Gransfors quality?

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by penetrator, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. penetrator

    penetrator Scout

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    I bought my first Gransfors axe two days ago, a Wildlife Hatchet. I have always read and heard that Gransfors axes were of the best quality, much better than Wetterlings at the very least. However, this wasn't my experience.

    I bought the hatchet at a brick and mortar store. They had three in store. They were all forged by MM. I looked at all three and the first issue I found was that the heads were on crooked. If you sight along the handle, the line extending from the edge bisects the knob at about 1/3 of the thickness. Not that much, but both my Wetterlings Large Hunter's Axe and Husqvarna (Hults Bruk made) hatchet are perfectly straight.

    Since they were all off by about the same angle, I bought the one with the vertical grained handle. The two others were diagonally grained at about 45 degrees.

    The profile of my axe isn't 100% straight, either, it runs slightly off to one side. Again, both my Wetterlings and my Husqvarna have better symmetry. Also, one of the "ears" is noticably thinner than the other.

    The poll is wavy and looks like the raw forged surface was taken to a polishing wheel, leaving many little pits and depressions to collect dirt. The Wetterlings poll is ground smooth, while the Husqvarna poll is raw, but smooth and square.

    Finally, the metal wedge isn't flush - it sticks out a bit. The head is tight, though.

    The edge was very sharp, except for about a 1/2 long part at the top, where are burr could be felt on one side. It looks like it was simply ground on a belt grinder, with no honing or stropping done.

    Certainly, these issues could be considered minor and still result in a functional axe, but from GB's reputation, I expected more. I would rate the overall quality below Wetterlings.

    What are your experiences, specifically with the Wildlife Hatchet?
     
  2. Ironwood

    Ironwood Guide

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    I picked up Hunters axe used and it chipped numerous times, one was big enough to activate the warranty. Gransfors and Lee Valley Tools honored the warranty even though I wasn't the original owner. The replacement hatchet came complete with the Axe Booklet. My axe had an LP makers mark. Just so happened that this man was featured in the booklet pics and there is a group photo whether by coincidence or design. He looks to be a senior smith. The head and haft look great. Grain alignment could be a little more vertical but its a nice piece of all spring wood. I can't complain.

    I haven't put her through the paces yet but am hoping for the best. If nothing else they will honor the warranty.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
  3. solocanoe

    solocanoe Bushmaster

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    well, I'm gonna say this...you have 2 posts at the moment I'm reading this...

    we recently had a similar thing around here....

    it seems you aren't happy - call the dealer, they'll take the tools back - you'll get your money back.

    coming here and straight away bashing a company like GB - that's sorta like signing up at the Lambo forum and launching into great detail about how your Lambo isn't what you thought.... it doesn't pull a trailer, etc...

    they are axes - tools - and they are pretty awesome - especially if you USE THEM.

    seems fishy...just saying...
     
  4. Sar5

    Sar5 Tracker

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    I've read this before. I had a similar type experience. I wanted a gransfor axe or a while. I saved and when I was in the Smokey mrs. I stopped at the smkw's store. They had about five of the model i wanted in stock. Using the info on what to look for, all but one matched the things I was looking for. the others had flaws of different degrees. Did they all effect the performance of the axe, probably not. But it was something special I was getting so I was picky.

    They are expensive but well worth it when you find the one you want. As
    Solo stated I would either return it direct or send it in.

    For some reason an axe is like a personal item you should hand select and wait until you find the perfect one.

    Good luck in your search.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  5. shotgunner11

    shotgunner11 Tracker

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    I've had 2 GB hatchets. I was slightly disappointed with both of them. Both functioned flawlessly but the alignment was off on both of them and the grain orientation was less than ideal.

    I've had 2 Wetterlings as well, both of the same model. First one was stolen and I was extremely disappointed thinking that I had gotten an amazing specimen because it was perfect. The replacement that I got was also just right.

    For my money I'd gamble on the Wetterlings again over the GB. The GB are just too expensive not to be perfect IMO.
     
