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Best Axe Under $50

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by Ed, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. Ed

    Ed Scout

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    Here's the thing... I've been getting by with cheap hardware store axes for quite a while now. I'm tired of using crappy axes and being frustrated.

    I really want a good quality axe. Something with a 26" handle around 2 pounds give or take, but I'm on a really tight budget.

    I know... I know:

    Save another $__ and buy a $____

    That's not the issue. It's not that I can't afford a good axe. It's not that I'm really cheap either. I have a wife and 4 kids and I'm underemployed and living paycheck to paycheck. I figure that $50 is about all that my wife will let me spend on an axe. I have enough in the bank for a GB. But I would have to skimp on something else, and that would affect my family.

    I'm not a gear junkie... most of my gear has served well for a long time. I much prefer to be using gear than shopping for gear. I hate shopping really. That's why I'm looking for opinions here. I also am not interested in restoring and hanging an axe head. I just don't have the tools and experience to do a good job and I would hate to ruin a good axe by hacking at it with a file and a grinder.

    So, all of you axe guys.... What's the best value for $50 that won't leave me cussing at my axe or sleeping alone?

    Ed
     
  2. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Banned Member Banned

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    Husqvarna or Condor would do the job. In the event that you get old stock with a Condor (they had some issues that were recently fixed--and nicely at that!) the company will gladly swap it out for you.
     
  3. Mr. Tettnanger

    Mr. Tettnanger Supporter Supporter

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    Bahco

    Council
     
  4. WoodsJack

    WoodsJack Guide

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    Best value? Used. A yardsale/flea market/craigslist find.

    I've gotten some good Swedish steel for a fraction of $50.
     
    roadwarrior, basher1981 and Tatonka like this.
  5. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Banned Member Banned

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    True that, brother!
     
  6. Ed

    Ed Scout

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    I was looking at condor axes, but they are all either shorter or longer than what I'd like.

    The bahco might be an option. How hard is it to sand that orange paint off of it?

    Ed
     
  7. nothinghead

    nothinghead Guide Bushclass I

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    Used head on eBay or a thrift store. Put your own handle on it. That is probably the best value out there.
     
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  8. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Banned Member Banned

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    Save yourself the trouble and use paint stripper on it. :D
     
  9. Ed

    Ed Scout

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    good idea... I've been wanting to get the black paint off of my BK2 for 2 years now so I need to get some stripper anyway.

    Ed
     
  10. Ed

    Ed Scout

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    I REALLY like the Husqvarna traditional axe. I have heard that some people have gotten mixed results with those, though. Some of the handles I've seen looked pretty bad with poor grain orientation and alot of heartwood.

    I think I saw a thread on here that showed the Husqvarna with some really bad grinding done on it from the factory.

    I could maybe get away with the $65 but I'm concerned about the quality control. I would order one if I could order it from another bushcrafter who would hand pick one for me.

    Ed
     
  11. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Banned Member Banned

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    Heartwood, contrary to traditional belief, has been tested and shown not to have any significant difference in shock resistance compared to sapwood. So I wouldn't worry about that part too much. I just wish some folks would sell "DIY" kits of the head, haft, and wedges all separate so you could do the hafting job yourself and only have yourself to blame if it was less than perfect. I know for a fact that the average individual will be more able to spend the time to do it right than the average factory worker, even if they aren't as experienced.
     
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  12. coop

    coop Banned Member Banned

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    The best axes are old axes. Some of my cheapest do-it-myself-ers.

    Axe $2. Handle $10.

    [​IMG]

    Maine double. Head: $9; Handle $2

    [​IMG]

    $10 for the handle. axe free

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Ed

    Ed Scout

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    You make a fine point.

    I didn't know that about heartwood.

    Ed
     
  14. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Banned Member Banned

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    Not to derail, but more pics of the Maine! I'm partial to the pattern myself, and not just because I'm a native Mainer. :D
     
  15. swoody126

    swoody126 Guest

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    +1

    google: WORLDS LONGEST YARD SALE and you will come up w/:

    http://www.127sale.com/

    The Sale always starts on the first Thursday in August through the following Sunday

    you are close enough to hit a goodly piece of it

    take the family and enjoy the adventure

    you have no idea how much really cool stuff you can find, for all members of the family

    and you can save some major coins

    happy hunting
     
  16. BigHat

    BigHat Guide Bushclass I

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    i know it's only been mentioned once, but i'd have to put in another vote for council tool.

    a small local hardware store will probably carry council tool axes, especially the ACE hardware stores. I've also had good luck with True Value. If you find it local you'll get to pick one out. Also, if they don't have it in stock, most stores will order one for you.

