Show me your Axe/hatchet

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by RWBlue, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    Since search isn't working... Show me your axes and hatchets.

    I have a gerber mini-hatchet.
    I have a gerber full sized axe.
    Thinking about adding a medium sized axe. This is probably the size I should have gotten first. It would be a hunting axe/camp chore axe. And probably carried a lot in a vehicle, used little.

    Of course I could spend a pile of money on a Burks, but I am looking for a more cost effective option. So many axes are just wrong for hunting purposed. The heads are not shaped right. The tiny Gerber is pretty good, but not good for other camp chores.
     
  2. FireForged

    FireForged Millenium #3936 Millennium Member

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    Helko (Germany) makes some fine forged axes and hatchets for little money. If I were looking for a nice axe, that is where I would start.

    I like their classic line and the one shown below is a $50 hatchet. You can get the large axe for about $80. These things are very nice and I have no idea how they sell them for such a low price but I am not complainant... I have three.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015

  3. Tom Kanik

    Tom Kanik

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    ^^^That IS a nice looking hatchet!
     
  4. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    My father had a boyscout hatchet/fixed knife combo. My little Gerber just doesn't feel right.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I guess part of me is trying to make a modern recreation of the Nessmuk classic combo.
     
  5. happie2shoot

    happie2shoot

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  6. JLM63

    JLM63

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    Belonged to my grandfather. I just recently put a handle on it and sharpened it.
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Bobinthewind

    Bobinthewind

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  8. Bobinthewind

    Bobinthewind

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  9. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    It
    It looks like a drywall hammer. How does it chop?
     
  10. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
  11. PhotoFeller

    PhotoFeller A swamp dude

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    Months ago someone here recommended a Helko 'Pathfinder' hatchet, so I bought one to keep in my truck. The Helko hatchets and axes look like the very expensive imported products, but their price is quite reasonable. I think I paid $65 on Amazon for my Pathfinder.

    http://www.helkonorthamerica.com/store/p19/Pathfinder.html

    I have more chopping tools than an old peckerwood can ever use, but it's comforting to know they're on hand if I need 'em.
     
  12. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    Have you tried it on anything?
    When I look at the Helko line, I am attracted to the traditional line with the slight curve and larger edge.
    http://www.helkonorthamerica.com/store/p1/Rheinland_Hatchet.html

    I am not sure if it is because I have had crappy straight edge axes/hatchets OR are the traditional lines better?

    Additional to the normal cutting wood thing, there are things like hooking the blade under tent stakes to pull them out, pounding in tent stakes, skinning, quartering large game, lopping off limbs of small game. To be honest, I have probably done more non-wood things with my hatchets/axes than wood things in my life.
     
  13. Morris

    Morris CLM

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    Which one?

    [​IMG]

    I own Gransfors, Hukts and several Helkos, along with the various US heads and axes. I like the Helko line, very good steel, US hickory handles. Helko is having a sale right now. My hobby is rebuilding axes as gifts for friends and family (as well as collecting).

    Based upon size, I'm thing a "Boy's Ax" or something with a ~2.5# head is what you are looking for.

    Several different options and considerations:

    1) Are you comfortable rehafting or hanging replacement handles? If not, a one piece like a Estwing (US made) would work well. Even comes with a sheath. Stout, very durable, good steel. Only consistent complaint in the full size axes is feeling the vibrations through the handle as it is a one piece design.

    2) Want US made only? Take a look at the Council Tool line: http://counciltool.com/DisplayCategories.asp?pg=displaycategories&category=11 . Good steel, can get from basic to their fancy Velvicut line.

    3) Hunt flea markets or garage sales and fine an old but good condition head. Get a good handle and rehaft it, sharpen it and build or find a sheath for it. You may gain more pleasure from that should you find the right head.

    The marbles line has been getting pretty good reviews.



    I found an older boys ax for $5 at a antique shop. Handle was chewed up but something said pick it up. After some cleaning, it looks like it was a handmade. So, $5 head on a new handle that was $10 at the local hardware store (actually found a handle that was clean, straight and correct grain orientation on the first run). My youngest took it to be her "girls ax."

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  14. PhotoFeller

    PhotoFeller A swamp dude

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    Well, Blue, I think Morris is your (our) go-to guy on questions about axe brand, size, heads, handles, cost and application. This is yet another case of the wealth of expertise available here at GT.

    I have to agree with Morris that bringing a neglected axe back to life is rewarding, and learning to sharpen them is fun. I haven't replaced handles, but tightening and refinishing them transforms an old tool into something worth saving.
     
  15. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    Morris, you are probably the person I want to talk with.

    Which "one" is the question. I would love to have the "one" and not a collection.

    I am leaning toward a lighter head and shorter handle because this will get packed around.
    With swords you have the one hand sword and the two hand sword, then you have the bastard sword which can be one or two handed. I am looking for a bastard axe. Small/light enough to be packed, used with one hand when the other hand is needed to hold stuff. Use two hands if I find myself

    1. I am aware of what is needed, but I have not needed to do it. Estwing's axe is not steel all the way through. It is fiberglass in the handle. So it is a no go.

    2. I don't care where it is made. I looked at CT and didn't see what I was looking for.

    3. I am not a garage sale guy. I have been to a few and found nothing worthwhile. If I had a wife/friend who went to them....maybe, but for me they are not fun and burn time for nothing. One of these days I will be in farm country again....then I will hit up the farm sales.

    Questions for you:
    Benefits of a convex bit, vs. flat?

