For a small tool, the Hults Bruk Almike hatchet packs a serious punch, cutting branches quickly and making short work of kindling chores.
Take a Hults Bruk hatchet out of the sheath for the first time, and you best be careful not to cut yourself — that bad boy is going to be sharper than most people’s kitchen knives, like shaving-level sharp.
Check out this shot of us slicing office paper with a nearly new hatchet:
That razor sharpness doesn’t immediately go away with the first chop of a log either.
We put this average-size hatchet to a test over two days of “man camp” in northern Minnesota, hacking through dozens of logs of oak, birch, and pine.
Hults Bruk Almike Hatchet
The Almike ($150) has a 16-inch American hickory handle and a 1-pound head. It is hand-forged by blacksmiths at the Hults Bruk factory in Sweden and expertly hardened and tempered to hold an edge a very long time, even after re-sharpening.
Hults Bruk has been hand-making axes and hatchets in Sweden since 1697. How does a company stay in business for 318 years? By making one heck of a fine axe, that’s how.
Fast Limbing, Effective Splitting
For a fairly small tool, this hatchet is extremely effective. We regularly cut through calf-thick branches in 8-10 chops.
The handle sits perfectly in the hand and makes no hot spots even when swinging away for many wood chopping sessions during a long weekend.
Cutting is easy and takes little force. The blade is very sharp and, with the seemingly ideal 1-pound head’s momentum, each chop penetrated at least 2-3 inches when angled into wood.
The hatchet is too small for serious wood splitting, but it works well to break down small branches into kindling.
At 16 inches long and weighing under two pounds total, this is a packable hatchet that will be ready when needed.
It comes with a nice leather sheath. You’ll want to use this, or risk cutting up your gear and yourself. Dang, this thing ships sharp!
For hunters who like using a hatchet for major bone-shearing tasks, the razor-sharp blade should easily do the trick, although we haven’t tested it for that purpose.
For others looking for an easy way to take down small trees or break up firewood, the hatchet is a major upgrade over mass-produced models we’ve used in the past.
At $150, this is a pricy hatchet that is made by hand. Yes, you can get a completely functional hatchet for a lot less money.
But there is something intangible about the handmade nature of this hatchet. Each one is a little unique. You can see faint markings from hammer blows and the cutting edge has obviously been ground by hand.
It’s beautiful as a piece of functional craftsmanship that could last generations.
If you need a hard-working hatchet that you will want to care for (and give to your kids one day), the Hults Bruk Almike is worth considering. We plan to be swinging it for years to come.