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Gransfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet

photo: Gransfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet axe/hatchet

An excellent general purpose hatchet capable of felling a small tree.

Pros

  • Size
  • Steel quality
  • Performance

Cons

  • The head is become slightly loose over time

I thought long and hard about which axe to purchase but eventually settled on the Wildlife Hatchet, by Gransfors Bruk. I wanted an axe large enough to handle a range of jobs reasonably well but small enough to fit easily in my Savotta Saddle Sack. Weight was also a consideration, but as far as I can tell the axe heads do not vary as much as the length of the handles do. So far, I have been really impressed with it.

Not all axes are the same—even if they look the same. Gransfors axes are hand forged in Sweden and each axe head bears the initials of its forger who journeys with the axe through the whole production process. Superior steel and an American hickory handle mean this is an axe built to last and hold an edge better than cheaper axes available. Not forgetting, Gransfors supply a "book" with the axe explaining the uses and care of the axe. They consider this integral to the purchase. It comes with a simple leather sheath. 

I have put the axe through its paces on trips to woodlands in the South of England and it is a joy to use. It easily splits wood for kindling and lops branches off fallen trees among other general woodland tasks. I have used it to fell a tree 10" in diameter yet managed to carve a spoon with it. I've even used it to cut meat and vegetables for food preparation. There are other axes in the range and generally speaking the longer the axe the safer it is (a longer swing means you are less likely to hit vital areas if you miss!) but they are heavier and will not fit in my pack so this is a compromise worth accepting. When not in use it stays in a simple axe sheath which can be hung from a belt for easy access. 

The only thing to let the axe down is that over time the axe head has become ever so slightly loose. This is  a worry because it has the potential to come flying off and no one wants an axe head flying through the air looking for things to embed itself in. 

Despite the head coming loose I am pleased with my purchase as it will get plenty of use for many years to come and then I can give it to one of my children. Yes, other axes will do the jobs better than this one, but this suits my needs as it does all of them well enough. 

Experience

I have used this axe in the woodland I have access to in the South of England. It is used for general purpose tasks for Forest School and bush crafting.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £99

Compact, sharp and powerful. Something anyone experienced with sharp tools or foresting should own.

Pros

  • Easy to maintain and carry
  • Razor sharp and well balanced

Cons

  • Everyone who has the small forest axe takes the mick out of you
  • Difficult to use with two hands
  • A little dangerous to use

I was given this as a present for Christmas. I have used it thoroughly all over the world since. It has taken down trees, albeit slowly, the thickness of my torso and It has gone through saplings in a single blow. It is beautifully easy to maintain and razor sharp.

After three years I can still shave with mine. It easily tucks into my belt and keeps itself out of the way. The slightly larger small forest axe has no significant difference in performance or speed. The only difference is I'm carrying 6 inches less wood.

The only significant disadvantage is that the shortness of the handle adds an element of danger when chopping. I found this to my detriment when the blade bounced and buried itself in my knee.

Source: received it as a personal gift

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Specs

Price Historic Range: $89.99-$124.95
Weight 0.6 kg / 1.3 lb
Length with handle 34 cm / 13.5 in
Product Details from Gransfors Bruk »

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