Selecting an axe (picture heavy)

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Selous

Guest
Excellent. I'm not ashamed to say, all that was new to me. But now I know... a lot more than I knew before. Thanks
 
Dec 27, 2006
6
0
71
Mountain City,TN - USA
are you useing it to hike into a camp area or for your home? and how often/much wood do you want/need?

i live on top a mountain deep in the woods of tenn on 8 acres i own..i can forge a axe but i have not..a axe is handy but can be very deadly to your body..i much prefere a stihl chain saw ..grant you they can be deadly too..useing a axe is alot of hard work and a axe can glance off and hit you or someone very easy..i am not fond of double axes as i prefere a axe with a flat spot behind the head should i need to bang on it to get it out....i use a heavy wood splitting maul and have handy 2 or 3 steel wedgie and a 3lb hammer to bang them in when needed.

one should wear steel toe boots also.

i have cut many many cords of wood in my life,,mybe 100+ ...i live in north america largest hardwood forrest..pine here is a trash tree..lumber companys will not cut them unless you bring the tree/log to there mill...its got way to much cresote and a good way to burn your home down..my goal for 2007 is cut down/kill ever pine tree on my mtn top...ill use the wood for summer outdoor fire ring to burn to keep the few sketters away rather than let it rot...

i only cut down a tree if its a deadly leaning tree or its dieased....i replant seedlings when they are on my many paths when i can...i try to find where there lumbering off the wood so i can get the limbs and such they discard so not to waste wood
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,810
742
Mercia
Chele,

If those tools work for you and what you want them to do, thats great. No need to use an axe if you don't need one. I use a varitey of axes for a variety of needs. Take the top axe (a Scaninavian forest axe). Its designed for limbing. I can limb off a small tree much quicker with an axe than I can with a saw. You stand on the opposite side of the trunk to the limbs you need to remove and each limb up to 2" or so is removed with a single chop. The longer than normal haleve (26") lends itself to one handed cuts at a distance. However I can also take it (when bushcrafting) and split wet wood to get at dry, fabricate shelters etc. It hangs happily in my ice axe straps. My Husqy chainsaws weight quite a bit more. Now I use a maul and wedges to split "rounds" at home but often use a 3lb axe to divide the larger pieces as its a lot easier than my 8lb maul. My pocket axe comes out for walks with me and is great for shaving fuzzies and splitting limbs to get a fire started for a brew.

Its a question of the "right tool for the job" and enjoying what I do. Working with your body and skill rather than a petrol engine is enjoyable sometimes don't you find? Anyway, as I said - if a maul and chainsaw suit your purpose thats great - both are a bit heavy for bushcrafting though ;)

Red
 

cyclist

Need to contact Admin...
Sep 9, 2006
194
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65
holstein
OldJimbo said:
The Iltis faller which is $84 at Lee Valley would be a decent choice, since it has a thin blade. The trouble is that the wider oxhead blade doesn't bite as deep as a narrower one. You'd also need to see a bunch to select as quality control is all over the place from good to terrible.
The classic tool for clearing small trees like that is a 10/11" double of about 3.3 lb head - lots of those in decent shape on ebay.

in my collection I have both the Ochsenkopf (sold in Canada/US under the tradename Oxhead) and the Iltis (made by Ochsenkopf). Both are used for decades none showed problems with Quality. It probably depends on what quality grade the store orders from the factory.
I wouldn´t get one from a department store - I´ll for sure buy at a forrestry supply store. The next one is in walking distance about half a mile down the road (they´ll better don´t sell me stuff with quality problems I´ll be there in minutes - up to now I´ve never had any reason for complaints :D ).
Among various Oxhead axes there are different sizes of Iltis axes available: the Europe and the Canada types, both in 2 weight classes
www.habero.de/e/habero/index.html >Products >>Product Overview - scroll down ...

And of course I´ll take my Husky .....
 
Both are used for decades none showed problems with Quality.
I can say exactly the same for my old axes and I have more than most people. The fact is though that people buying old Iltis axes on ebay, for more than a new one, might just know something. A brand new Iltis head I bought had a misaligned eye and poor grind... Just so it's clear that I'm not just picking on Iltis: I looked over dozens of Hults axes and couldn't find one good one. the defects weren't minor..
 

cyclist

Need to contact Admin...
Sep 9, 2006
194
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65
holstein
OldJimbo said:
A brand new Iltis head I bought had a misaligned eye and poor grind... Just so it's clear that I'm not just picking on Iltis: I looked over dozens of Hults axes and couldn't find one good one. the defects weren't minor..

probably because those axe manufacturers are now part of big companies?
Those companies sell large quantities to department stores and here we get the No. 1 rule of todays business: big competion -low price.
Competing with low cost producers it´s clear where it´ll end.
I wonder what Dr. Reissinger would think about that.

In the old days tools were sold to and used by people who had to trust in the quality. Just imagine a junk axe in the middle of nowhere, the next long & cold winter comes for sure and it´s impossible to get the firewood in time

Today with Huskies, Stihl etc. people probably think they don´t need axes ....

Gränsfors is a small company and if they have a quality problem they´re gone pretty soon. Which IMHO will never happen to be.
Remember you don´t get Gränsfors at every department store for just a few bucks and remember Gränsfors gives you a 20yr. warranty - there´s a reason for that.

BTW, have you ever tested a "Biber"?
 
