Wetterlings Forester's Fine Axe (pic heavy)

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by ineffableone, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    So I recently bought a Wetterlings Forester's Fine Axe.
    (this will be my first review on this forum so be gentle folks)

    A little history on this axe I had seen it on an Equip 2 Endure interview with Wetterlings CEO Julia Kalthoff at Shot Show 2012

    Shot Show 2012, SA Wetterlings CEO Julia Kalthoff Interview, Equip 2 Endure

    [video=youtube;AStEzMUQWMU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AStEzMUQWMU[/video]

    I had been regularly visiting the Wetterlings site trying to find out what this axe was called so I could buy one. I really loved the design and wanted to get one. But it never showed up. I figured she misspoke in the interview and the axe was not out last year but was coming out this year. So waited and checked regularly.

    While doing a thread about the Wetterlings Les Stroud team up to make an axe, see the Bushman axe thread, I discovered the axe from the Equip 2 Endure video was out though not listed on the Wetterlings site, and was being called the Universal Woodsmans Axe at garrettwade.com and Forester's Fine Axe at harryepstein.com

    I took a couple weeks to think it over and finally bought the Forester's Fine Axe from Harry Epstein's. It was $102 with shipping vs the $134.60 pre shipping at Garret Wade's.

    A week wait and it arrived. YAY! I have spent yesterday and today testing it out, and have to say I really like it. (please excuse low quality photos I only have a camera phone)

    Here it is, the Forester's Fine axe
    [​IMG]
    Yesterday I took it to task on this fallen branch delimbing it. It cut threw the small limbs like butter. While the axe came sharp it was not shaving sharp but still performed well right out of the box.

    A closer look at the head. I really love this carpenter's axe style head, great for choking up and doing finer tasks.
    [​IMG]


    The axe is light. The 1-1/4 lb head has a 3 1/8th" blade and 6" long head.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The hammer poll is rounded but of a good size to still drive wedges or tent stakes at 1 1/4" tall and 7/8ths" wide. The rounding on the hammer poll is mellow but could use a little finishing up, and smoothing out to make it good for game processing, and skinning. A fairly easy task. Out of the box though it is not too bad.
    [​IMG]


    The grain on the handle is nice and straight. (not sure how well you will see in this poor picture, sorry for the bad camera)
    [​IMG]

    The handle came unfinished and I gave it a quick covering in linseed oil. The alignment of the edge with the handle is near perfect. The handle is 23 1/4" Harry Epstein's site said 23 1/2, close enough, and Garret Wade's site says 24". A little variation is expected. Also the head does not sit down all the way to the handle's shoulder. As you can see in the pictures of the close look at the head and the hammer poll. At some point I might rehaft the axe just due to this reason. I will be on the look out of a good handle in the 24" range to fit this head, but for now I am not in a hurry to replace a handle that is good enough for now.
    [​IMG]

    There is a metal wedge in the top, which I would have preferred not having but it was sort of expected in a production axe. (also you can see the gap issue, I will mention more about later, from the top here.
    [​IMG]


    So now for some of the issues I have noted with this axe.

    First though minor is the sheath, it sucks. It is a poorly done magnetic retention sheath. It has two magnets embedded in it to hold onto the blade. The stitching is already coming apart only on day two of having it. Now I was expecting this poor sheath from the stock photos, so it did not surprise me, and I had planned on making a replacement soon.
    [​IMG]


    The bigger issue is a gap in the head, where the forging process obviously folded the steel around an eye mandrel and joined the pieces to make the blade. This joint has left a small gap in the blade where it connects to the eye.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The biggest worry about this for me is it is a potential place for rust to collect. As you can see the head came with some surface rust already, though I am not worried about that as it is common enough in mail order axe heads, and will wear off with use and a bit of wire brushing. The gap though does have potential to build up over the years and create a weak point. Honestly this one issue has me considering returning the axe for a new one without this issue. Though I would make sure to send pictures ahead of time to make sure their other axes don't have the same issue. I am debating this possible return due to this, what do you folks think? ( I will keep this review updated over this issue if I decide to return it, or if it develops problems due to it)

    *edit to add, I have had two comments now mentioning this gap issue is a nonissue. That it is fairly commonly seen in Wetterlings axes, and one comment mentions his Wetterlings has it and has had no issue due to this gap in 4 yrs of use. So I am now pretty confident that the gap is nothing to worry about. Thanks for the confirmation on this guys.

