Why I got the Estwing 16” Camp Axe-Winter

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by bear the dog, Oct 12, 2012.

  1. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    I had decided to get either a very large, heavy tomahawk or a light axe for the winter. Being from California the bark beetle has done most of the felling for us. We have dead pine everywhere. I like to sleep next to the fire in open shelters and a good supply of night wood is needed. Pretty much a combination of oak and pine is what we have.

    I wanted to get a Hudson Bay style axe for a while and recently I did, a Council Tool. The head came loose after 2 days of a 5 day camp trip where I was sleeping out next to the fire. Once it came loose in camp I didn’t feel very good about using it. I sent it back and they replaced it (yesterday). I chopped into an old chunk of seasoned wood and while the bit was buried deep inside the wood I noticed some handle play again. The new one was loose. When I got it the aluminum wedge was a little bit sticking out and the head itself looked like it could have been seated a little more down. It actually stuck out more than the top of the handle.

    Here are a few pictures of the replacement and why I chose the Estwing.

    The Council Tool Hudson Bay Axe is listed as having an 18” handle. They are measuring from the very top to of the axe head to the bottom of the handle. It comes out to about 17”.
    The Estwing is listed as a 16”, but when it is measured in the same way as the Council, its 18” in total length.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    Council is about 2 pounds 6 ounces while the Estwing Camp Axe is 2 pounds 11 ounces.
    [​IMG]

    They are both of a Hudson Bay pattern, which I really like.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    The Estwing head is larger and the bit gives just a little more cutting surface.

    [​IMG]

    After taking a few hard chops with both I can honestly say the shock is more obvious on the CT compared to the Estwing. I have read the opposite, but glad I finally got a chance to try it out for myself.

    [​IMG]

    Bad thing is, I think it is ugly!

    [​IMG]

    Both from the USA
    [​IMG]

    The good thing is…this can’t possibly happen to it.

    Loose head:

    [​IMG]
     
  3. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    I have started to thin down the shoulder with a file, but I won’t be able to finish it or do anymore work with it until I return from a trip.
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Scout

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    I must admit that I also prefer the low maintenance of full steel construction better than the classic wood haft as well. It may not be traditional and I may be scoffed at by true axemen, but I use what I like. ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  5. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    I like the traditional patterns and materials, I just hate that feeling of uncertainty.

    -RB
     
  6. OutdoorEnvy

    OutdoorEnvy Guide

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    Well the Estwing certainly eliminates the loose head worries. The thing I don't like about them is the skinny neck for choking up on the head for carving and finer work. I wish they would make the rubber handle part the same thickness all the way to the head. I might actually try it then. But it would also be heavier if they did that. But I like wood handles and probably won't ever change.

    I still think when you have the time you should drill out that aluminum wedge and use a wooden wedge and then a small metal wedge. I really think that would solve your problem.
     
  7. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    That actually sounds like something I would like to do, especially if it all works out.
    Council did send me a free shipping label to send it back to them for investigating the problem. Not sure what I will do.
    -RB
     
  8. OutdoorEnvy

    OutdoorEnvy Guide

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    I know a guy who sent an axe back to them that had a loose head and asked for a wooden wedge with the small metal wedge to be used instead of aluminum and they did it. Never hurts to ask.
     
  9. Sylvan

    Sylvan Scout

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    Estwing looks nice I agree with outdoor on the handle stuff but the estwing should serve you well. Waiting for their new hawks to hit the market. Thanks for the specs.
    You sure you want to take that shoulder down that sure is a narrow looking profile.
     
  10. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    For now I can't fuzz sticks like with the CT, but I also had to do some work on the CT edge to get it to carve well. As it is, the Estwing has a nice edge, just want it to be a little more bush ready!

    -RB
     
  11. Sylvan

    Sylvan Scout

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    Yeah I hear you on that gotta be able to make some fuzz sticks.

     
  12. Bax 40

    Bax 40 Supporter Supporter

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    Last edited: Oct 12, 2012
  13. Operator1975

    Operator1975 Banned Member Banned

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    Bear - I would send that Council back, get a refund, and let them know about your post here - believe me they will read it, if they haven't already.
     
  14. rimfire63

    rimfire63 Scout

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    Love the traditional stuff but the estwing axe is an awesome tool. Been around them for years. Seen them used as hammers, prybars, shovels, fence stretchers, wire cutters, & even seen a couple used as wood cutting axes. lol. They're not perfect but as I mentioned before, they are one heckuva tuff tool.
     
  15. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    They have been great. Kim at Council sent me a paid label and said they would get to the bottom of it. I wish I would have gone with the Dayton pattern in the first place.


    You know it.

    -RB
     
  16. M3mphis

    M3mphis Scout

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    Yeah, if resetting a wedge is too much to bother with, then the inferior performance of the Estwing becomes a little more acceptable...I guess.
     
