Feedback on Helko Mini Spalter needed...

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by MLMiller, Feb 14, 2019 at 3:51 AM.

  1. MLMiller

    MLMiller Tracker

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    Hi all! I'm new here so please bear with me. I have been hunting for a new axe and chose to get the Helko Mini Spalter. I would be glad to hear some opinions on this axe and how it preforms and holds up.


    My problem is, I have read so many low reviews around the web of people receiving a poor quality axe in important areas, and bad customer service. I was going to order the axe from the Helko North America web site over the phone, but in the process, came across a Google review that you can go see from Daryl Warner talking of his extremely poor experience in dealing with Helko explaining it in good detail, which supports the many poor reviews I've read.


    I'm afraid that I'll receive an axe with poorly fitting head, bad wood grain in handle, axe head not symmetrical and crooked making off balance, blade not properly sharpened, metal around the eye not symmetrical all the way around - thicker on one side, much thinner on the other and gaps or looseness ... all these things I've read about their axe's in reviews. A hand forged axe is going to have some imperfections, but I’m talking about the quality deal busters that should never pass in a quality made axe.


    The guy that left the Google review stated that he called Helko the day he received his axe and explained what all was wrong with it and was told he should have expected those imperfections, and the problem was his lack of knowledge, and he should have expected to have to regrind it (despite product description saying ready to use) and he was refused a return. Wow. I mean WOW!


    He said that after he posted his Google review, that the owner then reached out to him and offered to replace his axe free of charge.


    I really want to order this axe from them but based on the many poor reviews, I'm taking a chance of receiving a poor quality axe and poor customer service as well. I don't think if I call to order my axe from Helko and ask the customer service rep to make sure the one that I order is thoroughly checked out and passes the quality test that would actually happen. And if there was a problem and I reached out for refund I see how they treated other customers and I don't want that.


    I understand that every maker has some poor reviews and things happen sometimes, but also red flags are there for a reason and shouldn’t always be blown off.


    I really had a hard time finding the right style of axe for me and almost gave up but then came across the Mini Spalter and said that's it! So it's not as easy as just buying some other axe. Shopping for the right axe is like shopping for the right lure in the Bass Pro isles (which I'm addicted to). Lots of different things to take into consideration especially when you’re talking about a lot of money, and for me, spending over $100 on a designer name axe is a lot of money so I expect a quality axe and great customer service. Am I incorrect for that or have too high hopes, perhaps being unreasonable?


    So any feedback would be appreciated!
     
  2. MLMiller

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  3. Teeps

    Teeps Supporter Supporter

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    I have never owned a Helko Werks but have only heard good things. From my research the poor quality issues and customer service issues are very rare compared to the happy customer reviews. Even the really bad example you gave ended well with the guy getting contacted by the owner and then leaving 5 stars. If it were me I would buy with confidence. Think of the no doubt large number of people that buy them and then never leave a review. I consider them happy by association, because a person not happy about it will almost always go out of their way to warn others, while happy purchasers will not always do that. Especially if a product has generally great reviews already and not much more can be said.
     
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  4. Jim L.

    Jim L. Guide

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    Sorry, I can't help in any way other than offering a Welcome from SE Georgia.

    My thought was that Helko's first response to the Google dude's first querry was answered by either by some one having an off day. From what you say, it sounds like when the owners scanned Google reviews (or what ever tool they use for QA) and found a negative, they got busy and did an internal reveiw. Bottom line, Dude got a new axe.
     
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  5. BalsamFur

    BalsamFur Not a duck Supporter

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    It looks like Helko's US rep doesn't hang out here much any more.
    https://bushcraftusa.com/forum/threads/helko-axes-opinions.167365/#post-2867219
    I have a Black Forest. The fit is good, but the handle has some runout. One thing to consider is the handles are THICK. I've meant to trim mine down, or octagon it, but it's not my only axe so I never really got around to it.

    [EDIT]
    I see you already found the thread I linked to.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019 at 10:21 AM
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  6. CaptCrunch

    CaptCrunch Scout

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    Think americanstrat98 posted that 4 out of 5 high end heads he has received have been out of whack.Why is it you want that ugly thing.
     
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  7. MLMiller

    MLMiller Tracker

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    Thank you!
     
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  8. MLMiller

    MLMiller Tracker

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    Yes, it's too bad he had to go through all that in order to get it.
     
  9. MLMiller

    MLMiller Tracker

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    Right now I need a functional axe that fit's my needs, size, and purpose. Maybe later down the line I'll consider a axe to look pretty and not ugly lol!
     
