Hatchets: Estwing vs. Fiskars......??


July 14, 2013, 11:55 AM
I've had kind of an on-again/off again itch to get a decent hatchet. I'm looking to keep this as economical as possible, so something really high-end like a Gransfors Bruks is out of the question ( but recommendations for other economical,good quality hatchtes is appreciated.)
I already have a small,inexpensive one-piece hatchet that I got on close-out from CDNN years ago, and it's been ok for kindling, but seems to be very soft metal.
I can get either the Estwing or the Fiskars for about $27,delivered. Both come pretty highly recommended, but both have enough concerns raised that I thought some further research was in order.
Most folks seem to say that the Fiskars just rips through wood, but a few have had problems with the plastic handle where it wraps around the head.
Apparantly, some folks have had issues with wood jamming into/under the plastic,even though there's a little ramp in the head that's supposed to steer wood away.
The Estwings seem to be much more sloppily made than they once were, and I've read that the leather handle can practically fall apart from moisture exposure. Sure, I could rip it off and wrap it with paracord or hockey tape, but I don't want to buy a product if I know that's gonna be the plan.
It seems they'd make these with their trademark blue rubber handle, but I haven't seen any,except on the full sized axes.
Anyway, you get the idea, any input is appreciated.......

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July 14, 2013, 12:33 PM
Well, I can assure you the leather handle will not just 'practically fall apart' from moisture exposure. Don't store it outside stuck in a tree stump, and it will last longer then you will.

I have a pretty good WWII knife collection, and most of the knives & Woodsman Pals have leather washer handles and are still perfectly fine after 75 years.


July 14, 2013, 01:34 PM
I have an Estwing Rigger Axe that I use for camping that I've had for 30 years. I'm not going to pretend that it looks brand new, but it is still going strong. Also all of my rock hammers are Estwing, so I kind of dig 'em (heh).

That said, I also have a Stanley camping hatchet and a Stanley Full-size Axe that I inherited from my Dad, who in turn inherited it from his Dad. They are both also still in great shape.

Handles can be fixed, if it is good steel, a good axe will outlive you.

Sam Cade
July 14, 2013, 02:31 PM
I've got several leather handled Estwings much older than myself.
They are all perfectly fine

I'd rather use the Fiskars and look at the Estwing.

July 14, 2013, 02:54 PM
Is there something that needs chopping today, tomorrow or next week? Do you really do all that much chopping? Why not just save for a few weeks/month and buy the Gransfors Bruk - - or a Roselli, or some other quality hatchet that you can have pride of ownership in and be confident of the quality?

July 14, 2013, 09:01 PM
I'm pretty confident of the quality of an American made Estwin.

And I can buy three of them for the price of a Gransfors Bruk, in case I am wrong.

More Pride of ownership?
I guess?

But who do you find to brag about your hatchet too?? :confused:


July 14, 2013, 10:55 PM
ESTWING is good and you get one.

July 19, 2013, 11:34 PM
I love my Estwing carpenters axe

Derry 1946
July 19, 2013, 11:53 PM
Estwing has been good so far. I don't have a Fiskars hatchet but their other products have been uniformly good. Don't think you go too far wrong either way.

July 20, 2013, 06:08 PM
I buy rock hammers, hammers for concret blocks (other wise known as soft rock hammers), regular carpenter hammers and so forth that are made by Estwing. I feel sure their hatchet is just fine and of predicatble quality. I owned one years ago and have misplaced it due to lack of use.

I have a Fiskars, but I don't chop much stuff with a hatchet and as a result, it is sufficient quality for me. I'd love to own a Gransfors Bruk hatchet and axe, but my usage is pretty limited and reason over rides want in this case. I generally use an Collins axe for chopping serious stuff and a heavy knife/machete for the in-between stuff.

July 21, 2013, 10:30 AM
Someone give me a Russian axe, with sort of a broad head face. If you saw the Werner Herzog documentary movie "Happy People" about sable trappers in Siberia, it appears to be the same axe.

Anyway, I've used it for lots of different things and appears to work well for all. Just another choice to throw in the mix.