  6. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    Been reading reports on both brands , here and elsewhere, for several years. The quality is just a mite variable, guys. Even the bad ones are usually useable, but the warranty is good on both, so if ya get one you don't think is right, contact them and send it back.

    JMO.
     
  7. skunkworx

    skunkworx Scout

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    Let's see some pics of what you're describing.
     
  8. Natures_Adventure

    Natures_Adventure Scout

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    I have the Gransfors Bruks forest axe. I love my axe, and I couldn't be more happier with the product.
     
  9. Bax 40

    Bax 40 Supporter Supporter

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    I have several different GBs and all are very good axes, I could just be lucky after reading this, but I bet my experience is more the norm than not!!


    Larry
     
  10. Pablo

    Pablo Guide Vendor

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    I can't afford GB axes... I've bought 3 Plumb axes from yardsale and off ebay, all for under $25 each. Once I worked over the edges and rehandled them, they've been phenomenal axes! The steel holds an edge like nothing I've used (frozen wood? no worries!). I'm a complete convert to Plumb axes from ebay!
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  11. Aven

    Aven Banned Member Banned

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    I'm confused. Why would you buy something that you were handling and weren't happy with then. I can understand if it was sent to you, but you picked it out. So why spend the money and then come here to comment on what you picked out?
     
  12. Iz

    Iz MEMBER of a BANNED Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    I only have one thing to say:

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. justin_baker

    justin_baker Bushmaster

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    I have seen a few posts like this. I really hope this isn't going to be a "thing" with Granfors. A crooked head and a crooked grind can be easily spotted and stopped before it even leaves the factory. It's unacceptable considering how expensive the axes are. If it was council tool that sells $30-$40 axes I would understand.
     
  14. jloden

    jloden Guide Bushclass I

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    Iz... that is really disturbing. Just sayin'

    Handmade (either partially or fully) sometimes means a lot of variance in quality control. Reputation isn't everything either, and sometimes you just have to decide for yourself if the price is worth it to you. Given that you were selecting the hatchet in person I think if it were me I'd have given it a pass if I wasn't happy with it.

    Personally I bought my axes to be go out and swing them hard at big pieces of wood. It doesn't have to be a perfect work of art, it just needs to be functional. I paid extra for my swedish axes because I liked the style and the history. I am not going to take calipers to my axe head or freak out if the handle grain isn't 100% straight, but that's me. Some people feel like at the price point the G-B axes should be forged jewels, and that's ok - just means they'll be a lot pickier than me.
     
  15. Swede6.5x55

    Swede6.5x55 Guide

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    Like said before, there have been posts on this topic. Just because 3 out of thousands of axes are bad, don't mean they all is bad. Use it, it is a tool. If you don't like it, return it. Get another one. I bought my GB SFA from an online picture, and whaddya know? It's perfect. Things happen, it still works. A rusty 9/16th's wrench still tightens a shiney and new 9/16th's bolt and nut.
    Also, as said before, "bashing" or complaning about a reputable company like Gransfors Bruks, or Benchmade, or Spyderco, or BRK, or ESEE, or Leatherman, or whatever, is kinda "rude." We all have good experiences with Gransfors Bruks, and one bad experience results in the phrase "Use it."
     
  16. EnglishManInOntario

    EnglishManInOntario Guide

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    I have two GB axes forged by "MM", both are top notch. FWIW.
     
  17. Davros

    Davros Guide Bushclass II

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    If I buy something and it is truly defective to the point of not actually working like it should, I would return it for sure. Personally I buy hand made things because I don't want them to look perfect. That way it has it's own character. The minor flaws give it this. I have a coffee table with knots and teeth marks (those crazy kids). It doesn't affect it's use and I wouldn't try "fixing" it in a million years.
     
  18. Buckles

    Buckles Tracker

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    I almost bought a wetterlings a few days ago. Then I found a Norlund Voyageur in my parents garage. I cleaned it up and put a new handle on. Its a great axe and cost all of $7 for a new handle.
     
  19. Slickheadhunter

    Slickheadhunter Scout

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    I have the 19 inch forest axe and its perfect! They will make it right!
     