    *edit to add, Julia Kalthoff joined BushcraftUSA it seems to post a comment here on this review. I have added this comment here so people wont have to go all the way through the comments to find it. Thank you Julia for taking the time to set the record straight on the gap found on this axe. I really appreciate your input and love my axe even more knowing you took the time to tell us more about the forging process.

    I am very happy with the Forester's Fine axe, with the exception of the gap issue.

    In my couple days of testing it, it cuts, chops, splits, does fine work, all very well. It is light and small enough to make a perfect pack axe while not giving up the ability to do the work expected of it. The 23 1/4" handle is enough to do two handed swings but short enough to still choke up and use it for finer work.

    Over all I think I am in love with this new axe :7: and would recommend the Forester's Fine axe, or Universal Woodsmans axe to anyone who wants a bushcraft axe.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2012
  2. DCP

    DCP Guide Bushclass I

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    That gap in my opinion isn't anything to worry about most wetterlings have it. If you are worried about rust just put a little boiled linseed oil down their once in a while you should be good to go and the axe head will outlive you and me.
     
  3. bearhunter2

    bearhunter2 Guest

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    Nice review, thanks!
    It's a good looking axe, but that poll throws me off a little bit. I don't understand why they cut it off :confused:
    It doesn't seem that It is helpful for anything. Minimal weight savings at best.
     
  4. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Yep already put some linseed oil down there, and I am not overly worried just realised when I saw it that this is a potential failure place and rust collection area, but wanted to hear from others about the issue as I had never heard of this issue, and my other Wetterlings axe didn't have that gap. If I had been seriously worried I would have not even tested out the axe, and just immediately shipped it back. However I felt doing this review it was important to note such issues along with wanting to hear from folks about what they think of such a gap.

    Definitely nice to hear from someone that this is not uncommon, and I don't have much to worry about it.
     
  5. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Not sure myself, but it is still large enough to drive wedges and tent stakes. Maybe it is more about aesthetic balance mirroring the blade's cut out? Or preventing shock travel to the blade's cut out area? The hammer poll is lined up with the main mass of the blade.

    I would guess they had their reasons, it would be interesting to hear what they have to say, but Wetterlings doesn't even list the axe on their site.

    As I mentioned while a little smaller, it still functions plenty well for typical tasks of a hammer poll.
     
  6. OutdoorEnvy

    OutdoorEnvy Guide

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    Thanks for the review. There's not much yet out there on this model. It was nice to see a closer look at one. Thanks again.
     
  7. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    I know right! This axe has sort of been hidden away, as I mentioned in the beginning I had been lusting,... um admiring it, since I saw it in that Equip 2 Endure video. They had said it came out in 2011, but I had no idea what it was called or where to find it. Not even knowing what name to search for made it rather difficult. Plus that there are two different names for it. I only finally found them by accident while researching the Bushman axe from Les Stroud and came across a thread discussing it on another forum that mentioned the Forester's Fine axe. After finally knowing the two names to look for I quickly found out where to get them.

    With the public not really knowing where to find them these axes probably aren't selling well, and a lot of people probably don't know they exist since they aren't on the Wetterlings website.

    Hopefully this review will help others find this axe who might be interested in it.
     
  8. Wildmike

    Wildmike Scout

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    This is an interesting design. Same head weight as my GB Sfa, but with a handle length which actually lends itself to two handed use.

    The carpenters type head I'm neutral on.
     
