Showing posts with label axe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label axe. Show all posts

Monday, 8 December 2008

Wildlife At Birthday Party

Still feeling pretty rough after the celebrations, so I was pleased to be able to recycle this post out of one I started a while back.

I only own one hand axe, and frankly can’t see myself needing another one, but if I did get another I’d be sorely temped by the output of Gransfors Bruks.
In a world where ‘not my job’ is the cry and ‘arse covering’ the modus operandi, it’s great to hear that a company gives its people the authority to work on a piece until they are happy to put their name to it. Literally. Each axe bears the initials of the person who made it, one person. A person who actually gave a monkeys, worked on it to their satisfaction, before putting their name on it and sending it out of the factory gate.

Look on any bushcraft site and there'll be pictures of them, look on any bushcraft forum and there'll be people (OK it's mainly guys) waxing lyrical about how much they love them and the things they've made using nothing but. Other brands have spent fortunes trying to get this level of authority in their marketplace. For once 'simple things done well' have won the day. How could we make more of life like that?

So I was totally effing delighted when R&E bought me a Wildlife Hatchet for my birthday!

Here at the time of Un-Boxing are a few observations.
1. They come WAY SHARP, actually a fair bit sharper than some knives
2. They do have magic powers - there's 'just' something about them
3. The shaft-to-head fit aint perfect, but looks adequate to last the first five or ten years.
4. There's a more in depth review here
5. Mine was made by MM
6. Pablo has the next sizes up and down in his 'family' of tools
7. The Backyard Bushman has a great review here
8. The sheath is more of a guard - but making one with a belt loop will be fun

Now I will have to succumb to Kit Tarts Rule 2
"For every 'must have' piece of kit there is a 'must have accessory' to accompany it"
And buy myself a special stone to sharpen it..

The only 'pimping' I can see being necessary will be dyeing the shaft 'ah that's where it is orange'.

Thanks for reading

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Wood That I Could

I cant remember where I saw this, but I liked it and thought you might too.

Beechwood fires are bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year.
Chestnut's only good, they say
If for long it's laid away.
But Ash wood new or Ash wood old
Is fit for a queen with a crown of gold.

Birch and Fir logs burn too fast,
Blaze up bright and do not last.
It is by the Irish said.
That Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread
Elm wood burns like churchyard mold;
Even the very flames are cold.
But Ash wood green or Ash wood brown,
Is fit for a queen with a golden crown.

Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke.
Applewood will scent your room
With an incense-like perfume.
Oak and Maple, if dry and old,
Keep away the winter cold.
But Ash wood wet and Ash wood dry,
A king shall warm his slippers by.
- Anonymous

Go on! Light one, you know you want to!!

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Axe Review And A Tale Of Price Fixing.

Fiskars Gardening Axe – also sold as - Wilkinsonsword Garden Axe and for about double the price as the Gerber Camp Axe.
“A Finnish forged steel blade wrapped by a ‘virtually’ indestructible Polymid Fiberglass hollow handle.”
As given to me, (almost new and never having felt a stone) it was sharp enough to trim fingernails, if not shave hairs off my arm.

I was given this axe while dump camping in South Dakota last summer and as the camps only hand axe (we had a maul for the bigger splits) it performed well. Everyone in the camp used it, from the highly proficient, via the almost proficient (me) to the down right incompetent (see photo). Even after the abuse it suffered it was only ever a few coarse wet stone strokes away from handsomely sharp.
It has a flat grind with a secondary bevel making it easier to sharpen in the field than the grind found on the more traditional designs. The edge is good but nicks easily so this is a very good feature.

Starting at the business end; the head is treated to a non-slip coating – looks nice, possibly adds (very slightly) to cleaving efficiency (I can’t say I’d ever felt the need for a non-slip head before), although if a covering isn’t your thing - it certainly wears off quickly!

The plastic (Nyglass®) shaft joins the head to the shaft by the wrap around method, all well and good unless you need to use it for splitting into anything deeper than fist with timber. Some people did feel the need, with predictable consequences (see photo). The plastic shaft does have the benefit of absorbing shocks. I used it to trim Fir trees, cut firewood, and make bowls for hours on end and not being ring fit, found it easy to use and kind to sore/weedy elbows,

As you can see in the photo the “virtually indestructible” shaft is also susceptible to chipping if the head is sunk deep enough into a piece of wood. When (rather than if) it fails I’m planning to drill out the head and give it a wooden shaft. I’ll post an update on how easy this proves to be.
The unique feature, which I found most useful in a ‘camp’ axe, was the last third of the shaft being painted blaze orange, it meant I could rescue it from the woodpile!

Handle length 14 inches.
Blade length 3 inches
Weight 11/2 lbs aprox.

UK As Fiskers gardening axe £20
UK As Gerber pack axe (without orange paint) £33.00 reduced from £44.99
In the USA I’ve seen it for sale at around $30 (£15)

Would I buy one with my hard earned cash?
Yes but only at the Fiskars / Wilkinsonsword price. See future posts for my feelings about Gerber.....Hmmmmm