"Which GB" thread...

Discussion in 'Axe Mob' started by Jedi5150, Apr 15, 2019.

  1. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Tracker

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    Hello all! New guy here, first post and first time axe buyer. This is going to be one of those dreaded, "which should I get" threads that we've all seen on so many forums, but I really could use some help selecting, due to my lack of knowledge. I'll forewarn you, this post may be a bit lengthy.

    I've decided I'd really like a Gransfors Bruk as my first axe/ hatchet. I know this might seem silly to some, but I have never shied away from paying for quality, and if I have an attachment to an item that makes it more than a tool, I am far more inclined to want to get familiar with it and use it. The aesthetics and hand-forged nature of GB axes does this for me. So now I'll get down to my possible uses:

    A general camp tool. My camping ranges from backpacking to car camping, but the majority is on a motorcycle. I mention this because ideally I'd like to keep the axe/ hatchet secure on my bike while traveling. Now I've travelled across states with a rifle on my motorcycle, so a slightly larger axe is doable...it's just considerably less handy for locking up at stops. I have locking aluminum panniers that will hold up to about a 21-22" overall length axe. I'd use the axe for pounding in tent stakes, chopping firewood, and the occasional light trail clearing. I don't plan on crafting any log cabins or felling Giant Sequoias. I'd like to learn to do some carving, and generally using an axe to replace larger fixed-blade knives.

    The GB models I'm most leaning towards are the Small Forest Axe, Scandi Forest Axe, and Large Carving Hatchet. On their website it says that you shouldn't use carving hatchets for chopping and splitting, but the Large Carving Axe has the same head as the Wildlife Hatchet, so I can't imagine it would work on one tool and not the other...and I like the handle of the Large Carving Hatchet better (both length and shape). The Scandi Forest Axe is the most appealing to me of the three, and looks like it would be the most true "axe" of them all, but unfortunately it doesn't meet the sub-22" length (although that is not a total deal killer). I've read nothing but good things about the Small Forest Axe, but in my uneducated opinion, it seems like a bit too much of a compromise. I'd almost wonder if it wouldn't be better to have both a Scandi and a hatchet, than a single Small Forest Axe. Yet maybe that is the allure of only needing one tool. So one question I'd have for folks who have used the Small Forest Axe, is do you think of it as a phenomenal compromise, or do you look at it as a tool that does neither job great?

    Thanks in advance for any assistance.
     
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  2. BushcrafterAU

    BushcrafterAU Master Tracker Supporter

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    Welcome to BCUSA!

    Although I’ve never owned one, and myself are relatively new to the axe world, I like the look of both the Scandinavian and the SFA. Also check out some vintage brands such as WC Kelly, True Temper, Plumb, and Collins (old ones). These regularly come up in markets at really low prices , even in Australia, and their quality is at least equal to Gransförs-Bruks and Hults-Bruk. But if you’re wanting something new, definately go with a Gransförs or Hults Bruk.

    EDIT: Just don’t buy an axe because other people like it. Buy what appeals to you, and feels comfortable. I’d advise trying to find a store that stocks the Gransförs line so you can feel all the ones you are considering and make a choice based on that. ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
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  3. Staleym

    Staleym Dunedan of the North and one of the Free Peoples Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Hey there from Cascadia! Welcome to the boards. @BushcrafterAU has a lot of sage advice. I also don't own a GB. However, I have just finished cleaning, profiling and rehanging a vintage Kelly double bit feller. The head was $19.00 and the handle was $16.00. And while you can afford the GB, the difference would buy a lot of other gear. It was my second restore and rehang. I'll post pictures here tomorrow It can be intimidating at first yet the advice and suggestions offered by the Axe Mob members is awesome and will help you succeed and its a lot of fun to do. I guarantee, if you restore an axe, it will be YOURS in a way no store bought, even GB, axe can be from the git go. @BigHat deals in vintage axe heads and has very reasonable prices. I'm sure others he do also, I'm just not as familiar with the others, yet. Best wishes for getting what you what either way.
     
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  4. Staleym

    Staleym Dunedan of the North and one of the Free Peoples Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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  5. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Tracker

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    Bushcrafter AU, and Staley, I appreciate both of your input. I'd written a previous reply but it didn't go through for some reason. I like the idea of finding a nice vintage head and rebuilding it. I restored an old Milsurp rifle, and it was a fun project and had a lot of meaning when I was done. So doing the same with an axe is something I could definitely see myself doing down the road. Right now though, it's a bit too daunting a task. For my first axe I think I'm going to stick with a good quality production axe. I'll save the project axe for when I know more about their history and use.

    PS- great job on that Double Bit axe, Staley! That turned out great.
     
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  6. Staleym

    Staleym Dunedan of the North and one of the Free Peoples Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Hey there @Jedi5150! Thanks for the look at my project and the feedback. I certainly respect your choice. I too purchased a Husqvarna Carpenter's Axe prior to my receiving a gifted Head at a GTG. Since I am of the Large, Economy Size, I will use the Husqvarna as a Camp Axe/Hatchet and my Single Bit first project Bois/Boy's Axe as my Pack/GP Axe. Here are liinks to that project if you are interested in seeing what support from the Mob I needed and the support I got in return:

    To use or not to use - that's tha' question

    Wedge Advice Request

    What...Is...Wrong...with Me?

    When you get ready, I and other Mob members will have your six.
     
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  7. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Tracker

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    Thanks again, Staley! I haven't had time yet to peruse those links, but I will do. And I got a kick out of your, "Large, economy size" comment, I think a lot of us fit that description. ;)

    I finally placed my order, and now I'm super excited to get my first axe. I decided on the Small Forest Axe. I was leaning very heavily towards the Scandi Forest Axe, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if I can't easily carry the axe on my motorcycle, I will more than likely leave it home from trips. And since easily more than half of my touring and backpacking is done on the bike, I would simply be getting far less use out of my axe if I bought the Scandi. So down the road, post-retirement, more of my travel will be with my wife, on 4 wheels....so a Scandi may still be in my future. But for the time being, the SFA will be the better answer, I think.
     
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  8. batmanacw

    batmanacw Bushmaster

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    I have the Small Forest axe. It's one of my 85 axes. It stands out. Not because it works better but because it works well and is beautiful. The forging and handle all play role in that functional beauty. I'd love to have a Scandinavian Forest axe some day for the same reason.

    The profile on a stock GB axe is the best you can get on a production axe. It is not even close to as good as it could get so I honestly hope you get brave and take a file to it not long after you buy it and you start learning the amazing things you can do to make it better. Just blending in the edges of the profile and smoothing the convex curve all the way to the edge will reduce chopping forces 50% over the stock edge profile.
     
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  9. Jedi5150

    Jedi5150 Tracker

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    Thanks for the response, batmanacw. I'm very happy with the fit and finish so far, but I have yet to get a chance to use it. As we speak I'm going through the process of adding a raw linseed oil finish. There were a few minor burs on the handle when I got it, so I sanded the whole thing down, heated the handle and applied a liberal coat of oil. It's been a few days and I'm about to apply the second coat.

    I did notice a few bright spots on the edge, so I'm sure it could be cleaned up a bit. I'm not too timid to try to clean up the edge, so I'll definitely give it a go, for better or worse.
     
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  10. batmanacw

    batmanacw Bushmaster

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    Take it for a spin as is. Then when you finally work the cheeks just a bit and smooth the convex you will really see the difference. You can even hear the difference in the swing. When I chop with a properly profiled axe there is much less noise.
     
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