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Suggestions on an Axe

Discussion in 'Edged Tools' started by Northernhunter, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Northernhunter

    Northernhunter Scout

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    hey everyone,

    I am in the market for a good axe. I currently use the Wetterlings Large Hunter Axe but it's pretty small despite its name and it is not the best wood splitter. I find I end up using my Tomahawk more than my axe right now. I live in northern Alberta in some thick timber. I am looking for a good axe That is good for splitting wood and any other tasks I might need the axe for. I also want the back of the axe to be flat so I can use it for pounding stakes or whatever else as well. I will be packing this axe around with me a lot this winter so I don't want something super heavy. Can anyone give me some recommendations on a good axe please? I am looking to spend $200 or less ( Canadian dollars )

    I was looking at the Gränsfors Bruk Scandinavian Forest Axe but the reviews I have seen do not show the axe splitting wood and I need it to be good at splitting.

    Any suggestions are very much appreciated.
     
  2. Harper

    Harper Guide

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    Wetterlings Les Stroud Bushman.

    I think Les designed it for people exactly like you.
     
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  3. nograveconcern

    nograveconcern Hobbyist Hobbyist Supporter Bushclass I

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    Scandi forest axe is boys axe size. Same size as the husqvarna forest axe but nicer. It's a great size if you need something packable for a canoe trip or something. It's not what I would use for splitting rounds around the house.


    Are you looking for a full size felling axe? Mine is a vintage head so I'm not much help there. The GB stuff gets spendy for that large.

    For dedicated splitting I use a fiscars. Works great and can take a miss strike. Less than $50 at wallyword too.
     
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  4. 62flint

    62flint Scout

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  5. batmanacw

    batmanacw Supporter Supporter

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    I would go with a 2.25# boys axe with a 24" handle. The Helko Black forest woodworkers axe would be amazing. I wish I could afford one.
     
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  6. Ragman

    Ragman Supporter Supporter

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    Unless you buy a splitting axe from Gransfors it will not split well; they are great axes for chopping but have very thin bits.
    The wetterlings heads are all a little thicker and more wedge shaped than their Gransfors counterparts.
    So if your not finding your wetterlings a good splitter stay away from GB.
    I would like to see the head on your Large Hunter, I like my small hunter so far but haven't had it out a whole bunch yet.
     
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  7. Bax 40

    Bax 40 Supporter Supporter

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    Look for a vintage Walters Boys axe at sales!

    Or a vintage Granfors , they are thicker than the newer stuff, the one in the pic came from BC. knives 016.jpg
     
  8. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    If you're not going to restore an older axe (best option available in my experience) then I'd agree with going with boys axe for the uses you described. The head weight will be about 2.25 lbs with a total weight of around 3 lbs. The overall length will be about 27". The Gransfors Bruk Scandinavian Forest Axe has a 1.75 lbs head and so is substantially lighter than a boys axe or Pulpwood axe as they call them up in Canada. As an option for splitting the oversized eyes on GBs makes for a poor splitting axe because of the sudden transition. Additionally the flat cheeks can make retrieving he axe from stringy hardwood rather difficult since the whole face of the axe will be in contact with the wood, and the edge at the top and bottom being a 90° will bite into the wood making it even more difficult. This is based on my experience with my Small Forest Axe.

    Personally if you're looking to spend decent money based on what you stated you wanted I would look at the Council Tools Velvicut Boys axe. It will have better steel, and better profile, and more weight than the Gransfors Bruk.
     
  9. Kelly W

    Kelly W Scout

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    If you need to chop wood, I'd go for at least 2.5 lbs, i'd say more on a 30 inch haft at least. You'll work yourself to death with anything less on hard wood in the cold.
     
  10. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    G-Bs are mostly made to deal with birch and pines. I like mine for that (and seasoned maple), but not for oak. In NY (Adirondacks) I can use my GB SFA. Here in LA, I mostly use a machete or a Norlund hatchet. I also have a Norlund hudson bay style ax on a 24" handle that I like pretty well.
     
  11. Northernhunter

    Northernhunter Scout

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    Thanks for the suggestions.
    I will try to get a pic of my large hunter axe head for you, my photobucket account is being weird right now.
    Its not that its a bad chopper its just so short it makes it hard. It is still a good axe though.
     
  12. batmanacw

    batmanacw Supporter Supporter

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    If you want to host pictures photobucket wants $400 a year. It's not weird. They committed corporate sucide.
     
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  13. Kelly W

    Kelly W Scout

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    Strength is the art of leverage.
     
  14. the_dude

    the_dude Supporter Supporter

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    Wetterlings bushman or hudson bay. Nice wedge shape for splitting, both very packable.
     
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  15. Riley harrold

    Riley harrold Tracker

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    Columbia knife and tool makes good axes and there all made by our veterans. There out of Oregon. And bucks bears knifes. I have knifes and clever.
     
  16. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

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    A good chopper is a crappy splitter and a good splitter is a crappy chopper. What are you going to be doing most?
    My shop sells quite a few different axes, and the one we hear most about is the Stihl Pro Forestry Axe, and the Stihl Pro Splitting Axe. Both are made by Ochsenkopf. Fantastic axes. I own both now, and they are my favorite axes.
     