  17. brewcitymike

    brewcitymike Tracker

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    Is that the regular Hudson Bay from Council or did you go for the upgraded Velvicut with the bit made of 5160?
     
  18. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    Yes sir, regular with 17ish" handle.

    -RB
     
  19. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Banned Member Banned

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    I love my Estwing Rigger's Axe. It's my multi-tool for all sorts of jobs around the homestead. The Camp Axe is a nice piece of work too. I can choke up on the handle comfortably enough to get stuff done no problem but if I was going to be doing a lot of carving and whatnot I'd just add a wash cloth to my kit. Wrap it around the neck when you go to do extended work while choked up and it should solve the comfort issue.

    Regarding the CT I'd send it back and ask for the wooden wedge/steel cross wedge assembly and see if that does better for you.
     
  20. Panzer

    Panzer Prepared Wanderer Supporter Bushclass I

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    Looks awesome to me. I had several Estwing hammers through the years and they are quality.
     
  21. Bax 40

    Bax 40 Supporter Supporter

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    Bear I went back and added a pic to my post.


    Larry
     
  22. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    Larry,

    That is the one.
    I don't like the way it looks, but it sure feels good in the hand.
    How long have you been using it?

    -RB
     
  23. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Banned Member Banned

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    Does anyone have an idea of how the 26 is made? Looks to me like the oval section of the handle mates to the rest right at that yellow tape, but it would be cool to know how they join them. The oval part is presumably hollow based on weight. I've just never heard any info about how they engineered that transition.
     
  24. TopJimmy99

    TopJimmy99 Tracker

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    I think you may have sold me. Unfortunately they're pretty cheap on amazon. I'm trying to convince myself I don't need it...
     
  25. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    Which one sparked your interest?

    -RB
     
  26. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Banned Member Banned

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    I've heard that a common combo for mountain men in recent history was an Estwing axe and a SAK. Makes sense to me.
     
  27. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    That sounds like my style. I like the look of the more traditional tools in general (like my avatar), but at least the Estwing brand has been around for a long time. Kind of a classic. I like the look of the leather handle hatchets, but I guess I will have to accept that blue matches my backpack and maybe one hiking shirt.

    -RB
     
  28. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Banned Member Banned

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    Don't forget that blue stands out in the woods as well or better than orange does--especially this time of year! I have a weakness for blue.
     
  29. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    It sure does, jungle too.

    This pack might be good for you then.

    [​IMG]

    -RB
     
  30. TopJimmy99

    TopJimmy99 Tracker

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    Your talk about the estwing. I've been wanting a gransfors or wetterlings for a while but they're both pretty expensive for a poor college kid. The estwing seemed a little short for me but your review pretty well covered its dimensions.

    I really appreciate the review/summary and thorough pictures, thanks.
     
  31. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    Well I plan on doing some real work with it over the next few weeks. Wait until I get some real-user pics of it chopping, and doing fire prep. I have been splitting wood with it today and maybe I am splitting light stuff (maple, pine), but I haven't seen any problems splitting with it yet.

    I got to fly out of town, but when I get back I will post an update on it.
    -RB
     
  32. bear the dog

    bear the dog Guide

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    Just made a wooden fuzzie, small and thin enough to easily catch a spark with a firesteel.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    -RB
     
  33. Prairiewolf

    Prairiewolf Guide

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    I have had a Camp Ax for years. It isn't the absolute greatest chopper in the world, but is extremely rugged. It has done some brutal chores and there is not so much as a small ding on that edge. I have the smaller one with the leather handle too, and it is decent, but not as good as the bigger model. These are the tools for those hard core assignments (like chopping a hole in the ice) where you wouldn"t think of reaching for your G-B or Wetterling.
     
  34. robsdak

    robsdak Scout

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    Estwing makes a good product. i have had the camp axe for years, rides in the truck. used the hammers for work, never a complaint from me or the hammer. ; )
     
  35. Outsoul

    Outsoul Scout

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    I love everything about that axe, except for the rubber handle. Gives me horrible blisters compared to wood.
     
  36. Red Panda

    Red Panda Scout

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    I like my 26" Estwing, cuz I don't feel bad about using it as a hammer.

    If I didn't already own a couple hatchets & smaller axes, I probably would pick up the 16", looks like a good size. How comfortable is it for 2-handed use?
     
  37. Outsoul

    Outsoul Scout

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    It's a nice size and weight for one or two hand use. The grip is long enough to enable either too. It has concave cheeks, which makes it really bite deeply with little effort.
     