    You can also buy them online, a council tool boy's axe could be found for about 45 shipped to your door.

    i'm also a fan of ebay for axe heads and handles. just search for the axes. hickory handle store on ebay and house handle online both sale good handles.

    Bassett, VA? hmmm... if it's not to far, go to the RingGold Flea Market on saturday's. there's an old man there that sells old axe heads and handles, you can pick what you want. his prices are good.
     
  17. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

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    Bailey's has the council tool hudson bay axe (1.75 lb head on a 26" handle) for $28 or the boy's axe (2.25 lb head on a 28" haft) for $22.
    I got a Collins HBA from them 12 years back and absolutely love it - light enough to use 1 handed for limbing downed trees, heavy enough and good enough geometry to drop 4" saplings in 2-3 swings with some practice.
     
  18. Weltz4u

    Weltz4u Scout

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    I have the Cold Steel trail boss that has done me well. At around 35.00 its a deal.
    [​IMG]
     
  19. herpingmad

    herpingmad Supporter Supporter

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    council from what i hear.
     
  20. J

    J Bushwhacker Bushclass I

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    Council. Boys axe.
     
  21. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter

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    Council Tool boys axe. $31 plus shipping.

    It chops as well as any of the high zoot axes, but doesn't include a story book or have a bird on it, so it's 1/3 the price.
     
  22. Bax 40

    Bax 40 Supporter Supporter

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    I will 3rd the council tools boys axe.

    Almost all of my axes are yard sale finds, in looking for them I have found all kinds but the smaller cruisers and boys axes are more scarce than full sized one.

    I rarely pay more than 10 bucks and thats for one that has a good handle, often get them for two or three bucks then the cost of a handle and a little work.
    I will admit to having a few GBs and other expensive one but those came before I got onto the yard sales.
    If you do start doing that always walk up and ask for axes, most people dont use em and they dont put em out cause they think no one will buy them.

    Heres a few of mine.
     
  23. WoodsJack

    WoodsJack Guide

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    I've got one of those, virtually new, I'd sell for $20 plus ship.
     
  24. bearhunter2

    bearhunter2 Guest

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    Council tool boys axe!
     
  25. derrman79

    derrman79 Scout

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    I got a fiskars at Sears for around $26, and I like it a lot!
     
  26. tiny80022

    tiny80022 Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    I agree with yard sales. Have a Kelly flint edge double bit I found at a yard sell for $2.50. I had to hang it, but even with the handle it was only $15.50 total.
     
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  27. Couchsachraga

    Couchsachraga Tracker

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    New: Council

    But I'll second (or third or fourth) the folks saying look for a used on. Pick up a Kelly Perfect (even on eBay!) and order a handle of your choosing from the Hickory Handle Store (also on eBay) or elsewhere. I've actually had good luck at Ace Hardware for handles - though I have to sand off all the varnish.
     
  28. Ed

    Ed Scout

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    That's not too far at all... Just on the other side of Danville. Thanks!

    Ed
     
  29. Aguineapig

    Aguineapig Scout

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    If trying to be frugal, vintage is simply "The" way to go. Consider making your own handle too. axes and axmanship are not something to rush into. I think fixing you own is a really excellent intro to it all.
     
  30. Mr. Tettnanger

    Mr. Tettnanger Supporter Supporter

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    On buying vintage and refurbing:

    I can see the merit in that, but I think that buy the time you search around to find the axe, remive the old handle, clean it, find a new handle, fit it, sharpen up the edge, etc, that you may end up spending just as much in time and money than just purchasing a decent Council or Bahco.

    I like to work with my hands, but my time is worth something as well.

    Best of luck ilwith your decision no matter which way you go!

    Have fun!
     
  31. OutdoorEnvy

    OutdoorEnvy Guide

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    Put new life into an oldie but goodie :D

    $5 Collins boy's axe (garage sale)

    [​IMG]

    New $7 handle, total cost $12 axe

    [​IMG]
     
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  32. coaldigger

    coaldigger Scout

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    The TrailBoss's are hit & miss....I have one hanging in the garage, it's my 2nd one, the first one was returned as warranty ! The Head busted while chopping up a fallen Bradford Pear Tree section ! Here is the tree limb that I was chopping up after the snow broke it down -
    [​IMG][/IMG]
    [​IMG][/IMG]
    [​IMG][/IMG]
    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
  33. Ed

    Ed Scout

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    Oh... that's not cool.
     
