Stihl axe made by Iltis Oxhead- opinions?

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by coloradowildman, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. coloradowildman

    coloradowildman Supporter Supporter

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    Hey everyone, my local Stihl dealer has a Stihl chopping axe which is a re-branded German Oxhead medium forest axe. I already have a Finnish Fiskars axe (great but steel is too soft) and a Wetterlings Large Hunting Axe but was looking for a 28"-31" handled full sized axe that can both chop and split yet is built tough as nails.

    Pretty sure this thing will chop well but I'm not sure if that head design will split very well. Anyone with experience with the Stihl or Oxhead version of this axe? I want to take the axe on a sled with me during winter backcountry trips here in the Rockies and need something very well built. I'm also looking at the Wetterlings American Felling axe but Wetterlings prices are just getting ridiculous lately since Gransfors took them over. Can't afford a $200 Gransfors Felling axe so please don't recommend them to me! :) Snow & Nealley is using China built heads and from what I hear the steel is too soft these days. I'm also looking at the Council Tool axes but there is just not enough long-term info about the durability of these axes (American made but they have no warranty, strangely).

    Basically I want a good all around pack axe that can chop and split well without the steel being too soft.

    thanks!
     
  2. kgd

    kgd Dr. Fishguts Bushclass I

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    It really is a tough market out there. Frankly, what I've read review wise from Oxhead has not been too promising. You've already hit the main issue - its really made for felling, but that thin grind will not be good for splitting. For winter backcountry, I think you want an all-rounder axe that can both chop and split (well that is what I want anyhow). I have a newer S&N hudson bay and its not really that bad regarding softness, but I'm probably not going to buy another.

    I notice there are some old ones to be had on ebay. There is a seller called 'the_lost_chapters' who has a decent selection of Collin's, a few plumbs and others for between $50-$70. The seller does provide good close up pics of the heads and some of them look pretty decent, others look badly nicked. They all look like they need some dedicated sharpening work, but getting an old axe head from a classic company is one way to go on the cheap(er).

    Personally, I almost convinced myself into one of the above Collin's axes. Then I started thinking, by the time I pay shipping and buy and axe handle and put in a few days sharpening the head....Well, sorry...but that line of thinking shot me straight to that GB felling axe. Yeah, its expensive as hell, but what is $200 for a piece of equipment that you can will to your son after you are gone? So thats the solution I'm going with. If I felt a little more ambitious on being handy, then I'd be going after an old plumb or Kelly true temper head and working that thing back into a good old chopping machine. I might still do that as a side project one of these days, maybe with a double bit..
     
  3. coloradowildman

    coloradowildman Supporter Supporter

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    KGD- thanks for that info. So do you own the Gransfors American Felling axe? My other two possibilities are the Wetterlings American Felling axe and the Council Tool Jersey axe, which from the few comments I've heard is great at both jobs, except that it has a big 36" handle. I've also considered the Snow & Nealley "Our Best" and the Council Tool Boy's Axe. I really like my Wetterlings Large Hunting axe but it's just too light and thin to split anything of size well (though great as a general small camp axe or for non-winter outings).

    As for the old axes, yeah, it will end up costing a bit and my workshop is not yet up to par in order to do all the work myself.
     
  4. dogman

    dogman Scout

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    Having Been a dedicated stihl chainsaw user in the past, when i went looking for a bushcraft axe, stihl was a brand i went after, i was very disapointed to say the least, the eye was offset as was the grind on the edge, very poor.

    Rob
     
  5. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Scout

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    It is astonishing to me how hard it is to find a proper axe. I have a phone that can do everything but provide womanly companionship, but I still have to work to find a decent axe.
     
  6. coloradowildman

    coloradowildman Supporter Supporter

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    I ended up ordering a US made Council Tool 32" handled Jersey Axe with a 3.5lb head for under $45. Through lots of digging on the internet I found several people who said the steel on the Council Tool axes was harder than the newer China-made Snow & Nealley axes, plus the reviews were overwhelmingly favorable. I also found out that the US Forest Service has used Council Tool products since the 1930s along with numerous municipal and wildland fire depts. My guess is that their rating of 45-55 RC means 55 at the bit and 45 at the untreated hammer end.

    I decided on the Jersey axe because it seems to be a good shape for both chopping and splitting and most of the old time axe guy's blogs that I read say how much the Jersey axe is their favorite.

    The 32" handle is an option so I have to wait up to 2 weeks for it to be built but will do a review here once I get it. I was going to buy a Wetterlings American Felling axe but most places want $105-$130 shipped for them, way too much for something without a Gransfors name on it in my humble opinion:)
     
  7. Harpoon

    Harpoon Scout

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    I've got a couple Ox-Head and the Stihl version. Good solid performers in all. Surprised by the negative comments, but there is lemons in all aspects of products.
    Council is a sturdy axe and well built. After a little bit of stone action on the edge you'll be good to go.
     
  8. coloradowildman

    coloradowildman Supporter Supporter

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    Harpoon, do you own any of the Snow & Nealley, Wetterlings or Gransfors and if so how do the Oxhead and Council axes compare? thanks
     
  9. Valcas1

    Valcas1 Scout

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  10. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Scout

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    To be fair, that did visit Scott Gossman first. I think a chinese stainless steel axe might even be worthwhile after a trip to his shop, haha.
     
  11. Valcas1

    Valcas1 Scout

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    I agree,that's why I said review of sorts. I just put it up for information on. Good point though!
     
  12. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Scout

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    No no, still good information. Much appreciated :dblthumb:
     
  13. Harpoon

    Harpoon Scout

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    I have two Hudson Bay S&N but they are 25 yrs. old. They are top of the line and the one went everywhere in CO. and WY that I went.
    The Gransfor are top of the heap to me, in fit and sharpness but for pure wood busting and grunt work both Ox and Council will do fine. I have a Council Boy's axe and it's a little rough in finish but long on strength. The edge came a little "toothy" but with some file and stone work you can take care of that in no time.
    I do agree that if hit the flea markets and farm sales you can still score some good axes.
    It pains me greatly that there are no US made axes out there to speak of anymore, thank heavens for Council.
     
  14. Harpoon

    Harpoon Scout

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    Just to add, if you can find an old Norlund HB you might have the perfect woods tool, if such a perfect tool exists...
     
  15. kgd

    kgd Dr. Fishguts Bushclass I

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    Spooky, there are two things that you can do to improve the performance of your phone. One, plug it in so that the battery charges up and the phone is capable of making outgoing calls. Second, get a black book that contains the phone numbers of moderately desperate prospective female companions. :D
     
  16. tag187

    tag187 Scout

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    I hope you love the Council Tool Axe I have had them for many years in many different shapes and sizes and would not buy any other axe (even those fancy Euro style name brand ones everyone brags so much on:p). Council has had a good name for many years now and I hope to hear that it has pleased another customer. In a recent leading knife magazine a old multi generation forester raves about his love for the old boys axe by Council. Hope you enjoy and let us know your thoughts on their current products after you give it a run.
     
  17. coloradowildman

    coloradowildman Supporter Supporter

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    Hey Harpoon, since you do have Gransfors and older S&Ns to compare, how well does the boy's axe compare for chopping ability and all around use? I would expect that the Council Tool axe wouldn't be quite as good as Gransfors, Wetterlings or older S&N but hopefully much better than the cheapie store axes. I really want something durable as much as I want performance, and hitting a rock or dirt gravel while limbing or chopping or splitting with a Gransfors just scares me:) Do the Councils need a major profile job or just some minor touching up?

    Sorry for all the questions but I have to order these from the internet and return shipping is ever so expensive on axe! thanks!
     

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