Does anyone use one of the Mini-Hatchets?

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by RJM52, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. RJM52

    RJM52 Scout

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    Have been looking at these little choppers but really don't see where they would be very practical.... Many companies make them in both one piece and handled construction...

    Was just wondering if a hatchet with a length under 10" is useful....

    Bob
     
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  2. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Amphibian. Supporter Bushclass I

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    oh lawd, it comin'.

    The gransfors is just under twelve inches; if that counts, yes, they're very effective little tools.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. squishware

    squishware Troubleshooter Supporter

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    I am unskilled with an axe but so attracted to these little ones.
     
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  4. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I often used to use a small hatchet or cut down 'hawk for hunting. These tools would just live in my pack. They came in handy for splitting deer pelvises and splitting kindling for fires. I also could chop down small trees to make shooting lanes or brush blinds. Obviously these tasks could all have been done with a saw but the small hatchets can often pull duty as a light hammer/impact tool. Changing between a bone saw blade and wood saw blade also took some time....the hatchet was just pulled out and ready to go.
     
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  5. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Slow learner Lifetime Supporter

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    The GB mini is an extremely capable and practical tool. Because it's so imminently packable, you're likely to have it on you. It chops well outside its weight class but you'll need to approach problems a little differently (kind of like with a hawk). I've used mine very often for probably 15 years and it's one of my favorite tools ever. With that and a knife (and sometimes even without a knife, as the below post shows) its all you need.

    Some action:
    https://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/bushclass-3-roycroft-fire-stew.227190/#post-3914552
     
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  6. happywanderer

    happywanderer Scout

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    I use one for kindling and carving. I'm sure I could use a large knife to accomplish a similar role, but it's what I have and I find it light and useful. Around here's typically no need to process karge amounts of firewood, so it works pretty well for me.
     
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  7. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    Based on the description I think you are talking about short handled axes like the Gransfors Bruks Hand Hatchet or Fiskars Paxe. I could personally see the value for a carving specific hatchet where you end up choked up on the handle 90% of the time anyway. And I've seen some folks who love the Fiskars/Gerber version and get a lot of use out of them.

    Personally though when I think mini hatchet I'm thinking more along the lines of my Vaughan Sub Zero Sportsman's Axe or Gransfors Bruks Small Hatchet aka mini hatchet or Outdoor axe. Or the Rinaldi Calabria hand axe that I just got yesterday. All of which have heads well under a pound and some a half pound. I find them useful for when light is desirable, but an axe is aslo wanted such as backpacking trips where I plan to cook over the fire.

    20190109_165706_HDR.jpg 20190109_165813.jpg

    [​IMG]Mini Hatchet fire by MJGEGB, on Flickr

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

    For reference here's the Paxe

    [​IMG]

    And the GB Hand Hatchet

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  8. LogCabin

    LogCabin Scout

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    I do not know about the 'under 10 inches' but I am signed up for a class to make a Kentucky Belt Axe.
     
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  9. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    They are very useful, ya just have to understand the limitations and how to use them. joe
     
  10. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Amphibian. Supporter Bushclass I

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    That. Is just stunning.
     
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  11. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    Thanks, ironically that also sort of answers the question of "what to use them for?" since my mini helped carve the handle for that mini.

    [​IMG]Side One Roughed Out by MJGEGB, on Flickr
     
  12. BradGad

    BradGad Supporter Supporter

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    My hatchets range from the GB Small/Mini (dang small) to the Helko Rheinland (a beautiful beast).

    The Mini is a little gem of a tool and surprisingly capable, but if you want a lightweight axe I would strongly nudge you, even shove you, at the GB Outdoor Axe. Very packable and totable, and very very capable.

    But, what makes it so capable is it has a long handle, so you get a good whippy high-energy swing. I think that’s the key to an effective “small” hatchet. A long handle. So maybe that’s a bit of an oxymoron.

    We should be paging @batmanacw ... he knows a ton about hatchets and will be able to point you at some good small and light hatchets that cost much less than a Gransfors Bruks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
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  13. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    I have found that a hatchet with a relatively heavy head works well , sadly though small headed hatchets haven't the kinetic energy to perform as well .
    If I am not performing work that requires the kinetic energy, a big knife is all that is required .
    This Marbles hatchet I made a new handle for, is almost useless for real work, but is fine for carving and nonessential duties .
    DSCN4619.JPG

    Though this colt is modified for carving and digging ,
    it too is light for real work I demand of my tools. DSCN4210.JPG
    I am becoming more fond of this true temper hatchet head for it's weight and short handle .
    The one on it now is experimental, but it works well enough to go ahead and make a proper handle for it .
    Heavy head ( probably intended to be a boy's ax /short handle. ideal hatchet.
    DSCN4369.JPG
    Sometimes in life you have to be smarter than the machinery.
     
