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Smaller axe and hatchet for camping

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by MJD, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. MJD

    MJD Member

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    I have a good buddy celebrating a significant accomplishment and I'd like to get him something to mark the occasion. A smaller axe (~26 inch handle) and a hatchet would be right up his alley.

    I haven't been in the buying game for either items in quite some time. Can anyone shed personal experience on some of the current offerings out there?
     
  2. Deog

    Deog Member

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    I have a woodsmans pal. Awesome, had it many years. I keep a fiskars small axe in the truck, has held up and was cheap in Amazon.
     
  3. danez71

    danez71 Member

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  4. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    Gransfor Bruks small forest axe
     
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  5. Litlman

    Litlman Member

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    Wetterlings Wildlife Hatchet. I like mine.
     
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  6. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    I have a 26" Estwing and I think it transmits too much shock into my arm. Some of it could be mitigated with wrapping the handle with additional material, and wearing gloves, but I think no matter what it will always transmit more vibration than a wooden or fiberglass handle.
     
  7. JudgeHolden10

    JudgeHolden10 Member

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    Look into Wetterlings, Hults, Council Tool, Husqvarna and, if he's a really good buddy, Gransfors. Or at least those were the ones that my friend, a serious tool buff, was considering when he bought one. FWIW, I think he bought a Husqvarna.
     
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  8. Acera

    Acera Member

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    I know they don't get a lot of love on this forum, but I've had a Gerber axe for years now and like it. Stays with the 4 wheeler and gets a fair amount of field use. Mine is one of the older ones, so it does not have the texture found on many of the new ones. Wrapped the handle in grip wrap I picked up at Walmart for about $5 to make it more comfortable to use.

    http://www.gerbergear.com/Cutting-tools/Axes

    .
     
  9. bubba in ca

    bubba in ca Member

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    Estwing is tool box material--soft steel and unbreakable handle, not the best chopper. The rubber handle gets real hard after about 20 years.
    Wranglerstar on youtube has a bunch of reviews on better quality wood handled axes and hatchets.
    Generally speaking, I love the convenience of buying online, but with anything I buy with a wooden handle I really prefer to see it first in person. I'm in the market for a gransfor scandinavian or the wetterling equivalent, but probably won't order till after the Christmas rush and when I have time to send it back if necessary.

    The Velvicut looks good , too, and American made.
     
  10. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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  11. MJD

    MJD Member

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    All, thank you very much for your replies. I have a good bit of research to do!
     
  12. bubba in ca

    bubba in ca Member

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    2 thumbs down for SG
    It is stainless mystery steel from unknown location
    It is made in Switzerland

    Reviews say it is great for the money and boilerplate says it is Swedish military issue.

    Adds like this annoy me.
     
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  13. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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  14. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    Yes, the Estwing has a thin blade, it bites deep but doesn't kick wood chips out. You have to make angular cuts on a log otherwise you'll spend a lot of time just making slices.

    On the other hand if you're chopping something that moves - like a thick vine, small trees or mulberry bushes, the Estwing will slice through them where another axe would just thump them.
     
  15. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    I like the Estwing, when I look back at my use of hatchets it consists of trap line use and grubbing brush for the most part with some light camp duty or splitting a pelvis but I couldn't imagine using one of the premium brands for my purposes.
    As far as the Estwing handling shock, when their hammers are factored in I doubt there is a specific handle that has taken more swings in history. I've certainly swung their 28oz framer many more times than any of their edged tools but shock never was an issue and I doubt many hatchet handles get sweatier than a summer time framing hammer and they seem to hold up well.
     
  16. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    As far as shock, are you talking about the Estwing breaking?

    I don't think its ever going to break.

    Just my personal experience, I've used an el-cheapo Home Depot splitting maul for 4 hours at a time making firewood from mature Sugar Maples that were downed by a storm. Probably put in 16 hours over a weekend, multiple weekends. The el-cheapo maul had a polymer handle and I really didn't feel much shock.

    I can't use the Estwing for very long, it hurts my wrists.

    I know they're two different tools. I used the Estwing in combination with a Gerber machete for clearing brush. I thought it worked great for chopping down small trees and getting in there and severing the trunk of bushes. Its light enough that you can swing it horizontally with one hand and with a backhand swing you can take out a bush. With a smaller hatchet you can't really reach the trunk of some bushes, you're going to have to use your feet or one of your arms to sort of bend back the branches so you can get in there with a hatchet. A machete works well for these jobs too but a full-blown axe is a little too heavy and unwieldy for that kind of work. I think the Estwing is super for those jobs.