July 21, 2013, 10:49 AM
Estwing Hatchet with blue handle (http://www.amazon.com/Estwing-E44A-16-Inch-Steel-Campers/dp/B00047F130/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1374418083&sr=8-2&keywords=estwing+hatchet) for $39

July 21, 2013, 10:53 AM
I've also used a Kershaw Hatchet (http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/kershaw-camp-ax.aspx?a=731587) and liked it quite well, too.

July 21, 2013, 11:28 AM
One of the deals I have read about with the steel hatchets (Estwing) was breakage. I don't know what people were trying to cut, but defects in steel do happen. The same thing happened with SOGs tomahawk which I believe was Chinese made. They switched handles and I have heard it isn't a bad hawk.

Mauser lover
July 21, 2013, 11:32 AM
I have used an Estwing hatchet all my life. Works really well, unless you are splitting really dense hardwood and only swing halfheartedly. I have had the wedge at the rear of the head stick pretty well. Not many people try to split almond wood with a hatchet though, so no worries. Nice large flat surface at the back if you desire to pound on it with a (small) sledgehammer.

I don't know anything about their quality going downhill recently, but if you are really worried about it, there is always the used market.

July 21, 2013, 11:51 AM
I would buy an Estwing hatchet in a minute if I wanted to spend that much money on a hatchet.

I have done the mini-sledge thing. It is frowned upon due to steel fragments being knocked off the hatchet or sledge and possibly causing injury.

July 21, 2013, 11:25 PM
I own an eastwing axe and have owned several of their framing hammers over the years. They make good products I haven't heard about a decline in their quality but if you live anywhere near a home depot you could go in and hand select you hatchet as they always seem to have a few in stock.

July 22, 2013, 05:18 AM
I've had the campers axe(long handle) for more then forty-five years and the small one with the leather handle just as long. Both have held up well and are still in use when needed!:D

July 23, 2013, 11:01 PM
One of the deals I have read about with the steel hatchets (Estwing) was breakage. I don't know what people were trying to cut, but defects in steel do happen.

I have no idea what someone could possibly do to break one. That would really take a concerted effort.

OP- I just went through this same issue about a month or two ago. I ended up buying the Estwing on Amazon for $27 delivered. It is a solid chunk of Made in USA steel, that feels like it will outlast my grandchildren, and it was cheaper than many of the Asian made hawks/hatchets.

Some of the grinding is a little rough, but what can you possibly expect at that pricepoint? And it's nothing that effects function even slightly. I am going to take it camping this summer and really give it a good test. Till then, I have very successfully tested it on trees around my property for yard work and I am very very glad I made the call to go with Estwing. I think of the Estwing as being the axe equivalent of a full tang knife.

An axe head that is just stuck in a chunk of plastic seems to me like it would just HAVE to be less durable than being one solid piece of steel from head all the way to bottom of the shaft.

July 24, 2013, 12:20 AM
Estwings are far better than Fiskars. Aside from the issue of the plastic around the axe head getting battered the heat treatment does not seem consistent with Fiskars. My son has a Fiskars and it has chipped on the cutting edge just chopping wood, it seems a little too hard, and my grandson who has the identical Fiskars dulls rapidly.

I have a Estwings for about 20 years now and other than occasional sharpening it has been maintenance free.:)

July 24, 2013, 12:56 AM
I have had my Estwing hatchet since I was 11 years old and that is 51 years ago. My handle is still intact. I never left it outside for long periods of time though

July 24, 2013, 01:29 AM
Between those two I would go with the Estwing, simply because with use the plastic around the head of the Fiskars will begin to chip off in a half-circle pattern towards the front of the bit. The Estwing isn't going ANYWHERE.

You might also consider the Northern Tool 24-oz camp axe ($10) or a Council Tool of some variety (18" Hudson Bay pattern is around $37 shipped on Amazon). Both have wood handles, which are replaceable years down the road should anything happen.

July 24, 2013, 02:37 PM
Here are the two I mentioned with a Victorinox Camper to help gauge size.


Yo Mama
July 24, 2013, 05:08 PM
Get both:


July 24, 2013, 07:12 PM
Curious; which one chops wood better, and which splits better?

