19 inch backpack axe - Which one to buy?

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by GoFeesh, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. GoFeesh

    GoFeesh Scout

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    I have been researching axes for a couple of weeks now and I have it narrowed down to three choices. I have narrowed it down to 19 in. because of the packability that it offers. Here are my three choices and approximate cost: (If you know of another that I should seriously consider, please let me know)

    1. Council Tool Woodcraft pack axe - $130.00

    2. Gransfors Bruks Small Forest axe - $190.00

    3. Husqvarna Carpenters axe - $81.00

    Any help in choosing one would be greatly appreciated.
     
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  2. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    While I’m not necessarily an ax guy have you looked at vintage heads that you can helve yourself?
     
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  3. Harper

    Harper Supporter Supporter

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    The Husqvarna Carpenter's Axe.

    It is a good axe at a great price.

    Use the money you save on other gear.
     
  4. GoFeesh

    GoFeesh Scout

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    No, I wouldn't even know where to begin honestly. I really like the idea of DIY - just not sure I could pull it off properly. Thank you for your response.
     
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  5. GoFeesh

    GoFeesh Scout

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    I really like the Husqvarna brand - I have the 26 inch but it's just a little on the long side to pack. It is an excellent axe. Thanks for the reply.
     
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  6. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe Supporter Supporter

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    This.
     
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  7. SC T100

    SC T100 Scout

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    Are GB SFAs really going for $190 now? I picked mine up for $100 new about 5 years ago.
     
  8. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    What's the intended use outside of fitting inside of a small backpack?
     
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  9. 62flint

    62flint Scout

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    Don't overlook the Hults Bruk/Hultafors offerings. The "Classic line" is finished on par with GB. They also have a mid priced line. Husqvarna is a contract product from Hultafors, and probably the lowest grade of finish, but still an excellent product.

    I think the Husqvarna carpenters axe a bit heavy to pack around, but it will get the job done. Its a heavier head than the 26" Husqvarna.

    My next axe may be a Council Tool. I like the look of their new carving axe, but wish it was on 19".
     
  10. GoFeesh

    GoFeesh Scout

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    That was Amazon's price.
     
  11. GoFeesh

    GoFeesh Scout

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    Camp chores in general - processing wood, felling an occasional tree, etc.
     
  12. Outdoor Dauber

    Outdoor Dauber Roughian #3 Supporter

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    I just cut down a 24" boys axe handle to 21" for attaching to my LK35 pack. I know it's not 19", but it works fine for me. YMMV
     
  13. Robedsubset

    Robedsubset Tracker

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    Council tool Hudson Bay axe
     
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  14. Togus

    Togus Supporter Supporter

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    I love my CT WoodCraft much better than my former GB axe. Which is why I sold it. The CT WoodCraft Is a great “Jack of all trades” axe. The fit and finish is great and it’s USA made.
     
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  15. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    In that case price not being the consideration I'd pick the Gransfors Bruks out of the three in the OP for general camp chores without any modifications. I'm taking that to mean felling, limbing, bucking, splitting, driving wedges and similar and some rough carving work.

    The Council Tools would also work well if you modified the bevel. It was designed as more of a carving tool that a general camp axe though. The designer described it as "a chisel on a stick" and being a good tool for timber framing. The Husqvarna's name says it all. From what I've seen they tend to require the most amount of work to get them to a useable point. Nothing wrong with that at all, though it seems like they aren't the bargain that they once were.

    Where did you get your prices from BTW? That's way too much to pay for a Small Forest Axe. Mine was also $100 and that was only a couple of years ago. The MSRP is $155 I believe which is a fair bit less than $190. And the MSRP for the Husqvarna Carpenters axe is $69.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  16. boomchakabowwow

    boomchakabowwow Guide

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    How long and how high are you planning on backpacking?

    Just curious. I have the GB small forest axe. It has yet to make the pack list. My friends keep coming up with crushing trips. I can’t afford the weight. Their loads keep getting ultra lighter and lighter. I’ll never keep up.
     
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  17. tobiism

    tobiism Supporter Supporter

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    My Husky Carpenter's axe was 100% useable out of the box. So was my multipurpose axe. Of course I "tuned them up" to my liking. What respectable woodsman wouldn't?!? LOL
     
  18. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    My definition of usable regarding axes is a bit narrower than most I'm sure. I'm also basing my statements on what I've seen and heard as I only own one of the three axes from the OP. It also wasn't an insult on my part. One of my favorite axes to use started off as an $8 hatchet from Harbor Freight. Not much work later and I'd put it up against my Small Forest Axe any day of the week.

    I assume that if someone isn't willing to restore an axe they might not be willing to profile one yet. Shame really, I've been having fun applying those skills to Mora blanks lately. Dirt cheap convex knives are a lot of fun.
     
  19. dirt7

    dirt7 Supporter Supporter

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    Hults Bruk Aneby is another one I would check out!
     
