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Small axe/Hatchet

Discussion in 'Bushcraft Tools' started by Ian, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Ian

    Ian Site Manager Staff Member

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    I'm after a small axe or hatchet, its mainly for work so will be used for splitting kindling, chopping ivy off trees and maybe taking the odd small dead tree down when I can't be bothered to go back to my car and fetch a saw.

    It would be useful if I could use it for any occasional bushcraft outings as well so a good blade cover and handy enough to be stowed in a rucksack as well as being sharp and good quality steel are all requirements.

    Bear in mind, I haven't exactly won the lottery so no flashy £200+ bits of finest kit please.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance:)
     
  2. elliott92

    elliott92 Very Addicted

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    gransfors bruks small forest axe, not too big not too small. great steel. swedish hand made and only £54. that would be my choice anyway mate

    Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
     
  3. HillBill

    HillBill Very Addicted Site Donor

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    Anything from Gransfors Bruks, wetterlings, hultafors or husquavarna will see you right.

    The standard bushy kit is the Gransfors axes, mainly the wildlife hatchet or the Small forest axe
    These are handmade in Sweden and the price tag, while not cheap in the scheme of things isn't too high either. Especially for the quality tool you will get.

    Both Gransfors and wetterlings on this link

    The Woodsmith's Store: Working Axes - Green Woodworking Tools - Green Woodworking Accessories

    The other makes i listed are a little cheaper, but still good quality axes.

    If you want cheaper still, less than £20, then look at the Bahco range of axes, good quality tools but you will need to put some effort in getting the edge upto standard.

    My favourite axe, believe it or not, cost £3 from argos, it came blunt as a blunt thing, but i sorted the edge and now its my most used axe. Really good at splitting and carving and the head weight means it does the work itself. The argos axe is actually identical to the bacho hatchets, though there is more choice in the bahco range as far as length and head weights go.

    This is a good axe if you can fettle the edge

    Bahco - Standard Axe 1.1/4LB: Amazon.co.uk: DIY & Tools

    Hultafors axes here
    Hultafors Axes - Agdor Range - Casstrom Outdoor

    Husquavarna here ( ignore the top 4)
    Splitting mauls and axes - Husqvarna Chainsaw Specialists

    With the better makes listed above, you get a decent mask for the axe. You don't on the bahco

    I have many axes, i prefer them to knives tbh for the versatility, if you want any more help or info then read these too. I'll be here if you have any questions. :)

    Selecting An Axe

    How To Sharpen An Axe
     
  4. Ian

    Ian Site Manager Staff Member

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    £54 is a bit much for me at the moment. What does anyone think about the Wilkinson Sword/Fiskars stuff? I've got a bill hook made by them and I swear by it, they are using Swedish steel as well I think?

    Really I suppose I am looking at around the £20, maybe £30 mark but since you mentioned Husky, as a gardener I am now wondering what the Stihl stuff would be like as I know I prefer their brushcutters and chainsaws to the modern Husky stuff (obviously the old Husky stuff is still good, until they sold out their engine production to elecrolux:()
     
  5. HillBill

    HillBill Very Addicted Site Donor

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    The Fiskars axes are ok if you like that kind of look. Personally, i cant stand the sight of them. They look horrid. :) No way are they as effective performance wise as some of the ones i listed.
     
  6. fishingwalkies

    fishingwalkies Slightly Addicted

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    The axe I use was £5 from toolstation/screwfix get it on a grinder to get a decent edge, and if you lose it out in the field its nowt to replace it, I have just been out in the woods with my brother and kids and we felled a few trees and chopped sticks, I even shaped a felled tree into a seat for the kids......nowt special but it took the wet wood off the top and down to the dry stuff for the seat.

    You dont need owt special, as they get a lot of hammer and use, so after each bushy event just get another good edge,,,,,,,,,,,,,justy my opinion!

    Just another note I tend not to go for the fibre glass handle ones as they feel off balance in your hand!
     
  7. Ian

    Ian Site Manager Staff Member

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    Just dug out my old Stihl catalogue (didn't realise it was 3 years old:eek: must get a new one) they do a nice little forestry hatchet that was about £25. I'll have a shop around this week as we've got a Screwfix and a cheap tool place right near the Stihl dealer in a town I go through every Thursday.
    I could get a lot of use out of a decent hatchet so it may be worth me spending about £25 or so on one. I always think the more you are going to use a tool the more you should spend on it, although spending more money doesn't always equate to getting better quality, that's one of the reasons I prefer to buy things like this locally, so I can get to have a good feel of it before parting with my cash;)
     
  8. HillBill

    HillBill Very Addicted Site Donor

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    Personally, i'd avoid axes from local retailers. Buy quality, buy once, its a tool for life.