  34. coaldigger

    coaldigger Scout

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    Kinda makes it hard for me to put any trust in my other TrailBoss :28:
     
  35. bearhunter2

    bearhunter2 Guest

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    That's why I don't buy cheap crap made in china, taiwan, etc.!

    Only quality vintage american steel for me ;)

    I do have a couple GB's too. And yes, they are nice.
     
  36. Ed

    Ed Scout

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    I haven't had that happen even with the crappy hardware store axes I've used. Edges roll, handles break, won't take an edge worth a darn. They're just not properly hardened.

    It looks like that axe was hardened but not tempered very well... That's my guess anyway.

    Brittle steel and cold weather don't mix.

    Ed
     
  37. coaldigger

    coaldigger Scout

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  38. Ed

    Ed Scout

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    Thanks.

    I'm kind of leaning toward the husqvarna traditional axe.

    But the council tool hudson bay axe looks nice too.

    Would love to see some detailed pics of the profile of the council HB axe. Anybody have any?

    Ed
     
  39. Uncas

    Uncas Supporter Supporter

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    Iz has a great review of the CT boys axe on the reviews forum......Uncas
     
  40. Ed

    Ed Scout

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    Yeah... I just watched it.

    hmmm... I thought I'd made up my mind, but Iz uses his on the hardwoods and I'm surrounded by hardwoods.

    Good review, Iz!

    Ed
     
  41. Ed

    Ed Scout

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    Allright, guys...

    I thought about it more than I like thinking about things and I went ahead and ordered a Husqvarna from Baileys. Spent $15 more than I planned, but I got free shipping so I guess that makes it ok.

    I think it will serve me well.

    Thanks for all of the advice.

    Ed
     
  42. nwbushman

    nwbushman Tracker

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    I'm partial to the Council 3/4 axe. I am curious how that Husqvarna works out. I've often wondered who makes the axes for them. I love their chain saws.
     
  43. cellis

    cellis Post less. Do more. Supporter Bushclass II

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    I'm one of the guys with the threads you mentioned about Husqvarnas having poor factory grinds. I would have posted before but I see you already bought it. Be ready for a gamble, and if you don't know how already to learn how to reprofile an axe if you lose the gamble when it arrives. Long story short, about 5-6 hours work on the edge in and I really like mine but it took quite a bit of learning and work to get it there.

     
  44. ambrose21

    ambrose21 Tracker

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    I feel like reprofiling the Husqvarna is a little extreme. Changing the edge geometry with a good bit of sharpening should do it. A very old guy in town opened his garage up few years ago and the entire thing was full of old axes. Should have bought his double bits. But I was stupid. I would pay to get in there again. If he is still alive.
     
  45. ra2bach

    ra2bach Supporter Supporter

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    have you ever had one of the older Husky traditional axes in your hand? they require extensive reprofile but when done are wonderful with excellent steel.

    I got mine around the time this thread came out (5 years ago) and immediately set to work on it. I really like it but I made the mistake recently of picking up a GB Scandinavian Forest Axe. now I'm spoiled...
     
  46. batmanacw

    batmanacw Supporter Supporter

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    It's not extreme at all. I almost always reprofile the axes I buy. I re-profiled my nephews Husqvarna hatchet when I sharpened it for him. Not many axes come with the smooth convex edge I can create. I use a belt sander so it's easier.

    I hate a hard transition from edge to cheek. I've never seen a single benefit from it. Lots of benefits without it.
     
  47. ambrose21

    ambrose21 Tracker

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    Interesting. I would like to see some of the shapes you guys prefer perhaps another time in another post.
     
  48. basher1981

    basher1981 Supporter Supporter

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    +1
     
  49. Derzis

    Derzis Scout

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    I have the 18" handle, but it is the same head on the 28". These are the pictures I have for now:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With some light work, it looks good for me and it's doing what I ask for. From what I understood sometimes the handle grain orientation is hit and miss - mine looks almost perfect.
    This model has no Aluminum wedge on it - it is a wood wedge and a round metal wedge.
    Whatever you decide, I hope you'll have fun with it. An old axe head and a new handle looks for me the best option, but for the money CT Hudson Bay is the second best as tool.

    PS Looks like you decided and I didn't read after your post asking pictures. I hope you will like the Huqs.
     
  50. batmanacw

    batmanacw Supporter Supporter

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    Hults Bruk Akka re-profiled to my standards

    [​IMG]

    TT Red Warrior
    [​IMG]
     

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