  20. karlhungusjr

    karlhungusjr Scout

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    so....you bought it from a brick and mortar store. which means you were able to inspect it before you bought it. and while inspecting it you noticed several things that you viewed as flaws.....yet you bought it anyway? why?
     
  21. Swede6.5x55

    Swede6.5x55 Guide

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    Huh. True genius. Never thought of to say that.
     
  22. penetrator

    penetrator Scout

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    The reason I bought it was because I needed a small hatchet for a weekend trip, so I just bought the best of the three they had.

    It's not a "bad" hatchet, it just isn't "perfect". Maybe I expected too much after hearing so much "hype". It works well within its size and weight limitations.

    I'm not gonna return it simply because I'm not willing to invest time in this. And to be honest I'm afraid I'd get an even worse one. At least the handle has a good grain. I can live with it. I just expected to be better than the "cheaper" brands.

    Here are some pics so you can see what I was talking about.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  23. DCP

    DCP Guide Bushclass I

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    Im not an axepert but that last picture seems concerning doesn't it?
     
  24. penetrator

    penetrator Scout

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    Yes, from the looks of it. I have used the hatchet over the weekend, mostly on spruce. I have found it to perform reasonably well. Performance in green wood was good. Seasoned, not so much. Chopping up even 3" seasoned spruce was tedious and I resorted to my Bahco Laplander saw for cross cutting (something I never do with my Wetterlings 19"). That doesn't have anything to do with the quality, of course, it's just a limitation of the light weight. But, every time the hatchet glances or misses, you wonder if it's your aim/angle or if it's because of the hatchet. Hard to say unless you have another, "straight" GB wildlife to compare.

    Splitting performance on the same 3" seasoned spruce was rather poor, probably due to the light weight of the hatchet. I had to baton the wood with my Mora 711. Admittedly, though, it was the worst possible wood to split: it had a spiral grain (about 90 degrees twist in a 2ft length). I used the hatchet to flatten the ends, which worked well and resulted in smooth and mostly parallel surfaces (I was building a small "chair").
     
  25. skunkworx

    skunkworx Scout

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    I'd get your money back or a new axe after seeing that crap. It looks usable sure, but for the premium you pay for GB's you might as well get one that's worth the price tag.
     
  26. kgd

    kgd Dr. Fishguts Bushclass I

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    Well that is the problem with selling a boutique product like an axe....People get so picky about things they forget what they are buying them for. In GB you are paying for the process - traditional forging using the drop hammer. Part of the bargain is that you get a head hardened the way the old timers liked them - albeit that hardness at the edge makes them more prone to chipping when hitting knots and such. The old timer's new this quality - one reason the double headers were so popular was that one side was ground obtuse and used for nasty work, the other side finely honed and used for throwing the chips. Take a quick search on old axe heads on e-bay and see how many of those axes, forged as they should, have dime sized chips in them. Most people chalk it up to abuse over the ages, but I suspect the hardness contributes as well.

    I only have one GB - the American Feller....It came out pretty much perfect but then again, I haven't taken a magnifer to its surface to uncover the flaws in it either. Today, a GB is only about 40% more than a Wetterlings. The QA issues are a bit better on GB but Wetterlings is often pretty good but comes with a less refined edge. I think axes are one of the cheapest outdoor tools available to us. Griping about $130 on a tool like this is rather comical. I've had shoes cost twice that much fall apart after a few wearings....I've bought meals for two that cost double and never even got lucky....Sheash...
     
  27. vermillion8604

    vermillion8604 Guide

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    Just remember, it is hand forged, it won't be perfect.

    Secondly, axes were not really designed to chop seasoned wood.... They were meant to chop green wood. Why do you think when the old timers used to split wood for burning they would do it at the beginning of spring? so the wood could dry out. Also in the double bit ax logging days, it was only green trees that were cut, the others were just left to rot. Another thing you need to understand is that most trees where these axes are made are softwood trees... Mostly pine. They aren't meant for really hardwood trees or seasoned wood. That's probably the reason why it wouldn't split seasoned spruce. I also don't know how much experience you have with axes but you don't just "swing and pray" with an ax. There's an actual technique to swinging an ax.