  20. Ptpalpha

    Ptpalpha Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    A little over a year ago I was in the same boat. With a lot of help and encouragement from some kind souls here on BCUSA, I now have a much loved assortment to choose from, and I'd be surprised if the total amount of cash spent to achieve the following pic was over $150:
    IMG_20190302_082556.jpg

    Give it some thought. You learn another skill, save a wonderful old tool, and carry something you've put part of yourself into.
     
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  21. r_oneal

    r_oneal Tracker

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    I've got the Hults Bruk Aneby axe, and have been very happy with it. Can't compare it to the others you listed as I've never handled them. Good luck!
     
  22. Kelly W

    Kelly W Love the Axe Hobbyist Supporter

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    Well heck @Ptpalpha, I'll give ya 30$ for that little double on top and pay the freight. That'll get ya 20% of your money back and you still have all those beautiful axes left. :)

    As to the OP, You know what they say about opinions. Get the one you think you might like best first. Use it, if you don't like it, sell it and move to the next favorite. You'll never know what "you" like 'till you try them. All the axes you listed and the added suggestions are all good. All are a little different and only experience will help you make a final decision.

    Love the axe :)
     
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  23. Madwell

    Madwell Guide

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    I vote roll your own. It’s an easy project and far more rewarding than buying an axe.

    Keep an eye on the trade blanket some good axe heads show up on there.
     
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  24. GoFeesh

    GoFeesh Scout

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    Thank you for the input - I am leaning that way but just want more feedback from actual users.
     
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  25. GoFeesh

    GoFeesh Scout

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  26. GoFeesh

    GoFeesh Scout

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    Wow!!! those are beautiful - I just might have to give it a try.
     
  27. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    In that case mind if the rest of the axe mob pushes you over the edge? :D:21::18:

    [​IMG]Camp Axe at the Falls by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Wood and Steel by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Harbor Freight camp axe side view by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    [​IMG]GB Outdoor Axe Maple Handle 2 by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    [​IMG]West Woods 18 VS GB SFA 2 by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Camp Axe Re-handle 5 by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Camp Axe by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    [​IMG]BSA National Side in Block by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    [​IMG]Plumb Rockaway Chop by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    :54::54::54::54::54::54:
     
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  28. IAOutdoors

    IAOutdoors Supporter Supporter

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    I like the Council Tool Woodcraft hatchet myself. You couldn’t go wrong with any of those choices.
    4D9FF2C2-B299-4CC0-8E9F-332C4E308E66.jpeg 410D6313-8229-4F92-A2B3-EFC63A0401F3.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
  29. batmanacw

    batmanacw Bushmaster

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    I own the 24" Woodcraft pack axe, the Small Forest Axe, and the Hultafors Classic hunting axe, which is another 19"-20" pack axe.

    I find that I prefer 1.25 - 1.5 lbs on a 19"- 20" handle. Much heavier and it is not as easy to control for working above the ground. Easier for using single handed for carving and such. Plenty of weight for chopping down up to 6" diameter trees without excessive labor.


    The Hultafors is 1.87# and it works okay. Still useable one handed.

    I'm no whimp but I don't like 2 lbs on anything shorter than 24". They are just too heavy for single handed work. Sure you can do it and pretend it's fun but it's not.
     
  30. RTDoug

    RTDoug Scout

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    I got mine 15 years ago for $67.
    Not bragging, but I wouldn't pay it again.
     
  31. Staleym

    Staleym Methuselah's Cohort Supporter

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    Hey there from Cascadia! A year ago, I had a couple of cheapo Chinese made axes. They are the 36" Felling Axe and the 13" Hatchet. They are not "fine" tools, yet with some attention, they are fully servicable. I'm still working on the Hatchet and haven't started on the Felling one yet. I got the Husqvarna 19" Caarpenter's Axe as I'm the large economy size and have used it more like a hatchet, and I'm happy with it in that role. The 24" Bois/Boy's Axe is a home rolled tool. I received the head as a gift at a GTG. I have never re-hafted an axe before. It truly was not difficult and there are YouTube videos to guide you through the process. I also received mentoring and suggestions from the Axe Mob Group here on BCUSA. I used it for the first time in January and it is a sweet cutting tool. I still need to fine tune the profile and resharpen it, but hey, it very satisfying to use at present. The Double bit head, I bought on EBay and is in progress.

    collection.jpg

    I think @Madwell is giving really good advice ^^^^ and the Husqvarna would be my second recommendation. Or maybe you own and drive a Lamborghini for your work commute?
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019 at 9:51 PM
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  32. Dusty Tom

    Dusty Tom Scout

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    I bought the Council Tools standard Hudson Bay hatchet a few years ago and really like it. It was a good deal, $40. It may be a little too short for you though. Total length is 17 1/2" the handle is 15 5/8" the head weighs 2lbs. There is a photo somewhere on BCUSA, I'll try to find it.
     
