Gränsfors Bruk has handcrafted axes in Sweden for more than 100 years, and the business has withstood the test of time. Reviewer Anthony Sculimbrene used the brand’s Small Forestry Axe and Wildlife Hatchet for two years, here are his thoughts.
If you cut wood at all, at some point you have used an axe or a hatchet — maybe something from a local hardware store, maybe an outdoor store like Cabela’s. It might have had a wooden handle, but more likely it had a fiberglass handle or something made entirely of steel.
You could cut and split wood, but it was always something of a chore. You didn’t really like using it, but once or twice a year it did its job. If this is an accurate description of your axe, I can tell you now that it is not a Gränsfors Bruk axe.
Gränsfors Bruk Axe Review
There are axes, and then there are Gränsfors Bruk axes. Using one is to know the joy of efficient manual labor. There are even more lux axes out there, some with silly painted handles and some with polished heads, but in the end, those axes are more outdoor accessories for hipsters than serious cutting tools.
The Gränsfors Bruk axe is a serious tool, unadorned and raw. And it really works.
In the two years I’ve owned it, it has made cutting and processing wood for my fireplaces (one inside and one out) great fun. The axe has also come along on a few hikes to help start fires out in the woods.
There are a few key pieces to the success of the Wildlife Hatchet. First, the handle is very comfortable and contains only straight and clear (i.e., knot-free) hickory.
Second, the handle is hung with great skill, and despite a lot of use remains absolutely rock solid.
Third, the head is shaped and weighted correctly, with a thick convex edge that provides plenty of splitting and “popping” power for such a small tool. Finally, the actual cutting edge is polished, giving you clean cuts and very little resistance.
Over the years, I ran the hatchet against some serious competition — big choppers and larger (but lesser) true axes — the Gränsfors Bruk always came out on top. I even felled a tree thicker than my thigh, which you should probably never do, just to see how the hatchet would perform. It did not let me down.
If you are looking for a straight-up beautiful axe, then get a painted-handled one. If you are looking for a great tool, get the Gränsfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet.
Gränsfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet
- Price: $125
- Steel: Proprietary steel developed in conjunction with Ovako
- Handle: Clear hickory
- Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Length: 13.5 inches