    All that being said, I actually heard that axes returned to the stores just get re-packaged or recirculated and put back on the shelf. A LOT of stores lately have been doing that and it isn't just for axes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  28. L.V

    L.V Guide Bushclass I

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    With the GB the problem seems to be that people think they are baying a Rolls Royce when in reality they are just shopping a Mercedes. 2nd issue seems that there is so much those handpicked ones in the reviews (picked by client/reviewer). It makes me a bit sick to hear this my handle grain isn't perfect talk.. aaw, when you buy an axe it's the steel part you should be interested, the handle will wear and tear in no time no matter if it is a "perfect" or good. This all perfect vs good is just for those drawer queen nonsense tools.

    Ugh.
     
  29. Pablo

    Pablo Guide Vendor

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    Well said... I've also pondered the meticulousness with with which we treat and view such tools.. my friend had made a nice axe handle the other day for a good Plumb ebay axehead, and was fawning over the flawless oil finish he'd applied... I laughed and reminded him what it'd look like after a few long canoe trips.... He came down to earth quick! Sure, a well-forged and sharpened axe that is well-maintained is a far superior tool to a lousy one, but it's easy to lose sight of "the forest for the trees"...

    I do agree that we could expect better from GB,but It looks like all the issues that hatchet has are user-fixable. Perhaps the education that is to be had from addressing all those flaws just adds to the overall value of the axe!
     
  30. Sar5

    Sar5 Tracker

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    To some 130 is a lot of money. And the handle is , yes they are really a perishable item, but when you buy it new you would want a proper grain. When you buy a new car you don't want defective tires right.

    I love my gb axe. I also love my wetterlings.

    I think a lot of people read the reviews and expect a lot more out of a gb for the price.

    The original posters pics show an axe I would not have bought, if I needed a quick axe for a sudden trip I would have gotten a cheaper one for the time and continued to search for my perfect axe.

    I don't think anyone is trying to bash GB axes. With their proven history they are one of only a handful of modern made axes we can still pass on to our children. The way good tools should.

    Who doesn't have a tool, pocket knife, etc. Handed down to them? It's that history that can mean a lot too.


    Good luck with the purchase and thanks o everyone here for a great forum. There is a wealth to learn here from some great people.
     
  31. Steven Long

    Steven Long Guide Vendor

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    It honestly looks like it has been used and put back on the shelf to sell.
     
  32. bigvisk

    bigvisk Scout

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    i have a wildlife hatchet made by MM. when i bought it, i noticed the poll had a line that appeared to be where the head was forged together. i was worried about it, but after use it is just fine, i hammer wood stakes in all the time.

    i also use my hatchet to split dry seasoned wood all the time, pine-oak/hickory. i saw it with a saw and split it with the hatchet. i have even cut up and processed fallen seasoned oak with only my scandanavian forest axe.

    to me an axe excels at felling and assisting in processing a green tree, but i would not spend so much money on a tool that wont do everything i need it to do if it is all i have. that is why i buy GB, because i trust them to do everything i put them up to. from felling live/dead trees, to shelter building, wood processing, tool building, etc, etc, etc.

    i also dont understand why you would buy a $120ish hatchet when you were not satisfied by it at the store, if i needed a hatchet for a weekend and didnt like the $120 one, i would have gone to walmart and bought a $10 one.

    GB are not going to be perfect, they are not machined parts, stamped to spec, they are all hand made, hand forged, and therefore will always have some defects, however minor. that is part of the joy.
     