  9. woodsghost

    woodsghost Guide

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    My wetterlings Small Hunters Axe (IIRC) has the gap. I have had it for 4 years, and it has been rained on, collected dew, and used to chop up wet wood. Whenever I see rust forming on the outside, I take care of it. If rust is forming in that crack, I do not care. It has not failed me in 4 years, and I am sure it will outlive me.

    The Small Hunters Axe is 16 inches (40.5 cm) long, so it does not generate quite the force a 23 inch (58.5 cm) handle will. Given how thick the metal is, I believe it will be a long time before it rusts enough to be an issue.

    If I ever actually see rust in there, I will soak it in white vinegar and clean it out with pipe cleaners.

    I also have a gap at the back end of the eye, nearest the poll. Same thing, I am not worried. A few thousandths of an inch of metal lost due to rust does not make me worry the head will fail. Of course, I have been wrong in the past. I will post it if my axe head fails in one of these two areas.

    Lots of people have these gaps in their Wetterlings axes. If it was a serious issue, I expect word would get out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2012
  10. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Thanks for more confirmation that this is a nonworrying issue. It does seem odd that of all the reviews I have seen of Wetterlings axes mine seems to be the first (that I have seen) to mention the gap issue. So at least my posting it up hear might help others in the future know it is fairly normal. I also have a Wetterlings Swedish Forest Axe, which did not have the gap which was why seeing it in this new one made me wonder as I had not heard it reported before, and my other Wetterlings didn't have it.

    As I mentioned to the previous response to the gap issue "If I had been seriously worried I would have not even tested out the axe, and just immediately shipped it back. However I felt doing this review it was important to note such issues along with wanting to hear from folks about what they think of such a gap."

    It is good to hear though that yours has it too and has had no issues in 4 yrs of use and abuse. I would agree if yours is holding up well still then this is a nonissue, and if it is so common that if it were an issue it would be much wider known and reported. So thanks again for the conformation on this.
     
  11. Joezilla

    Joezilla Supporter Supporter

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    I loved this axe since I held it in my hands during that video
     
  12. woodsghost

    woodsghost Guide

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    No problem man. Like you said, your post here will be available for future bushcrafters concerned with the gap. If anybody has had issues, I would be interested to hear about it.
     
  13. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Hey Joe,

    Yep I have been looking for it since your video, thankfully I finally found it and now have it.

    It has been a love at first sight for me, and now getting to use it I am falling deeper in love with it.

    It really is a great axe, and one that is a perfect pack axe for the bushcrafter.

    BTW, next time you talk with Julia think you might ask her why they don't have this axe listed on their website? I had been looking for this axe since seeing your video, but didn't know what name of axe to look for since it was never mentioned in the video and the Wetterlings site never listed it.
     
  14. Kimber45guy

    Kimber45guy Scout Bushclass I

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    Wait there were axes in that video? :p

    That looks great man. Cant wait to try one out. Thanks for taking the time to post about it. And thanks joe for making a good video with good questions about the product.
     
  15. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    So I had an old fallen tree in my back yard, and thought what a nice thing to test out my new Forester's Fine axe on. While bigger around than I would normally take on with a smaller axe, I felt it was good to see how well it could handle a bigger task like this. Where I cut was about 8 1/4 inches diameter and 25" circumference.

    About 2 min of work and the Wetterlings Forester's Fine axe is almost through
    [​IMG]

    4 more swings and it was done
    [​IMG]

    Nice to see how well this axe works on a larger sized log, and really it was pretty easy work. I probably could have done it faster if it wasn't on a hill, and had holly bushes around it making it difficult to get a good position. But then when do you ever have a log to cut that is in a good position, they are usually in weird awkward places making cutting them a little more challenging.
     
  16. PaulK

    PaulK Banned Member Banned

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    Just received mine 2 days ago from the Harry Epstein site also. I'm very pleased with the quality. The light head with the longer handle is quite interesting in the hand. I have a 2.5# Hults Bruks with the same length handle and the swing action is amazingly different. I'll need to put this new axe through its paces to see what niche it serves best in.
     