I found the Fiskar to excel most at the former, but fall short at the latter, probably because of that flat blade, which blows chips out efficiently as opposed to merely mincing them deeply (and getting stuck). The curved-faced blades I've used seemed to power through when splitting a bit better, probably since the splitting force is concentrated at the middle/tip. Worked better on green/gnarled wood better, too (again, concentrated force)

The Fiskar was the best quality "store bought" hatchet when I got one, but I never liked how light it was. It's blade design made up for that somewhat, but it always felt like a hatchet with a long handle, not and axe. The axes felt even lighter than that :confused:. Normally I'd say lightening the device while maintaining its function is an improvement, but in an axe/hatchet, you get used to a certain heft in your swing, and if you grew up using Craftsman models with heavier heads and hickory handles, it throws you "off" :o


July 24, 2013, 08:41 PM
I cannot comment on the Fiskars axe but I have used an Estwing axe for decades and it still cuts rather well after decades of Christmas trees and acres of manzanita.

July 24, 2013, 09:34 PM
I have owned a fiskars hatchet and ax for years and years. The hatchet around 20 years or so and the ax for at least 10. Both are top notch and work great they do a great job of topping out trees. I recently purchased a 16" estwing campers ax. It in the little use it has gotten thus far has proven to be a great tool for cutting and splitting. The estwing is the better tool IMHO for splitting while the fiskars does the better job at chopping only because of speed generated in the swing of the light tool.

July 24, 2013, 09:59 PM
But who do you find to brag about your hatchet too??

People on forums :)

July 24, 2013, 10:28 PM
I want the Estwing campers axe.
I have the Fiskars axe.
The Fiskars axe green wood as fast as my Echo chainsaw.
It's a sharp, woodcutting machine.
Scary sharp.

July 26, 2013, 05:41 PM
http://i1343.photobucket.com/albums/o787/lobo9er/0202130937_zpsad9e5c30.jpg (http://s1343.photobucket.com/user/lobo9er/media/0202130937_zpsad9e5c30.jpg.html)

for the record that Estwing goes everywhere my jeep goes. 3 tools that get used more than you would think and when they are needed theres always one persons usually wonders why I have it with me, but are glad I have it.

July 26, 2013, 09:36 PM
People on forums :)

Especially if you get a Gransfors Bruks.

July 26, 2013, 11:24 PM
Or Council Tool Velvicut series. Yummm.... I really really want the Velvicut Hudson Bay pattern...

July 31, 2013, 07:07 PM
Hard to beat an Estwing for $27 bucks.

I just bought an X7 Fiskars due to the weight, $25.
It's part of my Jeep travel kit.

July 31, 2013, 07:16 PM
I plan on getting the Estwing, just 'cuz.

They run about $40.00 locally.
They haven't gone up a lot in the last ten years.
If you can damage one, I think you've accomplished something.

I also want the Woodsman's Pal. They're pretty sweet.

Most of the time, though, I do my chopping with my Himalayan Imports Bonecutter Khukuri.
It's one tough chopper.
It better be. I had it custom made by the Birghorkha shop.
Cost me $200.00 and took at least 3 months.
I love that Khuk. I'm going to leave all my money to it, in my will.

BTW, have you seen the Estwing tomahawk?
Gotta get one! That thing is sweet!

Anyway, it's damned hard to go wrong with an Estwing.

July 31, 2013, 07:48 PM
If you have a Home Depot handy they are $35 bucks.


I could of sworn they are $29.95 a couple of months ago too.


Sam Cade
July 31, 2013, 07:57 PM
BTW, have you seen the Estwing tomahawk?
Gotta get one! That thing is sweet!

JShirley picked one up a while back for T&E IIRC

I think he might be doing some comparative tomahawk tests in the near future.

July 31, 2013, 09:36 PM
I would love to see comparative tests.

July 31, 2013, 09:46 PM
Almost bought a Gransfors a couple weeks ago after seeing it in the shop. It was just too damn beautiful. Of course, I live in an apartment in a large city, so it would get used only once or twice a year on camping trips, so it would have been a ridiculous purchase. One day...

August 1, 2013, 10:20 AM
... so it would have been a ridiculous purchase. ...

Gransfors' tag line.

August 8, 2013, 01:44 PM
Estwing is the king in my book

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