April 1, 2014 at 3:01 pm #6103
It’s true, they do.
Suck, I mean. Feeling like Paul Bunyan, you go into a hardware store looking for a nice shiny new axe. And there it is, all shiny with an unbreakable fiberglass handle…
You pays your money and takes your axe and toddle off to chop down that annoying tree your wife told you to get rid of…
Gloves? Check. Boots? Check. You think you remember how to do this, so you pick your spot, rear back and take a mighty swing!
Boink! A few bark chips fly off…
Wait… what? Maybe you did it wrong. You rear back and with everything you got, you swing again..
Boink! A few more chips fly off, and the axe rebounds…
Maybe it’s dull. You dress the edge of the axe a few times with a file…
Modern axes suck. Why? Because the geometry of the blade is all wrong. The people making the axes, usually the Chinese or the Hindus at this point in the game, know Jack and **** about how to make a proper felling axe, and Jack left town…
And there’s more than one type of axe. Felling axes, limbing axes, cruiser axes, carving axes, carpenters axes, broad axes, mortise axes, various adzes, including the gutter adze, froes, hatchets, single bit, double bit… all of these are classified axes…
Back during the golden age of timber in North America, back about a 100 years ago or so, there were several American companies making really, really good purpose-built axes with the correct head geometry. Razor sharp, when you swung a felling axe and struck the trunk of a tree, it would bite deep and the chips would explode out of the kerf… those axes made short work of even the biggest trees in North America. I was fortunate to inherit three axes from my father. One single bit felling axe, a double bit felling axe and a cruiser axe (which looks like a double bit felling axe, but is about 20% smaller), all of which were in pristine condition. Thinking I was doing myself a favor by retiring those old axes (due to sentimental reasons), I went and bought myself a shiny new axe at our local hardware store… I mean, what the hell, right? It looks like an axe to me, sooo..
What the f–?
If you are in the market for an axe, choose the one you need, then hunt down some old 1930’s vintage axe heads that meet your requirements. The handles might or might not be there. Big deal. Dealers sometimes chop the handles off due to damage or whatever, leaving a stub sticking out of the axe head. Buy the axe head, knock the stub out with a hammer and get a good hickory replacement handle. Install the handle and hammer the wedges into the end, locking the head in place. If the blade is rusty, clean it either chemically (Rust, Calcium and Lime, also known as RCL, does a good job. Melts the rust away, but stinks to high heaven), or mechanically with a wire brush or wheel… once it’s clean, you can either oil it with motor oil and a rag, or you can paint it Krylon black (except the cutting edges). Sharpen with a fine mill file, then a whetstone until you can shave hair from your arm…
NOW you’re ready to make some chips fly!!
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1April 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm #6104
NB: The only modern axe manufacturer that I am aware of that does NOT make axes that suck, is Gränsfors Bruk out of Sweden… yes, they sell here in the United States. You’ll pay for them, but you’ll never need another…
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1April 1, 2014 at 4:48 pm #6138
If you’re interested in a good quality axe from a manufacturer with pedigree that doesn’t cost the earth you could do worse than check out Hultafors I believe they’re available in the states now.
On a side note they also do knives that give Mora a run for their money too.
If at first you don't succeed, excessive force is usually the answer.April 1, 2014 at 5:27 pm #6151
Thanks Ghost! Wife and I are heading up to Alaska later this year and camping. Camping in the wild helps us to hone our skills and have fun. Looking for another small axe and will give Hultafors a whirl. Already benefiting from this new forum. Awesome.
Hultafors Trekking Axe 800GApril 1, 2014 at 7:55 pm #6180
Hultafors… heh, never heard of them, but they’re Swedes too.. another blade culture, like ours. Thanks Ghosty for the find…
I have no experience with them personally, so someone who owns one of their products will have to give us a review. I’ve used Gränsfors before. They’re expensive because they’re hand made one at a time and stamped with the makers personal chop.. but, you get what you pay for, so…
Still, having used both old American made stuff and the Swede stuff, those old American blades give the Swedes a run for their money. Made of the best crucible steel available.
