It started 5 years ago – my experience with Gransfors Bruks hatchets & Axes. I’ve had a couple of them but the one to stay for sure is the Mini Hatchet! Yes… the Mighty Mini!
So in 2009 I decided to pull the trigger and bought my first Gransfors Bruks axe – the Mini Hatchet. Why this model as the first one? Well, I’ve already had the mid-size Roselli hatchet, so I thought that something smaller would be good choice. So let’s just check what we can do with Mini Hatchet. First of all I must say that the Mini is the first *really* portable and FULLY usable miniature axe I’ve played with. It’s certainly not a toy! As you can see below I was able to carry it attached to my small 16L backpack with MOLLE system via lether sheath and small piece of paracord. Paracord just positions/fixes the handle – no need to tie/untie it, it’s just snug-fit double loop. That way I can carry it everywhere with me on any backpack and it’s easy to access without the need of opening the pack.
Size… as I said it was small, very small. About 27cm long (11″) and quite lightweight (300g). Here it is compared to popular G-Shock Mudman and Atwood pry-minitool. That’s of course one-hand axe. Thanks to the handle ergonomy I can work with it all-day long without any problem. The grip is very safe and it’s perfectly balanced. But that’s also thanks to the overall small size, of course.
The edge and profile of the head is thinner than in most of axes, but it’s a specific feature, which makes it special. When you swing it, it just ‘slices’ deeply into the wood! It’s not what you get with your usual axe. The weight is concentrated just behind the cutting edge, and that combined with RAZOR SHARPNESS makes each & every hit amazingly effective! Just take a look at that branch below – it took me just seconds to went through it! Also consider that it was made without any support under the limb, it was hanging free above the ground. Great performance for the size.
And now check this – after some cutting & chopping I used my Mini Hatchet to prepare feather sticks, just to check the edge – as expected – no problem at all, the edge was still scary sharp and ready for the job. I always carry my knife with me anyway, but it was a good way to check the sharpness and overall quality of the working edge.
And final check – splitting wood. Well, is it possible at all to split hardwood with such a small hatchet? Sure it is! I used it to split some seasoned hardwood quite effectively, it took by average 2-3 hits per piece, sometimes even one (but strong). Overall perfectly possible job, but requires some accuracy and expirience in working with an axe. You need to be careful, as your hand (knuckles) is close to the log you split. Also be accurate, otherwise it’s easy to ruin belly of the haft. So I’d not recommend it for a beginner to use as a splitter. Again – be carefull. My Roselli is surely more effective splitter, but is also twice as long and 3 times (or more) as heavy. For a short trip I’d take just mini. But for a longer stay or bigger camp you need (or rather you’d prefer) something bigger.
Overall score? For me G.B. Mini Hatchet is simply perfect ‘always carry with me’ hatchet. When you want to travel light, that’s a great choice! As a backup – also. However, you need to be aware about it’s disadvantages, it’s not an axe for heavy duty jobs. But for small camp jobs like building improvised shelter, preparing firewood, sharpening sticks etc. it’s surely good enough for a bit experienced person – been there, done that. Some say it’s good also for cutting, but I still prefer knife for that. And since I always carry a knife (or two) with me in the wilderness I’d use it for cutting anyway, not the axe. Want a good ‘carry hatchet’ for a short trip? For a weekend bushcraft fun? Get Mini Hatchet and you won’t be disappointed! And below just couple of additional pics taken during my 2009 trip to the wild Beskid Niski Mountains, South of Poland. I used my Gransfors A LOT during that time. For anything – preparing firewood, some cutting, initial carving of my Kuksa, etc.
And some pics taken in 2010, another Summer trip to the Mountains with my family and friends. My daughter was 5 at that time… oh man, time runs so fast.
And finally 2014 – my Mini still with me and still going strong! And yeah, my 2.5 yo son really likes my toys. The Mini will belong to him one day anyway 😀