  33. batmanacw

    batmanacw Bushmaster

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    I don't despise many axes but I despise this one. Mine rides in my wife's trunk incase I need to move a tree crossing the road. Nothing comfortable about it at all. Eventually I'll put it on a 24" handle and it will be right.
     
  34. GoFeesh

    GoFeesh Scout

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    The response has been tremendous and I greatly appreciate all of the advice.
     
  35. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    5 years ago I’d suggest the GB small forest axe but the price today isn’t worth it.

    IF your friends are going to use it, I suggest something lower cost so you guys can all enjoy it without feeling like your risking damage to something expensive.

    I bought a Cold Steel axe that I use specifically for group camping. I cleaned it up, reinstalled the handle and ended up with a really great axe. It was $25 I think.

    You might also try Marbles and Condor. Then if you’re open to modern axes take a look at Fiskars x15, x11, and even the smaller x7 is really great.
     
  36. JerseyDevilJeeper

    JerseyDevilJeeper Tracker

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    DA4D80BD-8C59-4FBB-BE96-0EF7F4014356.jpeg In case you decide on #3; it’s over $10 cheaper if you go curved and 20” on Amz
     
  37. Not Sure

    Not Sure Supporter Supporter

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    This may be of "Absolutely No Interest" to you, but If you ever want to do flint and steel,
    with your Axe buy a old American one.
    My G.B. Wetterlings and Norlund throw the weakest sparks, be real lucky to get a fire.
    My old Collins, Kelly, Craftsman and something with no name all toss pretty good sparks.
    For this reason I am getting rid of a few axes, and going Vintage.
    I may be the only person on BCUSA that likes to start a fire this way, just something
    I like and enjoy doing.
    I know others can, but not many do.
    Good luck with the Hunt, it is sometimes half the fun.
     
  38. Torrin

    Torrin Pan Supporter

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    I have quite a few axes, GB, Hults, CT and others. My GB's way out perform everything else I have brand new. The CT pack axe is a good all around axe but the flat grind doesn't bite near as much as my GB Small Forest Axe. I prefer the thinner GB profiles, even though I like spending time doing it myself on everything else too lol.
     
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  39. Derzis

    Derzis Scout

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  40. La\\//inci

    La\\//inci Tracker

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    +100 for CT Hudson Bay Axe
    It was one of the most coveted axes in the Hudson Bay company back in the day. Trappers and Natives used it extensively. I have the CT HB velvicut. FANTASTIC head at 2#
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019 at 1:43 PM
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  41. Fenrirkw

    Fenrirkw Tracker

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    The only opinion I have is.... this may be a long, addictive and potentially expensive path one is setting out on.
    I have 1 and 2
     
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  42. Kona9

    Kona9 Supporter Supporter

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    The Small Forest Axe is about $145 shipped to the US from raymears.com. Just another place to look if you are interested in that one. Shipping from them has been faster than I would have thought both times I ordered from there.
     
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  43. Leshy_apprentice

    Leshy_apprentice Supporter Supporter

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    This is a pretty frequent question that pops up again and again. The more I see it asked, particularly when folks talk of a "budget" that I'd consider in the higher end...the more I just want to say, pick any axe, make it your own, take care of it, and it'll do the job and make you happy.
     
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  44. FreudianSlip

    FreudianSlip Guide

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    I’ve got a few axes in this range, but if I could only have one it would probably be the SFA. It’s a really capable axe for its size.
     
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  45. batmanacw

    batmanacw Bushmaster

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    I started my collection trying to make a SFA analog. I ended up with dozens of axes around the same size with varying head weights and varying handle lengths. I've go axes as good as the SFA and axes better than the SFA. I still have an SFA. It is the axe by which I judge all my other camp axes.

    The 2# CT Hudson Bay head on a 17" handle is just too heavy and cumbersome to be used one handed for anything but chopping and it wears you out quickly.

    Eventually I'll change out the stock handle to at least a 24" handle. The longer handle will counterbalance the head better and better suit the 2# head.
     
  46. FreudianSlip

    FreudianSlip Guide

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    I have the CT velvicut Hudson Bay and I have a lot of good things to say about that axe too. The velvicut steel is super impressive to me. I’ve seen my friends put the bit in the dirt and it had minimal damage and then sharpens up real nice. There is just something about the SFA that I feel like trumps it, probably more so the weight of the head. I don’t think you could go wrong with either one.
     
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  47. Dusty Tom

    Dusty Tom Scout

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    DSCN4706.JPG

    Finally got a photo of that standard Council Tools Hudson Bay hatchet. Dollar short and a day late :)
     
  48. Derzis

    Derzis Scout

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    My standard CT Hudson Bay hatchet here too.

    IMG_0470.JPG
     
  49. pirogue

    pirogue Tracker

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  50. La\\//inci

    La\\//inci Tracker

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    Yup the CT HB Velvicut comes with the 19” handle. It’s real nice. https://www.ebay.com/itm/Axe-Sharpe...m=222499648398&_trksid=p2349624.c100889.m5204
     

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