  33. CJ60

    CJ60 Guest

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    I want to THANK the OP for this post, and slightly saddened at how a few GB Groupies posted un useful posts...
    I want a GB axe someday because they are handmade and NOT perfect, but the pics show a very sloppy example of an axe with the reputation and following that GB has... Yeah, he didn't have to buy it, and I wouldn't have, but may he who has never had buyer remorse cast the first stone!
    I have read mostly glorious reviews of GB, Wetterlings, etc., and I appreciate when people buy pricey items, are confused and unhappy, and post as he did. It makes me a little more cautious and realistic when it comes to my shopping. And I also thought it was a tasteful review, albeit negative.
    Reviews by "Brand Groupies" have never done me well, because no matter what crap the company may put out (and MANY companies have gone from grand to crap products), they will fawn and boast about them.. That does me no good...
    Thanks for the review, hope you get it worked out!
     
  34. KajunKat

    KajunKat Guide

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    If it was mine I would return it. Hand forged or not I would not accept an uneven grind that bad or an unfinished poll. I have used chinese axes with a better grind than that. That looks like a Monday morning or Friday afternoon job. Send those same pictures to their warranty department and I bet they will make it right. Looks like you got a lemon...as the saying goes "even monkeys fall out of trees sometimes"
     
  35. One Legged Josh

    One Legged Josh Dirt Merchant Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    If its sharp on one end, dull on the other, and the head stays on when you use it....I would say you got a decent woodworking tool. JMO
     
  36. vermillion8604

    vermillion8604 Guide

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    First off... No post is un useful, it's just an opinion. That's what a forum is, a gathering of information and opinions.

    That being said, I don't own nor will ever own one of the newer GB axes. I have a very old double bit. The newer ones have too thin of a bit for the hardwoods we have here in Louisiana. I'm no "brand groupie" nor will I ever be one. Back in the day before people got spoiled and lazy on CS and QC, if you had no choice but to buy something that had minor defects, and most times you had to, like that you just fixed it yourself. A file costs 12.00 and a new haft costs 10.In fact, 40-50 years ago, most higher dollar axes did NOT come with a final grind, you had to finalize it yourself which in my opinion is better. I have an old arvika ax, it's a Swedish ax and still has never been sharpened and finalized in over 50 years from the factory. So with that being said, I would have never bought it in the first place and I agree with who said to just buy an el cheapo ax and wait for what you really want. Just be glad we have CS and QC these days. I would just send it back to the factory. Not the store, the factory. They will send you a brand new ax with no imperfections.
     
  37. Seniorman

    Seniorman Guide

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    To me, that GB hatchet would be unacceptable.

    I have old Plumb and Mann Edge Co. axes, and Plumb and Estwing hatchets, all made years ago and have performed perfectly for me.

    If I were to buy an axe today, I'd buy a Council Tools forged axe, made in the good ol' USA. The one below in the link would be with me in camp. One of my hunting/camping buddies has one and it is a fine chopper out in the mountains.

    http://www.counciltool.com/product.asp?pg=product&item=175HB28

    There are several reviews of Council axes on You Tube.

    EDIT: I'd also buy the sheath that is made for it.

    S.M.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  38. Hollowdweller

    Hollowdweller Tracker

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    I love GB.

    I have 3 of their axes, but I bought them when they were half the price they are now.

    I've been pretty pleased with all mine but that bit you posted a pic of looks effed up.

    I wouldn't be super picky about grain orientation I don't think it makes a big difference unless it's extreme but that crooked bit would make me return it.

    The only problems I have had with any of mine is my hunters had a very thin edge and had some microchips when I first used it and after I touched it up it's been fine.

    I broke about 1/2" off the beard of a mini and they replaced it.


    For what they charge (cost of a custom) I'd want it to be pretty much perfect.

    However custom's are often less perfect than a GB.
     
  39. Mr.Black

    Mr.Black WILDEROXEN Tracker Pack #1 Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    Its not a Shuttle part.Ive got alot of work done over the years with alot worse than that.The last ones I was Given a Barco FSS and my SAW Wildlife hatchet work great I never even really looked at em just the the aftermath Thats just me though.
    I guess get your money back and get a Racing Axe made or get a Gerber...I dont know what to tell you
    Lots of proof in the pages Here Its(GB) a Great Company and many satisfied hard Users.