    I'm not saying the Estwing won't chop a log - it will. I just don't think its the most comfortable tool for prolonged chopping of something like a log.
     
  17. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    No, I'm talking about the same shock as you.
    Just pointing out that Estwing handles have done a lot of swinging over the years on hatchets and hammers and the design has proven to be effective and not debilitating.
    I'm speaking of general purpose uses but for the money I shed no tear if my Estwing is chipped by a rock or lays out overnight, I'm sure there are purposes for gone Scandinavian blades, I just don't have one
     
  18. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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  19. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    My GB small axe is a joy to use.
     
  20. Flintknapper

    Flintknapper Member

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  21. Yo Mama

    Yo Mama Member

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    I'll jump in, and add that the Estwing axe is GREAT but DULL! Like really dull, had to touch it up for it to work right. Other than this, I'm in love.
     
  22. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    HSO said "I have one. Awful things."

    Re: Swedish surplus axe, I guess the Swedish military can't afford the good domestic product. Either that, or maybe they think they're junk too and are disposing of them.
     
  23. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    ^^^
    Remember, military gear is usually manufactured by the lowest bidder... :thumbdown:
     
  24. barnbwt

    barnbwt Member

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    Just curious, what was awful? Seems to keep an edge well enough, and has been sturdy from what I can tell. I see it as a large hatchet vs. an axe I'd swing or try to split difficult stuff with, though; limbing, not bucking. I can see how it'd be bad for heavy jobs since there's no swell to the pole (or is it haft, or handle?) and it's rather round (not as easy to grip). Seems more like what I associate with a pick handle, but way shorter. Paired with a good bandsaw, that limitation isn't as big an issue. I also got the matching hatchet-hatchet with my axe, and it's definitely the more useful of the two.

    Picture is when they were still new & shiny :). Quality items, but very 'antiquated' and spartan. Given their era of production, they really should have had better materials & more ergonomic shapes, but I suspect they were mostly for show (somewhat like the very nice Swiss bayonets). The axe is really kind of an odd size, not even twice the hatchet length, therefore a bit large for hatchet chores & a bit small for axe jobs. I always figured they were intended for simple clearing of light brush where the full power of an axe is overkill but greater reach than a hatchet saves the back.

    A Gransfors Bruks is probably nicer...but it had better be at those prices. ;)

    TCB
     

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  25. barnbwt

    barnbwt Member

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    I noticed that, too; of all the things for the Swedes to import...forest axes? They look the same as the Swiss ones apart from the red paint & maybe the handle material.

    Someone mentioned the Gerber products, I think those are licensed Fiskars (the Swedes must hate the Finns too much to do business, lol) and I've been pleasantly surprised with them. Definitely a detour from what I had typically thought of as an 'axe' though, having grown up swinging a Sears in the Boy Scouts. If I had to carry one all day in moist conditions they'd be on the list. If I had to build something larger than a small campfire with one, probably not.

    -A lot shorter than usual (not as short as the surplus axe above, though)
    -Extremely lightweight, owing to hollow plastic haft and small head
    -Extremely sharp, especially for a store-bought axe, but wide grind angle (it's at least 30 degrees). Seems like harder steel than most store-boughts, but the wide bevel helps

    For brush trimming, which is what these were clearly meant for, the light weight and fast handling are nice, and the very sharp/wide blade punches through cross-grain, yet bounces out of the cut. Almost too bouncy in my opinion, as I felt a committed swing into a solid log would result in a broken nose (slight hyperbole, but an axe-head that pops back up out of the cut was a little different than I was used to). But if your task is trimming small branches or clearing brush while on the go, it seems ideally suited. The smaller hatchet works just about as well (all the long handle is doing is making the swing faster, and the bounce more lively; you aren't really letting gravity do the work on the downstroke like most axes so the length isn't much advantage). I found it wasn't great for splitting, both due to the light weight and the plastic wrapping around the sides of the head (if the split runs far ahead of the blade on a longer piece of wood, the plastic will strike/rub the sides of the cut)

    TCB
     

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