  17. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Yay for more Forester's Fine axes getting out to be used!

    Yep, it will be quite different from a 2.5 lb Hults Bruks. or any 2.5 lb axe for that matter.

    The Forester's Fine axe is light and nibble. When cutting that log today a heavier head would have come in handy, but the light head of the Forest's Fine axe still did the job quickly and efficiently. I was quite impressed with the ability of such a small light weight axe head.
     
  18. PaulK

    PaulK Banned Member Banned

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    I think this statement sums it up best.
     
  19. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    BTW a good question to ask, does your Forester's Fine axe have a similar gap like mine does? It would be interesting to find out if they all tend to have them or if some don't.
     
  20. PaulK

    PaulK Banned Member Banned

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    I have it on mine but it does not seem to extend as far forward as yours does. I wouldn't worry about it. Use the axe as you normally would and should it fail then you have something to be concerned about and something to report to Wetterlings.
     
  21. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    We all know Canadians love axes. I was just informed of a Canadian vendor for these axes.
    They are calling it "Wetterlings Fine Axe"
    http://www.warriorsandwonders.com/Wetterlings/Wetterlings_Fine_Axe?zenid=37441b42992fda02eccdd3b9123034e7

    There are so few vendors for these right now it is good to post them up if you find them.

    Looks like KnivesRus also has it, for $95 http://www.888knivesrus.com/product/SAW176/WETTERLINGS-FORESTERS-FINE-AXE.html

    Swarmretail is selling it in Australia for $182.99 (Aus$) http://www.swarmretail.com.au/wetterlings-foresters-fine-axe-p-2023.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2012
  22. Hugin

    Hugin Scout

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  23. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Thanks for thinking of posting the link, I had already but I might have missed it so good looking out.

    $105 shipped is a decent deal. Have you gotten yours yet? Or is it still in the mail?

    Definitely nice to hear others are picking up this axe.

    So hopefully more vendors will be carrying it soon, which should mean also lower prices.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 25, 2012
  24. Julia Kalthoff

    Julia Kalthoff Tinder Gatherer

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    In case you wonder about how the gap occurs:

    Wetterlings way to forge the eye is to punch it. When we forge, the steel is very hot so it easily stretches when we punch it. We first punch it with a very pointy shaped tool from botton and the from top, and then from botton and top again with a more oval tool that gives length to the eye. Then, further ahead in the process when the axe is almost done, we shape the inside and outside of the eye at the same time. This process is made with a special tool that is shaped like the top of the handle, so the inside of the eye gets the correct shape to fit the handle. The oval eye gets “pinched back” to perfect almond eye shape and this small nip occurs if the eye was slightly bigger than the eye is to be. This nip is not continuing forward in the steel at all, as you could have been worried about if the eye would have been wrapped. The nip can be longer underneath though because the steel stretches easier when one side already is punched.

    If the nip is slanting, crooked or continuing towards the outer surface of the blade, we discard that axe here at the factory.

    If it is a straight small nip, we leave it because it is only a beauty thing and not a quality issue. This is an unwanted beauty blemish though and we are working to get away from it. But it is not dangerous at all and completely safe to use.

    Forging axes is very complex and very interesting. Now you all know the story of the small gap. I hope that you understand me correctly even though i try to explain this in another language then my mother tounge, Swedish. Please feel free to email us if you have more questions.

    Glad to hear that you all like the Forester's Fine Axe so much!

    All my best,
    J
     
  25. Joezilla

    Joezilla Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks Julia for taking the time to stop by and explain. -Joe
     
  26. Tuco

    Tuco Tracker

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    Julia, thanks for taking the time to explain this. I love the ax and will be ordering one today. Keep making great products, and have a great day.
     
  27. woodsghost

    woodsghost Guide

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    Feel free to drop by again Julia. Wetterling has many fans on this site.
     