  38. captainamer

    captainamer Scout

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    I heard alot of good about the 16" estwing. So I purchased one. Compared to my other two axe it hurt my hands. Chopping hardwood had my hands sore for 3 days.
    Using my bahco axe which is my favorite has never hurt my hands and no loose handle problems.
    [​IMG]
     
  39. PaulK

    PaulK Banned Member Banned

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    I hear this comment often but for those of us who use axes for chopping and reserve the carving and fine work for knives, this problem is eliminated.
     
  40. Poopers

    Poopers Scout

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    I recently got a 16inch Estwing also. I was pretty much hellbent on buying it before ever handling one for two reasons: #1 MADE IN USA! #2. I remember Grandpas Estwing hammer that seemed to be immortal..and we have an Estwing hammer at work that is abused 20 hours a day while being immersed in coolant. No rust, no damage to the handle ( which impresses me the most ).

    I havent played with it outside yet and will admit it doesnt seem to be the most perfectly balanced tool... but Im fairly certain it is the one thing I own that will never wear out or break
     
  41. Ahnkochee

    Ahnkochee Bushmaster

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    Non-traditional but looks like a practical design for dressing game with it's guthook and ulu shaped blade which are great for skinning. I use a Normark Hunter's Axe for skinning game (deer, pig, goat) but never for processing wood. The Swedish steel holds an edge very well.
    [​IMG]
     
  42. pure_mahem

    pure_mahem Guide

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    If the vibration of the metal gets to you try getting some tennis racket handle wrap. I works pretty well. I have to tell you when it comes to Hammers I am an Estwing fan throuh and through My dad has Estwings from almost 50 years ago when he first bought it for his construction jobs/concrete mason work. When I started working with him it's the hammer I bought and I still have it. I've broken a lot of wooden handled hammers in my time before I bought one. When it came to a campfire axe my first one was a Estwing Fireside Friend it's a 2 lb sledge hamer/splitting maul and it will handle whatever you throw at it. Most recently I was looking for a Geology Hammer and I thought Estwing made one but the local store didn't have one. But let me tell you what they did have a 22 oz Brick Layers hamer same shape just bigger, It will do and that's what I bought. I do like the pretty wooden handled axes but Estwing is a good working mans tool that will last a life time. The only thing I've ever seen happen to one is have the handle slide off because the person pulled it off. I will tell you the hammers are full tang I'm not sure about the larger camp axes but that 18 incher is a full tang I'm sure.

    Estwings :dblthumb::dblthumb::dblthumb::dblthumb:
     
  43. Convex

    Convex Tracker

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    Going to Home Depot this week and get one of the Estwing Camp Axes. Thanks.
     
  44. donal

    donal Banned Member Banned

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    Rap that handle down on thin carpet over concrete a few times, set the wooden wedge deep as you can, without destroying it, and set two steel wedges with the exposed grain, at a diagonal if possible, and parallel to one another. TWO steel wedges, and rap 'em in deep as you can, then finish the end after soaking in some kind of oil. It helps to get the handle as dry as possible, before fitting the head.
     
  45. Poopers

    Poopers Scout

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    Im a newbie woodsman, in fact the only real hatchet work I have done is indoors for my fireplace. Anyhoo, I have been splitting kindling with the Estwing on top of the stone slab in front of my fireplace. TWICE I have went all the way through the log and hit the slab directly with the edge of the Estwing. Both times it chipped the slab, yet did nothing to the Estwing.. and that edge is still sharp enough to cut paper :4:

    P.s. No more making kindling on the slab, I do it over a log now
     
  46. Crazysanman

    Crazysanman Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass II

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    I've got the smaller Estwing and I really like it. The stacked leather looks great and the axe is indestructible.

    [​IMG]
     
  47. Two Bears

    Two Bears Banned Member Banned

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    I would trust the Eastwing axe before I would trust anything with a wooden handle. Mors recommends an axe with a handle that is long enough to reach from your armpit to the tips of your fingers or a handle that will fit loosely in between your crotch and the ground. I have two axes that size, unfortunately one of them has a wood handle. The head fits very tight so I'm hoping I wont have a problem with it. I would always rather have a modern axe with a handle better than wood. The only problem I see with the eastwing is the handle might bend if you miss your target.
     
  48. steelsmith

    steelsmith Tracker

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    Location:
    20 mins. south of the Ill. and Wi. state line.
    As far as bending the handle on a Estwing it can be done, But you will have to work hard to do it.
    About the only way I can think of would be to block the head up off the ground and then drive a car or truck over the handle.
    You can look on youtube to see how the axes and hammer are made, head and handle are all stamped out together, the blue handle if pushed on after most of the work is done.
    The youtube is a good place to see all about them.
    FYI Estwings are made in Rockford, Il. and has been here over 50 years. they are good tools and will out live most of the pople that have them.
    I do not work for them, Ijest have used them a lot over the years.
    Joe
     

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