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Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe

rated 4.0 of 5 stars
photo: Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe axe/hatchet

The Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe is a great addition to my light car camp and canoe camp kits.


  • Fine handmade workmanship
  • Keen edge as purchased
  • Great intermediate weight axe
  • Handy for wood processing and rough carving
  • Splendid fine grained hickory handle


  • Can be hard to find
  • Some may find the price an objection

I had admired the Bruk axes for some time and always thought I would like to have one. They have a very good reputation and are a thing of beauty to look at.

I finally settled on the Small Forest Axe as my choice for style and size. It fits between other axes I already own, a 1.5lb hand axe and a 2.75lb "boys axe". I was looking for an axe I could process arm sized wood with as well as for roughing out shapes for carving spoons and such. It has done exactly what I wanted and hoped it would do.

I looked online and because of limited supply the prices were twice or more of the suggested list price. OUCH! I knew that our local canoe shop was a distributor of Bruks axes and that their annual spring show and sale was coming up so I waited patiently for the event.

In past years the U.S. importer had a booth set up and the program for the show indicated they would in 2016 as well. The show opened at 4 p.m. on a Friday night and I made sure the first stop I made was to the Bruks booth.

When I got there the had a nice selection of axes including a handful of the Small Forest Axe. I made my selection from that small group and couldn't be happier with my selection and feel lucky to have one of Bruk's handcrafted axes (with the initials of the craftsman that made the axe, AS).

A few specifications for the Small Forest Axe.

  • Head height = 2lb
  • Handle length = 19in
  • Handle material = hickory, includes leather sheath with snap strap

I used the axe for the first time in a small woods behind our home for cutting down a dead small 4-5" diameter black locust tree. These trees were originally planted in our area for use as fence posts and are noted for their tough nature. The axe cut into it really well removing nice chips that made quick work of the small tree.

Next I sampled the axe as a pruner to remove small branches from a cherry tree in our yard. Again the sharp edge, hand weight, and length were perfect for the job. Later I tried splitting some 10" long chunks of elm. The axe did surprisingly well splitting even a somewhat twisted grained sample. It put a smile on my face to use this fine tool.

In camp it has made a dandy tool for limbing wood so that the trunk can be easily move or sawed up. It has also been a nice tool for splitting pieces of wood that are too large to baton split with my knife. And it has met my need for a tool to rough shape wood for carving.

All in all I would highly recommend the Bruk axe in particular and would guess that their other offerings are just as good tools.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $110 (after show discount)

Not for any serious work at all.


  • It looks cool


  • It performs terribly
  • Can't believe the outrageous price
  • Poor warranty
  • Poor head geometry
  • Steel over hardened, the blade chipped quite frequently

I stumbled across another glowing review of this axe and I figured someone should know the truth. You're paying for a fancy piece of equipment that's not built for hard or real work.

This was the absolute worst camping axe my family ever owned. I had one gifted to me many years ago when these were much less expensive. Now they go for around 250 bucks on amazon which I find amazing.  This Gucci axe was sharp and cool looking, but then we actually tried to use it as an axe lol. The axe-like object is really quite comical in the woods. I know it's not made for clearing the Pacific Northwest, but this was absolutely worthless on any and all hardwoods.

My wife and kids used to laugh at how inefficient the axe actually was while I tried using it. It's since become the joke of family camping trips for the past 11 years. I literally gave up trying to cut down wrist-sized trees with this thing and chopped them down with my SP10 bowie or ESEE Junglas countless times. Needless to say this went the way of Ebay.

I'm not trying to offend people, but I think all the positive reviews of this tool are from people who haven't worked with a lot of different tools, are in total love with bushcraft culture, or are folks that simply enjoy the vision of some guy forging this thing in Sweden.  Any and all American-built axes will destroy this in the woods. It simply baffles me people pay this kind of money for these designer axes.

After a side-by-side comparison, my 1930's Plumb boy scout hatchet put this to shame and so did the standard council boys axe I bought for my older kids.  Both of those go for 20-40 bucks all day long.

For what it's worth, my vintage '80s Estwing hatchet kicked this axe's butt once I put an edge on it too. If you want a small camp axe like this, do yourself a favor and buy the Estwing camp axe or a Council boys axe to start out with.  You will learn a lot more about what type of axe you like to use at a fraction of the cost.  


Overpriced and overhyped. It's a designer axe for a niche bushcraft market, but it just doesn't have the ability to perform real world work in an efficient manner. Using this axe camping was an exercise in futility.

Source: received it as a personal gift

Great size for day hikes and fits nicely in your pack!


  • Very well made
  • Feels solid
  • The initials of the actual smith who made YOUR axe are forged in each one!
  • (Martin Forslund made mine)


  • Availability can be spotty
  • Premium price attached to brand

Coming in as a cross between a piece of art and a piece of gear, this artisanal heirloom will surely be passed down to my children and their children’s children. It is a beautiful tool that has been an essential part of our loadout as of late.

Sized between a hatchet and a “real” axe, the SFA provides a packable happy medium for anyone looking to do some work while afield.

Bushcraft has become more and more of a buzzword in the past few years. The Small Forest Axe is perfect for chopping, limbing, and processing wood around any camp or campfire.

I have been very happy and look forward to many years of enjoyment and use.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $155

A small axe for the outdoors.


  • Lightweight
  • Well made
  • Perfect size


  • Expensive

At around 32 ounces and 19 inches long, this is a great small axe for hiking and the outdoors. It is a handmade Swedish axe that has seen some serious use in the two years I've owned it, and it still looks brand new. It came shaving sharp and is a treat to use and admire. It's the kind of tool you pass down to your children.

It comes with an exqusite leather sheath and a book on how to use an axe called The Axe Book.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $100

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Price Current Retail: $210.00-$226.78
Historic Range: $134.95-$226.78
Reviewers Paid: $100.00-$155.00
Length with handle 50 cm
Weight 1 kg / 2 lb
Sheath vegetable-tanned leather
Product Details from Gransfors Bruk »

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