  28. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    A big thanks to Julia for posting this information on the forging process of this axe style and correcting the information of the gap issue I had noticed. I have added her comment as a quote to the original review so it will be there for others to see first thing.

    Julia's post confirms that this is only a cosmetic issue and has no structural worry. So Thank you Julia and Wetterlings. The Forester's Fine axe is a great axe and I love it. :dblthumb:
     
  29. TaigaTreader

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    my only question is whether I should get the Les Stroud axe or this one. I've hafted carpenter's heads on 20 inch and 26 inch handles already and really like how they perform. A more refined version would be sweet.
     
  30. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    It only took me a couple weeks to decide to get the Forester's Fine axe. I had discovered where to finally buy one while doing a thread about the Bushman. For me it was a matter of I just could not wait till Nov for the Bushman to be released to order once I had found a place to buy the Forester's Fine axe. Plus the Bushman looks to be a bit shorter, I am guessing about 19" handle, vs the 24" of the Forester's Fine axe. For me those few extra inches count, and I preferred the slightly longer handle for more effective two handed use.

    So I would say if your in a hurry to get one, the Forester's Fine axe is available now, though it might be worth a small wait to see what the price is for it on the {removed he who shall not be named} has said he will offer it with the better quality sheath. Also you should consider what your purpose is, if you want a smaller handled axe or a slightly longer handled axe. If you feel you will be using it two handed the Forest's Fine axe is probably the way to go, if on the other hand you feel your primary use will be single handed then the Bushman is probably the right axe for you.

    Personally I suspect you would be happy with either. The axe head style is great, the Forester's Fine axe is a bit lighter than the Wetterlings Carpenter's axe head with a longer handle, which makes it easy to use and light and nimble. A very good bushcraft and pack axe.

    Let us know what you decide when you make up your mind. :4:
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  31. Hugin

    Hugin Scout

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    It's still in the mail. I hope I get in time for the MD Bushcraft meetup on the 23rd.

    I just checked my order confirmation and it says that it takes 5-7 for it to it to be even shipped and should be another 3 days for UPS to get to me. :(
     
  32. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Well it is the 15th now, so it sounds like the earliest it would get to you is the 23rd. At least you will be getting it though. I have to say I really love mine, and imagine you will like yours too. Maybe you will get lucky and it will arrive before the meet up and you will get to show the other bushcrafters in your area this cool axe style.
     
  33. Hugin

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  34. TaigaTreader

    TaigaTreader Scout

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    Thanks. It's no real hurry, and I'll probably wind up with both in addition to the new double bit, as well... I'm a huge tomahawk fan and love the 20 inch straight haft, but understand the better performance with equal versatility of the Forester's Fine axe. We'll see which one comes first... they're both a ways off yet though.
     
  35. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Good deal, that sounds like the cheapest site for these axes so far. Mine was $102 shipped from Harry Epstein's, so under $100 is a good deal.

    Hope you get it in time, it would be great if you can share your new axe with fellow bushcrafters in your area and they get to have a chance to test it out and get a feel for it.
     
  36. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    It seems Garret Wade changed the name to Forester's Fine axe recently.
    They now list it as the Forester's Fine axe

    Further news it looks like Rocky Mountain Bushcraft will be doing a review of the formally known as Universal Woodsman's Axe, he version of the Forester's Fine axe that Garret Wade sells and now changed to the same name as everyone else is using.

    http://rockymountainbushcraft.blogs...eases-new-universal.html?utm_source=BP_recent

    I am looking forward to hearing his impressions, and also looking forward to more info about these very cool bushcraft axes getting out. Right now, I think my review is the only one out there online right now, so it would be good to get other perspectives.
     
  37. Suspectdevice

    Suspectdevice Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Are you a salesman for wetterlings or something? I've never seen anyone promote something so hard on bcusa. You keep bringing this "review" up every time some insignificant piece of news about this axe shows up. They changed the name on this sellers site, somebody blogged about it, somebody made a video talking about it.

