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Who likes Gransfors Bruks?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by AStone, Apr 7, 2013.

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  1. AStone

    AStone Member

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    KingCreek, interesting story about deer retrieval. I can almost picture that. Must've been a heck of an adventure. I've read about people using that rounded poll on the hunters axe for skinning. From what Gabriel Branby says, it was more popular for skinning moose in Sweden, and that German hunter's also understand it.

    And yes, I strop mine on a field strop usually after light touch up on a fine stone. Haven't tried the sand paper yet, but will.

    Jeff, I'm sincerely delighted that I could teach you something for once. :) I've learned a lot from reading your posts here over the years. 'Bout time I gave something in return. You owe it to yourself to pick up one of these jewels of the axe world. Not many other makers do it as well. Wetterlings is well known, and I'm pretty sure that GB now owns them (even though Julia Kalthoff is still CEO; I keep sending her mails asking her to come live with me, but so far, she's ignored me. :rolleyes: ).

    tumblr_m0fzysJQJG1qjqujqo1_400.jpg

    Kidding aside for a second, she's a great representative for her company. I sent them a question about an axe I was interested in (and still may add at some point) via their company email (info@) and she responded. We exchanged several mails. Found her very cordial, and told her I was impressed with the fact that the boss responded. She said, "Oh, we're a small company, so I do a lot of the correspondence." I thought that was very cool.

    Hultafors is a much older company (17th century, IIRC) and reportedly approximately equal quality, but they don't distribute in the US due to (reportedly) concerns about liable. (I mean, they make axes, not EBR's, but we have that reputation for litigation.) You can order them through Canada, but I went with GB instead. No reason not to.

    BullRun, I found Mr. Refsal's site. Wow! What a treasure. I've bookmarked it for study at a less busy time. (Right now is insanely busy for me, and about to become even more so for a while as I attempt to create a new company of my own... I know I'm insane, I know I'm insane, I know I'm insane, what am I thinking? What am I thinking? What am I thinking?) Interestingly enough, these tools will be involved in that company - but that's a story for another day.

    ETA: I just went back to Mr. Refsal's site to explore. I'd found some other sites with his work on it, and was glad to find his own, but there appears to be nothing there but a home page. I find no menu, and his "about" page loads nothing. Am I missing something? :confused:

    And Hso, I have to acknowledge your role in me becoming a Gransfors Bruksaholic. Last year, in one of my threads around here, I was contemplating buying some large chopper knife. I think it was the Ontario SP-53, which I bought and have since sold.

    You posted something like, Why don't you just buy a Gransfors or Wetterlings? and I responded that as a kid, I'd grown up with machetes, using them in the woods more than an axe. So, I wanted another big blade chopper, thinking it'd work better than a hatchet, which I viewed as heavier and less flexible as a tool than a large blade.

    Annnnnkkkkk. <Obnoxious game show buzzer indicating wrong answer> I was wrong. I kept the SP-53 for maybe six months ,and tried using it in various projects here on the southern edge of the northern forests (that extend up through northern Maine through Quebec and up to the tundra), and it just sucked at it. So, I sold it and started buying axes.

    Had never owned an axe of this quality before - always cheapos in the past, including Fiskars (which is worth exactly what you pay for it). But I'll never turn back now. Once you've used a GB, there's no going back.

    Hell, even once you've handled one, there's no going back. :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    You moved around enough and have had your view of the "ideal" evolve because of your changing environments. What worked fine in W.Tn didn't exactly work in the PacNW and neither of those fit in perfectly in the woods of Maine. The most common woods tool around any given place is very often the evolutionary line forced by the environment and the needs it puts on those that survive in it.

    Heck, I used to swing an old Collins machete too, but then I found saws and crummy axes and good knives and ... Now my GBs get used less than my mutant Finnish brush hook/hatchet around E.Tn, but the GBs shine when things get too heavy for the hook (and that's right around 3+ inches). (Becker sneers at my hook and wouldn't let me chop with it in a knife rodeo at his place because it wasn't a "knife" and it was "unfair":evil: Duh!)

    The right tool for the job makes the job so much easier. ;)
     
  3. gastong30

    gastong30 Member

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    LOL, fair, that's funny!
     
  4. AStone

    AStone Member

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    I agree, Hso.

    As extreme ends of a spectrum, we might compare equatorial Brazil with northern Quebec. I'd venture a bet that machete would be the preferred tools in the jungle realms - and for good reason, of course, whereas a scandinavian forest axe (at least) would be the proper tool of choice up north. No debate there.

    Yet I know people up here and in Michigan who swear by machete. Of course, I suspect they tend to be more farmers or animal raisers than bushcrafters, and that matters. If I spent most of my time in some of the thickets up here, I'd carry a machete, too. A friend of mine owns a small knife company up here, Baryonyx, who sells mostly other brands, but has designed his own machete. Right tool for the job as you say. Yet at least one I know is a bushcrafter, and he still claims he prefers a machete over an axe. Go figure.

    For me, there's also been a shift in my perception of how to use a tool properly, guided by those - like Kochanski, Mears, Branby - who actually understand how to do so. I've come to realize that so much of my tool use in my youth was learned on my own, and it was often incorrect. I had no blade mentor. My dad wasn't a blade sort of guy - he had other skills, instead, and wasn't an outdoorsman like me. So, I'm late to the game in terms of proper use.

    So, to my point: knowing what I know now, and looking back at what I was doing with that machete as a youth in west TN, I know that if I'd known then what I know now about the differences of axes and machetes and how to use each properly, I'd have chosen an axe instead of a machete. I wasn't cutting vines, shrubs and brambles, I was processing wood to either build things or for fire.

    Of course, I'd have added a saw to the tool kit back then, also. What an amazing difference it makes in cutting a 4" log. I can cut through it with my little Sven saw in a quarter to half the time and work (depending on the wood) it'd take to chop it, even with a small forest axe.
     
  5. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    GB

    I have two GB hatchets - the Kubbin and the mini hatchet.
    The mini remains my favorite....probably because I have had it longer.
    Rides in my Upland vest, in my belt, in the carving box.
    CherryKuksa.jpg
    Pete
     
  6. AStone

    AStone Member

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    Pete, what tasks do you use the mini for most?
     
  7. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    Mini

    Tasks. Shaping that kuksa in the picture. Also for shaping stick bows that I make. Very sharp as others have mentioned, I carry it hiking and use it for knife tasks and splitting wood/ kindling for a Kelly Kettle that I carry.
    Still learning to handle the Kubbin, which I may end up liking as much.
    Pete
     
  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Probably because he doesn't need to break down anything large enough to require an axe in his bushcraft approach and has other uses for the "big knife". Not every bushcrafter follows the same approach to bushcraft.;)

    BTW, LOVE the Sven saw.
     
  9. AStone

    AStone Member

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    So I'm learning. :D
    It's a sweet little tool. I got the 15. Meets my needs well, but I can see the 21 would be superior for serious winter wood. Need to buy an extra blade for it. I put a pic below of mine on footbridge building duty a couple of weeks ago. Notice I wrapped that little wing nut in orange tape so I can find the dang thing when I drop it - easy to do with cold hands in subzero as dark approaches.

    I'm also planning to add a folder to the kit for summer. The Sven is great, but if you only need a couple of pieces cut for a project, it's a bit of hassle to assemble it. Worth it for a winter night's worth of wood. But for summer, I think a folder will do fine for less hassle.

    09bbridgeconstruct2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2013
  10. JVaughn

    JVaughn Member

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    They are very fine. I have 1 myself, don't use much, probably be the last axe I ever have to buy.
     
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