I haven't had chance to try a Biber axe. Gradually I'm going through the axe heads which I do have and fixing them up so that I can see what they are capable of - and that will take years!
It was more than thirty years ago when axes and bowsaws were still primary tools here, and after that the smaller chainsaws became reliable and cheap enough to use for firewood. The twenty dollar axe of that time should now sell for $120 with inflation - but instead sells for forty dollars - so it's no wonder that quality has suffered.
My love of axes comes from the fact that they always work. This week the alternator went in my truck and I just got it home on battery. Then my big truck became an ornament until I got a new alternator in. We forget that hi-tech is fragile - but best to have some way of staying warm if stuck out in the bush somewhere.
 

cyclist

Need to contact Admin...
Sep 9, 2006
194
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holstein
OldJimbo said:
My love of axes comes from the fact that they always work. This week the alternator went in my truck and I just got it home on battery. Then my big truck became an ornament until I got a new alternator in. We forget that hi-tech is fragile - but best to have some way of staying warm if stuck out in the bush somewhere.

That´s why I use one of the axes my Grandfather bought and why I use a bicycle with Bob trailer and a Trangia stove and a Kelly Kettle ..... :)

And of course my axes are connected to hickory handles - I don´t even want to think what a 10 warranty on one of those hypermodern superdesign plastic handle antistick coated axes is for if it fails somewhere in the wild with the next computer operated service a couple of hundred miles away.
In the worst case a real axe handle could be replaced with a "piece of wood". Well, it takes a bit of practice ...

Again thank you very much for sharing your axe-know-how - it helped me a lot albeit I´ve used axes for some time. One never stops learning.
 

Warrigal

New Member
Nov 11, 2006
48
0
53
Brisbane Australia
Good article Red Well written clear and obviously a lot of work. Thank you.
Good axes take a bit of chasing here in Oz. Fiskars are probably the best that are commonly available. The block splitter works extremly well, my only problem is that on the rare occasion it gets stuck in the log I'm spltting. I hit it with a four pound sledge and the poll on my Fiskars is peening the face of my sledge.
Fiskars are light I find them a pleasure to use. I don't do much felling but a hell of a lot of splitting. I have also done a bit of limbing with trees dropped by our Summer storms.
Fiskarsfamily.jpg

I went into the local mower shop chasing a spare part and noticed forged axes on the wall a little investigation showed the hafts and sheaths were branded Husqvanna But the heads were stamped Wettling and probably a third of the price of GB here. I have a the small one (pictured below) and a limbing. Both needed a lot of work to bring the edges down to what I wanted ( the limber is still only half finished)
swedishaxe001.jpg

Carl
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,810
742
Mercia
Carl,

Wteerlings are well made axes. As you have observed the beves are not well finsihed but anyome competent can remedy that probem fairly quickly. There is a tutoria I wrote around here somewhere on axe sharpening that shows al the steps I used to bring a Wetterlings up to tissue paper slicing

Red
 

Warrigal

New Member
Nov 11, 2006
48
0
53
Brisbane Australia
Red I locked the axe in a vice so the blade was facing me and horizontal. I used some hard plastic as a buffer/slide and started with a corse file and have brought it back with one end flat over the eye ( resting on the thin plastic) and just kept working till the grind finally met the edge Sliding over the eye so material isn't being removed from that end. Turn it over and start again. then a coarse stone, coarse wet and dry and finally I have a super fine razor stone to polish it. Not 100% there yet I just don't get to spend as much time to do it in one session.
My knife sharpening standed is to take a fillet out of a piece of photocopy paper.
papercut003-1.jpg

Carl
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,810
742
Mercia
Well, it sounds sharp enugh carl :) - how did you preserve the convex shape sharpening that way? I'm guessing by rolling your hands?

Red
 

Warrigal

New Member
Nov 11, 2006
48
0
53
Brisbane Australia
Ok. in more detail the corse file was down to the last few mm before we got to the edge Your right had I continued the way I would of ended up with a flat ground edge. So as we go to that last bit I put a half inch block under the finer file at the eye end to upped the angle again that would have given me a flat grind witha secondry bevel. then with the corse stone was free hand to take the bevel out. the wet and dry was on a rubber block ( just that little bit of give) smothing the angles into a curve. Although the razor stone is hard and flat it removes so little material I'm not gunna change the profile with it so it doesn't matter.
 

fishy1

Banned
Nov 29, 2007
792
0
sneck
I reckon the scandinavian forest axe is a really excellent tool for bushcraft, not too heavy, narrow and light.

You can cut down bigger trees with it, not as quick as a felling axe, but certainly not slow. I cut down 2 hardwood trees about 15" in diametre a couple of days ago and found it pretty easy going. Didn't take very long either. Good practice for bushcraft.
 

philaw

Settler
Nov 27, 2004
571
45
40
Hull, East Yorkshire, UK.
I just bought my first axe! Where's the smilie for victory dance? This'll do:

:D

I remember you guys saying that Morris of Devon make good billhooks. Were their axes any good whenever this old thing was likely to have been made? If not, I blame all of you for me buying it! Now all I need in sandpaper, linseed oil, and the ability to sharpen an axe. Easy.

6d9e_11.jpg


http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI....om=R40&_trksid=m37&satitle=200220797512&fvi=1
 

fishy1

Banned
Nov 29, 2007
792
0
sneck
If a fibreglass axe handle breaks, can it be replaced or do you need a new axe?

Can it easily be removed from the eye, so a replacement wooden handle could easily be installed in the bush?

What's always worried me about them is the handles feel so light, I know they are stronger than wood though.
 

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