    If you are going to review something, and then beat us over the head with said review, make it about what YOU have done. You limbed a branch? You chopped on some dead pine? You said it was easy work, of course it was, chips can be thrown from dead pine with stern looks. I don't think either is a good representation of why this axe is the best thing since sliced bread. Review over.

    Let's see some real work out of this axe before you continue to sing its praises. Let's see you lay up enough firewood for a winter camp, let's see you fell a tree, build some camp fixtures, do three times prep with it, carve a bowdrill set, carve a spoon, carve ANYTHING if that's a task this axe is supposed to be good at. Perhaps until then you could keep the lip-service backyard reviews to a minimum?
     
  38. RangerJoe

    RangerJoe Bushwhacker Bushclass II

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    hahaha
     
  39. Kerri

    Kerri úlfheðnar Hobbyist Bushclass I

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    Thats one of the funniest things Ive read in a long time haha
     
  40. shillelaghslaw

    shillelaghslaw Scout

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    If your really worried about rust in that crack, you can paint it with some clear nail polish. Its cheap (free if you got any females in your life) and it works great. It wears well and stays a long time
     
  41. ineffableone

    ineffableone Guide

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    Given your attitude I am not sorry you do not like my review. If you have such issue your a big boy, it is simple don't bother to read it. You do have control over what threads you choose to read. That you don't like my review, I would think you would be happy to hear my last comment that there is a blog planning to do a more professional review of this axe. I only have a crappy camera phone to take pictures so have posted limited pictures of the stuff I have done with this axe but it doesn't mean it is all I have done. I am not a professional gear reviewer and never said I was. Rather than rant at me with such attitude, you could have more easily just asked for some of what you felt was important. Instead you felt you should try and bring me down and try and make fun of me?

    I am not trying to beat anyone over the head with my review, as I mentioned you can not read it, your an adult show some restraint and go read something else. Not to mention most of my posts on this thread are answering other people's comments not posting what you consider "insignificant piece of news".

    Thanks for your critic of my review, while your tone was unneeded, it is enlightening to hear your POV.
     
  42. jimhill

    jimhill Tinder Gatherer

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    wondering about Wetterlings Forester Fine

    I just got one from Knife Country USA. Probably my first mistake.
    They were slow.
    But when it came today, the fit and finish were less than expected. I didn't think I'd get a high end polished O/R instrument but it was definitely rougher than I would expect for the money.
    The problem is the geometry is off.
    The edge is not ground parallel to the plane of the head and the eye is noticeably off so that the head is not in line with the handle.
    Also I was looking and there isn't any stamp in the steel.
    Is this normal?
    I was thinking that for the money I would get a top end tool.
    Comments?
     
  43. pap11y

    pap11y Guide

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    I'm in love... Nice axes too :)
     
  44. Exy

    Exy Supporter Supporter

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    Julia is gorgeous.
     
  45. Exy

    Exy Supporter Supporter

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    Don't worry about suspect. He's miserable and has to live with himself.. That's dues enough.
     
  46. Suspectdevice

    Suspectdevice Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    You're a little late coming to your pals rescue, I gently reminded ineffableone his crusade to become a wetterlings promoter was unwanted here six months ago. You did see the thanks for my post, right? Compared to his reply? Seems to indicate I wasn't totally unjustified in what I said.

    If you are going to criticize me, I welcome it, but comment about what I have done here on the forum, not assumptions you make about my personal life.
     
  47. huntr

    huntr Scout

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    Here's my theory on the cut out.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I like the axe. Everything is a trade off, but this works better than a Wildlife axe with the same weight head. I have not compared them side-by-side, yet, but from memory it works as well as the Large Hunting axe. Maybe a little easier to control, one handed. In my limited trial, it seems to split and chop pretty well in the wood diameter size range you would normally be using it on.
     
  48. azratt

    azratt Scout

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    If it was that big a problem to me..JB weld a little...done !
     
  49. ScottMescudi

    ScottMescudi Banned Member Banned

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    shes a cutie lol
     

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