the cut on the left, and the Les Stroud is on the right.  The Longhunter created a slightly wider slice, and the Les Stroud made a longer one.  Although it's hard to see in the photo, both tools bit about 1/4".

I then repeated the single blow with both tools, but this time two-handed.  Once again, I checked the results.

Once again, the Longhunter cut is on the left and the Les Stroud cut is on the right in the above photo.  The new cuts are the inner pair of the four pictured.  The Les Stroud obviously bit deeper, but the Longhunter (used two-handed) actually did pretty well.

I decided to try the two-handed single blow with each tool once more.  This time, I really tried to put some power behind each swing.  I felt the results were pretty remarkable.  

The Les Stroud "felt" like it went deeper, but the cut made by the Longhunter actually produced a fairly respectable result, too.  The outermost cuts near the top of the above photo show the results.  Longhunter on the left, Les Stroud on the right.

Here are a couple close-ups of the final two-handed comparison cuts.  First the Les Stroud.

And now the Longhunter.

Although I do think the Les Stroud bit a little deeper, the Longhunter wasn't all that much more shallow of a cut.  Pretty good, I think.

I then set the Les Stroud aside and went to work on the 9" round with the Longhunter, using it two-handed.  I gave myself 5 honest minutes for this test.  I didn't go like I was in a race in some tomahawk chopping competition.  Instead, I set a pace that I felt would be one I would use in the backcountry to handle such a task.  I chopped with the Longhunter (two-handed) for the full 5 minutes.  Here are the results.

I did not conduct a new splitting test using the Longhunter two-handed, as that I think the chopping test is sufficient enough.  I do think that it will do a wee bit better at splitting if using it two-handed, with a decently wrapped handle for good grip.  However, because it doesn't have the "cheeks" that an axe does, it will always be a harder task to split sizable rounds with it, until the eye contacts the wood, as Evan had stated previously in this thread.  Smaller logs (~3-5" diameter) wouldn't be a problem for it.  After all of these tests, I checked the sharpness of it again.  The edge wouldn't slice paper like it would before, but it could still carve nice shavings on a fatwood stick.

All in all, this is unquestionably a fine tool for backcountry use.  Like anything, it has its limitations.  The lightness of the 2 Hawks Longhunter, coupled with its ability to do many backcountry chores decently when properly used, makes me realize that this tomahawk will make the cut for being pretty much an "always-carried" tool for any trip that involves forests.

Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
New Post
3/15/2015 8:01 PM
I have a couple of custom Cold Steel Trail Hawks. When it comes to deciding between one of them or an axe, I compare the relative weights with the amount of use it will see. The beauty of a nice tomahawk is that, while it won't do the work as efficiently as a full axe, it will do the same work with a bit more effort, but will save you energy on the way to the work. That can make a difference when you're living off you back.

Once I can make a decent swing with my right arm again I'll take out the 24" Trail hawk and my 24" Hudson Bay axe for a similar test
New Post
3/19/2015 3:58 PM
Great follow up Ken. Despite my fondness for tomahawks, I'm honestly a little surprised that with two handed use it ended up coming so close to the Les Stroud in performance. I knew two hands was key, but didn't expect the gap to get closed that much.

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
New Post
3/20/2015 9:20 AM
Just getting to this, and like Evan I am surprised. However, it is a reinforcement of my long held contention that form and "bat" speed, along with a good edge are the keys.

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
New Post
3/27/2015 9:55 AM
I have never owned a tomahawk. I usually backpack with my Gransfors wildlife hatchet. Cabelas had a DIY tomahawk kit (unfinished handle and a head with no edge) for $30. After hanging it, putting on a nice edge, engraving and making a minimalist sheath I really like the concept. Especially the ease of replacing a handle in the field.

New Post
3/27/2015 10:13 AM

Pretty cool, and you certainly can't beat the price!

Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
New Post
6/11/2015 11:29 AM
I am grateful for the information in this thread, which helped guide me toward purchasing a Wetterlings Les Stroud Bushman. I may purchase a 2 Hawks, also, though I am more inclined toward the Voyager, which a bit more of a Hudson Bay Canoe Axe than a 'hawk.

I used to have a Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe, but like so many of my tools, it disappeared after my wife's sister moved in with us, which happened in 2009. (When I retire in the near future, I am going to spend MUCH time away from home!)
New Post
6/11/2015 1:40 PM

RexGig0: Glad the thread could be of some service for you!  I really love my Les Stroud Bushman, as well.  At the last Hill People Gear Winter Gathering, Scot was coveting the Les Stroud in a mighty way.  I started to wonder whether I should give it to him as a present.  If a man like Scot Hill likes a certain axe or hawk I consider that a big positive, as that he and Evan have both spent significant time swinging such tools with the Forest Service and the Wyoming they do know their way around them.  More than most, I suspect.

I think you will definitely enjoy that Les Stroud Bushman.  I mulled around with ordering a Voyager, too...but ended up with the Longhunter because I figured I'd rather have the lighter, more packable 'hawk and already had the next size covered with the Bushman.

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HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsGeneralGeneral2 Hawks Longhunter Test & Comparisons To Wetterlings Les Stroud Bushman2 Hawks Longhunter Test & Comparisons To Wetterlings Les Stroud Bushman