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  10. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Wanderer Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Lol, the bits were not aligned with the eyes on the boutique axes I have received. Doesn't mean they don't work well in some cases;-). I have yet to own a Helko, but I wouldn't swear them off just by my experience with other brands.
     
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  11. CaptCrunch

    CaptCrunch Scout

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    Yes sir they seem to be well made have never held one.On the fear of imperfections 4 out of 5 is a pretty solid yes you should expect them on designer boutique axes right?Was not saying its unattractive just impractical a two pound splitting maul on a short handle seems silly and kinda dangerous really.
     
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  12. MLMiller

    MLMiller Tracker

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    I think I will continue to shop for what I'm looking for and not jump into a high priced axe that I can't actually handle and look at first.
    Any sharp edged tool is kinda dangerous just depends on the skill of the user. A person should never get an axe that they can't handle via weight, length, or balance.
    I need to check out some of our local gun and knife shops which I haven't done yet.
     
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  13. MLMiller

    MLMiller Tracker

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    J
    Not silly or dangerous. A sharp edged tool is great for any user depending on the job he is facing. A person just has to have wits to use any sharp edged tool with care and caution. ;)
     
  14. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Wanderer Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Yep it is a common issue. The reason it happens so often with myself as that I live in a rural location so my way of aquiring axes is by the internet. If I was able to hand pick my axes it would never have happened.

    On a splitting maul I don't think it would matter at all, but I also wouldn't spend big bucks on a bashing axe, but that is personal preference. I have a Fiskars maul and it works well, but for the most part I split firewood with a 4# double bit. Sometimes a 3# single bit Dayton. When I get real bored I use a boy's axe. The handles range from 28" to 36". I am not a tall man, but I can appreciate the extra length for this type of work.

    As far as which axe I like the most I'd say a 3lb Kelly with phantom bevels is hard to beat. If I need to bust a big squirrely round then out comes the maul or hammer and wedge.

    I do think the Helko is a well made axe. I've been eying them , but I already have some sweet American, Finnish, and Swedish axes. About a tenth of my time spent using an axe is with firewood in a temperate climate. The rest of my time is spent felling and bucking. I'm sure there are more knowledgeable wood splitters that can pipe up from our Northern region. Those guys seem to split from winter till spring. I can do all of my splitting in a couple of days or less. Hahaha.

    Welcome to the forum by the way @MLMiller . You are gonna like it here.
     
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  15. MLMiller

    MLMiller Tracker

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    Thanks I appreciate that!

    I’ll have to google some of those axe’s you mentioned and check them out.

    I live in a rural area too and the nearest town does not have any stores that carry much of a variety to get interested in. So I’m dependent on ordering on line, or taking a road trip to a cool outdoorsy shop that carries a lot of axe’s.

    There’s an awesome guy, David Pearson, on You Tube that has a channel called Fun In The Woods which is all about Bushcraft. He’s got such cool videos that I urge anyone on here to check’em out!
    Anyhow, he talks of a cool shop called Smokey Mountain Knife Works in Tennessee. I checked out their website and it looks like a real cool place. I’d sure love to take a road trip and go check that place out!
     
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  16. MLMiller

    MLMiller Tracker

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    Hey everyone should go on You Tube and check out this channel called Fun In The Woods with David Pearson. Real cool channel on Bushcraft. This guy has some really cool videos!
     
  17. MLMiller

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    2894A0C6-860F-4DAC-9E3D-1B20F4E4C145.jpeg Getting snow again! Hiking out when it’s snowing is just awesome especially at night.



    97569984-429A-4F62-A61D-CA2AC6E9A6E2.jpeg
    I might fire up my new tent stove and see how it does
     
  18. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    I bought two from their website at different times and both had issues.

    The rep reply to me specifically and that is posted on this forum if it interests you to find it.

    I wouldn’t order another product from them.

    I gave up on high dollar axes. Gransfors is the only one but to me it’s now priced 2x what it should be.

    I recommend a Fiskars axes. They are inexpensive but not cheap, and they’re built right.
     
  19. Yippeekiay

    Yippeekiay Tracker

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    I own a mini spalter and am not 100% sure its a good design. As stated it's a heavy head on a short handle but its also a heavy head on boys axe handle, again, "meant for bashing". Meaning there is a lot of stress put on the area just below the head which is smaller ( less material) than full sized axes. I definitely asked too much of it as I've already broken 2 handles, and granted, operator error was the main culprit but i think maybe I'll relegate it to splitting kiln dried kindling and not much else. Though i do want to compare it to my Husqvarna hatchet as far as general chopping.
    Just this week I rehung it, "uh-ghen" (little Forrest Gump accent there) and hope for the best.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019 at 9:09 AM

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