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  14. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    Chances are he's going to to point to the $25 Vaughan I posted above. He picked one up for his wife last year after she fell in love with the Gransfors Mini. I've had mine for a while and it's been tweaked quite a bit. Definitely not an out of the box performer. Then there is the Rinaldi Calabria hand axe which we also both own that is similar to the Outdoor axe in some ways. The head weights are similar at 11.3 oz for the Outdoor Axe and 12.8 oz for the Rinaldi Calabria based on the ones I've handled. It's still a little pricey and rough around the edges but cheaper than the Outdoor axe, comes with a great profile, and has good steel. I'm in the process of cleaning mine up and will probably make a new handle for it in the near future. The only reason I say this is because @batmanacw and I were just talking about this yesterday :18:
     
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  15. BradGad

    BradGad Supporter Supporter

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    I think it was you that pointed me at the Calabria before and it’s definitely on my list. I’m trying hard to unmelt my credit cards in 2019... bu-uttt... I am in the process of selling two of my GBs, so maybe it would be OK to pick up the Calabria.
     
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  16. the_dude

    the_dude Supporter Supporter

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    i never film anything, but i did film this. i felled several trees with my mini, bucked and limbed many more. it's no full-sized axe, but it works in a pinch.

    what i love about tiny axes is the portability. the gransfors mini fits in my tiniest bag. the easier something is pack and carry, the more likely you are to pack and carry it.

    i've done dozens and dozens of outings with my mini and no other sharp tool. i felt like i could do just about anything i needed to do with that tiny axe.



    [​IMG]IMG_1299

    [​IMG]IMG_1218
     
  17. the_dude

    the_dude Supporter Supporter

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    and it felt even better in hand than it looked.

     
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  18. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    Could be, I started contemplating picking up one on July 7th of 2016, mine arrived yesterday. I like to take a cool down period before making purchases:D. I'd keep the credit cards melted assuming that by melted you mean in the fire. I went about 6 years without one and now they are used as a tool to maintain credit. They stay at home locked up because that's what you do with dangerous things right?
     
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  19. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Amphibian. Supporter Bushclass I

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    If you a few inches to your parameters, you can really do some damage with Gransfors' outdoor axe.
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. SoreFeet

    SoreFeet Scout

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    I have a Gerber Back Paxe that I keep in my whittlin bag. I love the little hatchet's comfortable handle! I tossed the plastic guard it came with into a box of junk and made a simple cardboard and gorilla tape mask for it.
    I use it for roughing out the piece of wood I'm about to whittle on, then proceed with my Garberg, to my Mora 2/0 and/or Mora spoon knife. Finishing up with my Old Timer splinter. That all fits with room to spare in a old Tarus tablet case with my Dollar General Saw, a rasp, packet of small fine files, some sand paper, and a pill bottle with 1 tablespoon of salt, and a snack bag boo boo kit.
    20190110_150633.jpg 20190110_150543.jpg
     
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  21. RJM52

    RJM52 Scout

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    Most of the hatchets here are not the ones I am referring to....the PAXE and GB Hand Hatchet pictured above are the size I am talking about...the REAL short ones...

    Thanks for all the replies...
     
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  22. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Amphibian. Supporter Bushclass I

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    Those strike me as crafting axes, specifically for doing carving work.
     
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  23. the_dude

    the_dude Supporter Supporter

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    the difference in oal between the hand hatchet and the mini is ~1". i would imagine it would have similar applications, limits, etc.

     
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  24. fishiker

    fishiker Scout

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    The difference in the weight of the head is the biggest difference.
     
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  25. woodsranger

    woodsranger Scout

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    Does anyone know if the head of the Paxe is the same size as the head of the Fiskars x7? I mean, is the Paxe just an X7 with a shorter handle?
     