    M/BK
     
  40. Infidel

    Infidel Guide Bushclass I

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    The only problem I have with any of my axes, including my GB's are they outlast me....I run out of damn wind. Would that racing axe improve that, or would it smoke me that much quicker, just wondering.:)
     
  41. Mr.Black

    Mr.Black WILDEROXEN Tracker Pack #1 Supporter Bushclass I Bushclass Instructor

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    They just look better on the Mantel when the Lumberjack Hipster Groupies come over Lol

    I will plead Ignorance and apathy:dblthumb:

    M/BK
     
  42. Infidel

    Infidel Guide Bushclass I

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    LOL...gonna be a classic right there.
     
  43. penetrator

    penetrator Scout

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    I have sent Gransfors an email with the photos attached. Let's see what they have to say.

    Just to clear up a couple of misconceptions:

    It looks used because I took the photos after the trip. It was definitely unused when I bought it. Also, I didn't pay 120 USD, I paid 59.95 Euros, which comes out to about 80 USD (that's including 19% sales tax.)
     
  44. Woods Walker

    Woods Walker Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    A friendly atmosphere which gives a person the benefit of the doubt first is one thing that keeps people coming back to these forums. :) Maybe something to consider when a person has criticism of a beloved brand.
     
  45. Donkey78

    Donkey78 Tracker

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    i finally got my first GB small forest axe last week. I took it out of the package and checked it out, so the head is cocked a bit to the left,, ehh no big deal, the axe head was dimpled from the hammering.. Awsome! the handle well other than being too Slick was fine, 60 grit fixed the smoothness, the grain orentation was Flawless, i actually was chubin a bit.

    once the weekend came i took it out and put it though the runs, green trees literally uprooted and ran away. the dead ones well... their dead so i had my way with em. once i got to the dead ash tree, it (the axe) had a problem.. the razor edge rolled over on me ..... so i was like WTF. opened my pack grabbed my file and removed the rolled edge, stoned it a bit and that was that, no more edge rolling. guessing the parts that rolled lost its temper when it was sharpened, worst things have happened. Thus far I Love my small forest axe and honestly wouldnt trade it,

    So what i'm tryen to say is Life aint perfect, Tools aint perfect. Women surely aint perfect, but you just gotta do the best u can with what you got. Love it mend it and take care of it,
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  46. penetrator

    penetrator Scout

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    Quick update: After a week, the masters at Gransfors have not yet graced me with a reply.

    I sharpened the hatchet on my 1000/6000 grit Japanese waterstone, removing the rolled edge and leaving a shaving sharp mirror polish. I chopped halfway through an 8" diameter recently felled beech tree, hitting a large hard knot multiple times in the process. So far, no rolling or other edge degradation. I also hammered in a few small nails, which worked well.

    The grind/forging flaws don't seem to affect chopping performance much, if at all.

    The hatchet is not very efficient at chopping, compared to a large knife or machete. Cross cutting anything over 3" is tedious. For wood processing, a folding saw/knife combo is more efficient. Although the hatchet works well enough and is more versatile (it's good for shaping and carving wood and can be used to pound nails, stakes, wedges ...), so I will keep carrying it for now, during the summer.
     
  47. jloden

    jloden Guide Bushclass I

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    Thanks for the update, glad to hear it's working better after clearing the roll at the edge. Hopefully G-B will get back to you as well.
     
  48. Raider197500

    Raider197500 Guide

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    Maybe you did get a lemon i have the SFA and the hunters axe i bought from HOP
    I love them both fit and finish are great the handles are great and they are razors
    wouldnt let go of either one sorry about your luck ....
     
  49. penetrator

    penetrator Scout

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    Still no answer after 18 days. I guess that's it. Somewhat disappointing. I just hope they bother responding when you have to take them up on their warranty. This was probably the last Gransfors product I bought.

    Anyway, in the meantime I ground the poll and filed/sanded the metal wedge down.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  50. jloden

    jloden Guide Bushclass I

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    Nice job on the cleanup, and I agree that's pretty disappointing that you did not receive a response. Certainly wouldn't blame you for not buying one of their products again after that experience.
     

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