     
  9. Ian

    Ian Site Manager Staff Member

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    I can see myself going Stihl to be honest, I'm a bit of a Stihl tart:eek:
     
  10. HillBill

    HillBill Very Addicted Site Donor

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  11. Ian

    Ian Site Manager Staff Member

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    Now you've got me leaning towards the Husky (5th one down) or the Hultafors Agdor small trekking axe.
    When I think about it, I reckon I would be better spending a bit more on quality steel rather than some cheap Chinese stuff that will doubtless infuriate me at some point. (Infuriated man with blunt axe doesn't sound good to me:eek:)


    So, the Husky or the Hultafors? both look very similar and are hand forged Swedish steel.
     
  12. HillBill

    HillBill Very Addicted Site Donor

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    Just remembered something i read a bit back and just checked and it is correct. Hultafors are the company who make the axe heads for husqvarna. :) Both will be equally as good, so if you like them then get the cheapest you can find.
     
  13. Ian

    Ian Site Manager Staff Member

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    Cheers for that. Got a few Husky dealers round here and some decent shops so I'll check locally and compare to internet prices.:)
     
  14. Cavey

    Cavey Very Talkative

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    I know where you're coming from mate. I used a wee axe very often when gardening professionally - I say 'gardening' sort of tongue in cheek, as I was mostly involved in soft landscaping in my early years or gut outs in my latter. :D

    I've still got my wee axe, a Sandvik 600 that I bought many years ago primarily to cut roots when digging out unwanted trees.
    I can't remember how much it cost or even if they're still available but I know it wasn't expensive as I was mega skint at the time.

    I've just had a look at it, good grief I've abused that wee thing so much! If there's a god of metal and wood then I'm a goner... :rolleyes:
     
  15. Cavey

    Cavey Very Talkative

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    Hey Stihl tart, apart from the top handled saw and strimmer/brushcutter, Stihl are total rubbish.

    You can't field strip them because they're anti-tamper - unless of course you have the full set of torx keys?

    Husky all the way for me mate, simply because they can be field stripped with the key supplied. :p
     
  16. Cavey

    Cavey Very Talkative

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    Hmm, how best to resolve this issue?

    I know...



    FIGHT!!!

    :D
     
  17. Ian

    Ian Site Manager Staff Member

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    I've got a 20-odd year old Husky chainsaw which is still going strong but I don't trust their engines these days and they are definitely not built like they used to be. Mind you, the cheaper end of the Stihl range is no longer built in Germany and not recommended for professional use.

    Personally mate when it comes to garden machinery I'm starting to go Japanese these days with Echo equipment as it beats the hell out of both the main European contenders and has double the warranty of Stihl, even for professional use.

    Now I'm wondering if I can get an Echo axe:rolleyes:
     
  18. Ian

    Ian Site Manager Staff Member

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    I ordered the Husky axe in the end. Hopefully it should arrive tomorrow or Wednesday. I got it slightly cheaper off Amazon.

    I am after a cheapie like the one from Argos (although Argos don't seem to do them any more:() for chopping roots of trees and shrubs etc, which I can just run up on the bench grinder now and then and keep the Husky for best.

    I'll let you know what I think when I get it:)
     
  19. HillBill

    HillBill Very Addicted Site Donor

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    You wont be disappointed by how the husky performs. Do you know how to sharpen axes using the mousemat method? Which is the best axe/convex sharpening method bar none.

    You've seen this post
    Five Pound Sharpening Kit

    Well all you do is glue some foam mousemat/sleepmat to the wood and pin the wet and dry over the foam. Then you sharpen on that going through the grits and because of the foam the wet n dry curves round the contours of the bevel and keeps it all true and hair popping sharp.

    Really easy to do. :)
     
  20. Ian

    Ian Site Manager Staff Member

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    Cheers matey, I'll look into that.
    I'm very competent at sharpening knives now after years of practice, I even do it for my customers but I read through a bit of the axe sharpening article on here and it looks like a totally different kettle of fish, with some expensive tools involved:rolleyes:, so any tips on axe sharpening will come in very handy.

    Don't worry, the Husky blade will not be shown the bench grinder;)