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  26. Fixedblade

    Fixedblade 3% Supporter

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    I have a Hults Bruk hand hatchet that I use for carving and bushcraft that gets used allot.
    [​IMG]
     
  27. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Wanderer Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I really enjoy the Gransfors #410 for it's weight to work ratio. For around a pound about the only thing I find more useful in my pack is a Dustrude buck saw. I say get yourself one, or build one up following MJGEGB's advice.
    IMG_20181120_143907754.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  28. Bonekrakker

    Bonekrakker Not a chiropractor Supporter

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    I've got a little cheap condor hatchet (scout hatchet maybe??) that's right at the same size, and I've always been happy with it for what it is. It definitely seems to be a little softer steel, but will still take and hold a good edge.
     
  29. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I carry a Vaughn mini with me sometimes, on a hard backpacking trip where i know there will be wood to split... also good to take along hunting. but most times, going light, i just make twig fires for cooking, and am too tired to process campfire wood.
     
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  30. southron

    southron Guide

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    My little vaughn sounding hatchet (subzero hatchet) is a very handy little tool. Fo me it usually fills the role lots of folk will carry a larger fixed blade knife.

    Then I carry a fixed blade with a thinner slicing blade (my ideal is 3 / 32" thick.

    They are what they are, but old jimbo has some articles on making one better. they usually are around 20bucks so not much invested to see if ya would like it before you invest in the expensive stuff.

    of perhaps a fiskars x5 hatchet if ya can find one.

     
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  31. 8thsinner

    8thsinner Guide Bushclass I

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    They don't overly appeal to me personally. I used to have the (I think) small forest axe from GB, I liked it a lot but I traded it about six months ago with a friend who wanted a decent axe for a change.
    I can see the advantage in carving work and close up working but I would rather go for a japanese nata the flat chiseled grind is a proven winner for fine carving as the mora and pukko have proven time and time again so I see that as more versatile and more capable, however somewhere in youtube land there is a video of a guy using a mini axe to split a log that must be close to two foot thick, He batons it in like a wedge then uses wooden wedges to hold it and moves up, It was about 8-10 feet long I think and it took him a while to get through it like between 12-18 minutes or so. But it worked and is very impressive what such a small hatchet can do given a decent technique and understanding of wood.
    The nata, depending on the weight and model is a very capable tool in the right hands and with a extended handle can even be used for hewing which is not something a tiny axe could do as cleanly.
    Here is a cool little video showing various models.

    Of course there may be a middle ground, silky do two models, a nata and a nata like hatchet, they are both double ground so I am not sure on getting either myself. I would prefer a chisel grind I think. Anyway, another option to look at if mini's are on your mind.
     
  32. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    I use my little Gerber almost exclusively for processing wood for fire;
    it’s about as small/light as one can get for these chores

    I’m not going to use it for felling logs for a cabin :D
     
  33. BigHat

    BigHat Guide Bushclass I

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    Yes. It's the same head, different handle. I have both. The back Paxe came with a sheath, my x7 did not. I swap the sheath depending on which one I pack.
     
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  34. woodsranger

    woodsranger Scout

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    Thank you!
     
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  35. kcardwel

    kcardwel Hardwoodsman Hobbyist Supporter Hardwoodsman Bushclass III

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    yes, I use the small GB and keep it on the side of my pack. great for delimiting, tent stake pounding and general camp work.
     
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  36. Swampyankee101

    Swampyankee101 Scout

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    I have a Collins boys axe, and an Estwing. Both are handy.
     
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  37. batmanacw

    batmanacw Guide

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    It's you fault I have to play with my Calabria hand axe this weekend. Wicked little thing it is.

    I have 88 axes right now and not one of the short handled hatchets referred to in the OP. I should fix that.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  38. Mikem

    Mikem Scout

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    The GB is in my go pack. Stays sharp, cut, split, chop and hammer, all in a small size. Ultimately packable.
     
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  39. Kenneth

    Kenneth Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter

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    The smallest chopper I have is the M.U.S.T multi use survival tool on bottom. But I use the Russian trapper axe the most, I got both in the Apocabox.

    GOD Bless you and your families

    Kenneth


    20190111_045920.jpg
     
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  40. BushcrafterAU

    BushcrafterAU Master Tracker Supporter

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    Fiskars X5 is supposedly very nice...
    But I only have experience with the X7.
    Both have the same head, so I presume it would indeed be nice!
     
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  41. MontanaMarine

    MontanaMarine Scout

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    I've got a couple small hatchets. The GB 410, and the Back Paxe II.

    [​IMG]

    I use the little Gerber (Fiskars) all the time around the house, making kindling for the woodstove. Makes a great little batoning wedge with a handle.