Some of the better known names were:
Kelley True Temper
Norlund (I have a soft spot in my heart for Norlund… they made a good product and it was damn handsome, too..)
There were others, but for the most part, the above had the lions share of the market. By the way, the list isn’t in order of quality. If I had to say who was in the top 5, I would say..
Kelley True Temper
Enjoy your new toys..
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1
Attachments:You must be logged in to view attached files.April 1, 2014 at 8:20 pm #6185
Malgus, I like many of the ones you listed. Collins, Plumb, Craftsman are very good. Since I have been in the construction business for over 30 years I have another one because the make hammers that last forever. Estwing!
They are also made in the good old U. S. A.
Estwing does make some good old and new axes.
But some of the other axes you have listed are great ones. They are at another level.April 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm #6191
Estwing is outstanding. They make that cool builders/carpenters hatchet and also the field hatchet. Stacked leather washer grip and since the hatchet is all one piece of forged steel, it no breaky… I still got the Estwing field hatchet my old daddy gave me when I was a Boy Scout. (Back in the days when they didn’t care if you had a sheath knife and a hatchet when you went camping… how else are boys supposed to learn how to properly and safely use the tools they need for survival if they never get the chance?)
You sure are right – Estwing is good sh*t… I have to say that the reason I didn’t include Estwing is because even though they make a damn fine hatchet, they didn’t make full-size axes… I had to make a choice… doom on me.
I was gonna have another thread about how Estwing hammers are the best hammers in the free world. Not the goofy looking “ergonomic” ones you find in Ace Hardware, but the old school genuine article with stacked leather washers for a grip.
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1April 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm #6200
Malgus, I purchased an Estwing Eagle Tomahawk Axe with the leather washer grip for only $42.98 link below so you can see, and free shipping!
When I got it my son (14 year old) didn’t give it back! So I ordered another one. It is made like the hammers, this Tomahawk is made as strong and the ones that are selling for $250,00 to $400.00 and it is made in the U. S. A.
Estwing is making great axes, from the large ones to small ones, just enter Estwing.April 1, 2014 at 8:56 pm #6202
You do the Estwing hammer post and I will do the Estwing Tomahawk Axe!April 2, 2014 at 1:24 am #6240
Most modern guns suck , compared to the old ones as far as durability and ruggedness goes .April 2, 2014 at 10:46 am #6262
Freedom, Nice find on the Estwing tomahawk. That is a tool/weapon that can last forever. One point about Estwing and other leather ring handles. The leathers can be damaged and will come loose. Water and oils are the most damaging other than direct impact of course. Just keep them clean and dry like any other fine steel instrument.April 2, 2014 at 1:05 pm #6295
1974t150v Estwing makes the same tomahawk in black with a Nylon Vinyl Shock. Estwing EBTA 27-Ounce Tomahawk Axe, Black.
Nylon Vinyl Shock Reduction Grip
Black in color
16.25″ overall length
American forged in one piece out of genuine American steel
I just like the leather handle, but you are right. The Nylon Vinyl Shock is made just like the hammers.April 2, 2014 at 2:19 pm #6304
Thanks for finding that Freedom. I have stick with what I have for now. Got to put the extra doe into more imeadiate and pressing items. More food, more ammo, large packs, more water filtration, rain gear for everyone. Storage for hiding what can’t be carried in a gotta run senerio.April 2, 2014 at 2:32 pm #6308
1974t150v, I agree 100% You need more food and ammo. Water is so important, see if you can get a well done with a hand pump. The Tomahawk is an extra item so you only get it when you have the extra cash to do that.
I am still trying to find more ammo since 90% of the ammo will be used to keep people away and not to shot someone. So you do need a lot more ammo.April 2, 2014 at 2:56 pm #6315
Free, I have a deep well and other water sources nearby. I want more life straws for mobile applications. I can make a hand pump from pvc piping. Need some plastic underground tube still for that. However this should be a a thread on it’s own. “Water systems”
I figure ammo is the holy grail of survival so no amount is to much, but I still need to spread my spending.
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