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  17. Rooster1970

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    An all-arounder that can also split sounds like the ticket...

    David likes his 24" Pack Axe from Council...

    Peace, Rooster

     
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  18. Harper

    Harper Guide

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    Here is a fairly new video which compares some Bushcraft Axes:





    He is a fan of the Wetterlings Bushman (for Bushcraft purposes):

     
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  19. Derzis

    Derzis Scout

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    www.tinypic.com or www.imgbb.com are a better option for pic hosting.
    I would go for a vintage Walters in 2.5-3lbs range and 28"/30"
     
  20. FarmerJohn

    FarmerJohn Scout

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    I also like the wetterlings bushman for a pack axe got one off a guy here on the trade blanket and been very happy with it.
     
  21. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    Here's my personal pack axe which is quite different than other suggestions including my own with only a 1.25 lbs head on a 25" handle 2 lbs total excluding a sheath. I've done plenty of splitting with this set up and it suits my needs perfectly fine. Not sure if that would have been the case a few years ago with less experience however. It chops above it's weight as well, and excels at limbing.


    [​IMG]Camp Axe Re-handle 3 by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    And here's a look at the difference between profiles on the older vintage axes vs my Gransfors Bruk.

    [​IMG]Northern King VS SFA by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_8116 by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    [​IMG]IMG_8140 by MJGEGB, on Flickr
     
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  22. batmanacw

    batmanacw Supporter Supporter

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    We seem to fail to discuss what size of material is being split as well. My tomahawks will split up kindling for getting a fire going. I rarely need to split cut rounds for a camp fire. That's not how I camp.

    I let the fire cut longer logs. I'm never processing larger trees.

    I would be very comfortable with splitting medium sized (12" - 18") cut rounds with a boys axe. It might not be ideal but it will work.

    Any cut rounds under 12" would split with any of my camp axes. Even a 1.5 lb head will do that.
     
  23. MJGEGB

    MJGEGB Guide

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    It all depends, I have a trip coming up where we stayed at a campground and buy the firewood for ¢25 a log. I end up splitting out kindling for starting the fires, and maintaining smaller cooking fires. We cook everything over the fire for the weekend and spend the nights gathered around it as well so we light 2-3 fires a day and burn through some wood. Trips like this are about the only time I split a lot for camp. Last time I took a setup like the one I posted above and never found myself regretting leaving my boys axe at home.

    Other folks hot tent, which means they need a pile of wood sized for a small stove. Your not going to be able to use a larger log in a small stove and so splitting becomes more important.

    Most of my preferred camping trips I have very small fires as it's all I need for cooking or hiker TV at night. I generally gather twigs for kindleing and split very little, but use an axe if I bring one for bucking small dead standing undergrowth for firewood with no need to split due to the diameter. I could use a saw, but I'm a weirdo who doesn't enjoy sawing wood.

    I've personally never found the burn through method to be effective for camp fires. Primitive Technology did a video recently making a water powered hammer where he shows using the method in place of a saw or modern axe. You can see how deliberate he has to be in building a fire around the log in order to burn through it. In this case it works as a tool to cut through wood, but in the course of a nights camp fire I've never found it to be effective unless it's small enough to just be snapped between the crotch of a tree.
     
  24. Rooster1970

    Rooster1970 Scout

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  25. americanstrat98

    americanstrat98 Supporter Supporter

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    +1 Bax40. I have this same axe head on a 25", and it is a work horse compared to my SFA or Hunters axe by Wetterlings. If I want to carve I'll grab my hunters axe, if camping my SFA, if working on my property then my Gransfors vintage boys axe. It's light enough to pack, but long and heavy enough to prevent a sore back when you need the wood more than the experience:).
     
  26. Lead belly

    Lead belly Tracker

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    With the proper flick of the wrist any axe will split well. My gransfor bruk scandi has preformed very well at splitting seasoned white oak for the firepit. It did especially well when the time came to regrind and I convexed it.

    Just to throw my suggestion out there. I'd go with a 2.5lbs cruiser if those aren't too scarce in your area. Put a steep angle grind on one end and a fine angle on the other. You'll have two axes in one.
     
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  27. ra2bach

    ra2bach Supporter Supporter

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    caution - bushcraft heresy follows forthwith!.. :16:

    my favorite chopping/splitting/wedge driving axe is the Fiskars 28" chopping axe -- http://rockymountainbushcraft.blogspot.com/2013/12/review-fiskarss-28chopping-axe-new.html

    [​IMG]

    it's cheap and it chops like no tomorrow but what I really like about it is there is no eye. the head is solid and the handle is molded around it.

    what this means is you can use the poll to hammer wedges with no eye deformation, like traditional axes. it is hardened well and I've never had the poll chip or mushroom even when using steel splitting wedges. I still ALWAYS wear eye protection though ...

    I have the X15 (same head/23.5" handle) and while it out-chops any other Swedish axe that size, the head is a little heavy for the length, IMO. I keep it with my chainsaw gear for trimming, pounding wedges, and every once in a great while, freeing a stuck bar... :54:
     

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