    Limitation of a 1.25-1.5 head?
    Limitations of a 15-16 inch handle?
     
  16. Morris

    Morris CLM

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    Naa, I just have a grumpy spouse when she walks into to the shop to see what I have added . . . folks, it's just a hobby that is immensely interesting to me and keeps me sane from work stuff. But I do enjoying discussing axes, use, history, stampings, etc. I've also learned that there is no "one ax fits all." That's why there were different patterns, styles and head weights.

    While I was not a fan of the sales you mentioned because we'd just wander, I know who where to look, what to go to specifically and avoid all the beanie babies, doilies and ratty clothing. I have used garage sales as a means to get out of the patrol car, chat with folks and then ask, "have any tools you are getting rid of?" Craigslist has been a good resource over time, better than sales as of late (which get picked over quickly by the professionals). Some sellers sell for far more than they should, some have screaming deals (like the five different new Gransfors Bruks axes for $400, two alone sell for $150 and $200 each -insane) or the like new True Temper/Kelly Works stamped "Flint Edge" double bit Michigan style with original stamped handle for $10.

    On grinds, not a huge deal for me although just from sharpening and stoning, the edges go to a mostly convex profile naturally. The better thing to look at is how thick the "wedge" is, or the face (looking top down over the top of the blade). A lot of the new axes you see in the box stores are more wedge than actual wood cutting profile. An example (and Collins is a made in Mexico ax with US hickory handle):

    http://www.acehardware.com/product/...96&cp=2568443.2568444.2598674.2601430.1260175 - in the photo, you can see that wedge profile

    http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/1014568-Hatchet-sharpening-angle-degrees - A good image in that posting

    Both older US axes and some Swedish like designs have the thinner profile in the blade/cheek until you get towards the eye. This seems to help with bite rather than "mauling" or splitting wood. If I am splitting already cut wood, then I'll grab an ax that has a thicker blade profile or a maul (enjoying the Helko small Scandi I hafted from a sale head: http://www.helkonorthamerica.com/store/p75/Scandinavian_Compact_Splitting_Axe_Head.html ).

    Excellent post about profiles: http://wanderingaxeman.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-to-reprofile-axes-and-hatchets.html

    Sort of like knives. The filet knife is great for cutting flesh, fish, etc. Lousy for hard bush work like splitting sticks. Vice versa. That "bush" knife is great for making feather sticks but making thin cuts in meat, not so much.

    Limitations: the lighter the head, the less mass you have to sink into wood with. But as described for needs, should be just fine. The handle length is about right for packing and so on. As an example, the favored Gransfors small forest ax:

    http://www.amazon.com/Gransfors-Bruks-Small-Forest-Axe/dp/B000WIROX6

    I like axes that size in the 19-20 inch handle range just because of my height and preference. Nothing wrong with shorter other than less swing rotation. But again, a preference.

    Here are some other options to consider that are good values for close to the specifications you have:

    http://www.amazon.com/Husqvarna-Car...oor-recreation&ie=UTF8&qid=1445022080&sr=1-10
    http://www.amazon.com/Marbles-Outdo...oor-recreation&ie=UTF8&qid=1445022080&sr=1-13
    http://www.amazon.com/Wetterling-Ax...id=1445023294&sr=8-4&keywords=wetterlings+axe

    But I go back to keep looking around for a good boys ax head and then pick up a handle to haft it with. My favorite on-line handle seller is:

    https://www.househandle.com/
    https://www.househandle.com/products.html#scout
     
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  17. RWBlue

    RWBlue Mr. CISSP, CISA CLM

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    I sent a message to Helko...

    Thanks for reaching out to us. One isn't necessarily better than the other, however there are some key differences. The Rheinland is more expensive, but this is mostly due to the forging. The Traditional line has a forging process that is much more involved. This is our hand-forged line. That doesn't imply that it will outperform the Pathfinder though.
    The Classic Pathfinder is a great general use hatchet. For things like camping, it's a great choice. It can handle all the basic cutting and splitting you would need. The Rheinland, with its wider bit, will out perform the Pathfinder at cutting. However, the Pathfinder, because of its thicker head and profile, will outperform the Rheinland at splitting. If you plan on using the hatchet a great deal for say, splitting wood for campfires, than perhaps the Pathfinder would be a better choice. That doesn't say the Rheinland can't split; it can. But when you compare the two, it won't split as well as it's larger, heavier Classic Pathfinder. The longer handle will allow you slightly more power in your swings, but also add to size and weight.

    It depends on what you want out of the hatchet. If you have any other questions about them, just let me know and I'll be happy to answer.
    Kindest Regards,

    Spencer Holst
    Helko North America
    9215 Santa Fe Springs Road
    Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
    Tel: (562) 946-6668 | Fax: (562) 946-4000
     
  18. FireForged

    FireForged Millenium #3936 Millennium Member

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    Ok.. thats pretty darn manly
     
  19. Morris

    Morris CLM

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    Doesn't show the custom signs. :)

    Spencer is a good dude at Helko. I have a pathfinder hatchet that has been great to use.
     
  20. collim1

    collim1

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    In fairness Fiskars replaced the hatchet at no cost, but it did take 6-8 weeks before I got the replacement. My wife bought me the Gransfors while I was waiting on the replacement. I now use the Fiskars for working in the yard and save the GB for carving and work where I can take advantage of its hair shaving edge.

    Truth be told space is limited on most of my outings and packs and the Bahco saw makes the cut before any of my other tools.
     
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