    [​IMG]
     
  42. MASC1104

    MASC1104 Old Dominion Resident Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I bought the Gerber paxe Gen 1 a while back and for me, it really is almost useless. I wanted something compact but it’s too compact for me. If the handle were a few inches longer, I think it would be more useful. As is, it doesn’t feel that balanced while swinging and that hook at the end is too pronounced IMO and doesn’t feel right if swinging harder. I am sure more skilled folks are more efficient with it but for me, for the same weight, I’d rather have something with a slightly longer handle. The next model up has too long of a handle than what I am want. The head is also very wedge like and bulky for me. I might just try cutting down the handle of my CS trail hawk and see how that works.
     
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  43. woodsranger

    woodsranger Scout

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    I cut down the handle on an X7 once. It was easy to do, but I didn't care for the resulting balance.
     
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  44. 62flint

    62flint Scout

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    I modified one of the Bulgarian sourced bearded hatchets for my pack. IMG_1483.JPG
    The haft is part of an older HB boy's axe that needed replacement. IIRC, its 10" and less than 14oz. It hasn't gotten a lot of use, but has chopped and split some wood just to verify that the steel was up to the task.

    I've since bought a Svante Djarv backpack axe. Its shorter and lighter by about 1'' and 1oz.

    https://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/my-new-backpacking-axe.235788/#post-4091469
     
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  45. pab1

    pab1 Supporter Supporter Bushclass III Bushclass I Bushclass II

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    I have a couple Gerber 9" hatchets. They see more use than all of my hatchets and axes combined. Along with a knife like the Eldris and a Bahco Laplander they will do pretty much anything I need done on a camping trip.

    Here's a quick, one meal disposable spatula I made using this trio. I cut the wood to length with the Laplander, roughed it out with the Gerber and finished it with the Eldris.

    Kelton Christmas & Bushclass Mentor 089.JPG

    Not a big tree but my Gerber made quick work of this dead lodgepole pine for firewood.

    12-27 to 12-29 Camp Kel and Fal 027.JPG

    The factory sheath for the Gerber is horrible. I made a sheath for both the Gerber and Laplander. The Gerber is light enough that I can carry it on my belt. Its always right there when I need it.

    Hatchet and Laplander Sheath 011.JPG
     
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  46. RI Chevy

    RI Chevy Scout

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    20190102_121648.jpg 20190102_121656.jpg

    I like and use both GB hatchets. The smaller hand hatchet has great balance and feel in hand. Better control than the longer handle for small precise work. Very portable. Well worth the cost.
     
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  47. Haggis

    Haggis Bushmaster

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    I had a GB Mini for a short while, then gave it to a Grandson. It may put the wag in the dog’s tail for the next fella, but for me, it was as useless as it was expensive.

    The next size up, the GB Wildlife Hatchet, or the Norlund Voyager Hatchet, will do for driving tent stakes, a very few light end chopping duties, and will split smaller pieces of wood for kindling, (if dry twigs can’t be found for kindling).

    Up another notch, the GB SFA, or the Council Tool Hudson Bay Camp Axe, will actually split firewood, can be used to chop slender branches to length, and will do everything the smaller axes will do.

    I’m always sorely tempted by the wee hatchets, but I can’t imagine any way they would be useful to me. I burn firewood to heat my home, so I split a lot of kindling for fire building, and I split it all with a full sized pole axe; a hatchet is not necessary for splitting kindling. As I see it, hatchets are lightweight for carrying to camp, or carrying on the trail, but if they are too lightweight, they’re just deadweight. Everyone carries what they like though, and that’s how it should be...

    In fairness to axes of any size in the bush, my views are based on the fact that I will build 100 camp fires without tools, to every one fire I build using tools; (I do use matches or a Bic lighter, and I suppose they are tools). Even then, I’m more likely to use a small folding saw rather than an axe; saws aren’t as dangerous, and they’re far less work to use.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
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  48. woodsranger

    woodsranger Scout

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    Yep!
     
  49. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

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    I have a Mora Hatchet .I like it.

    I like it alot more than a large knife . I view it as a Ulu on a stick .
     
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  50. John Mastracchio

    John Mastracchio Tracker

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    I tend to carry a boys axe on a 19 inch handle. I do have and sometimes carry a mini/pockect axe in my day bag for crafting in camp and clearing small branches on the trail. It is easier on the forearms for fine crafting 20190113_093252.jpg
     
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