Posts tagged #husqvarna axe

Some Slightly Ranty Advice on Expensive Boutique Axes

My main points in this video.  Expensive axes do not carry super powers and will not be greatly more effective than an inexpensive axe of reasonable quality.  Quality can matter up to a point, but an axe which does not have the best edge retention or strength is often suitable enough.  Beginners should not be seduced into buying expensive axes.  It is better to start with an inexpensive axe and beat it up, break some handles and generally learn one's way around them.  That kind of use and experience can build experience for making a larger purchase as some point.  One might find that after using some inexpensive axes and vintage axes, that they don't really want to buy any, and may be perfectly happy with vintage heads.  A lot of axe purchases are for collecting's sake alone, or maybe retail therapy or over accessorizing.  The problem is that beginners often won't know what is and isn't important and can be easily up-sold to higher cost axes on selling points that are probably not going to matter that much to them if they are even true in the first place.  Expensive axes are worth a lot and will be devalued by the clumsy use they will often see in amateur hands.  Don't learn to drive in an expensive sports car.

Bottom line, get a cheap axe and use it a lot.  Mess it up, play with modifying it, break handles, learn to sharpen, then see if you want to spend money on fancy axes.  Best case scenario, get a cheap or free axe with a handle.  Next best, get a cheap or free used head and make or buy a handle.  Third best, buy a budget line axe, like the council boys axe and hope that you get a good handle and head.

Of Sharp Tools and Dummy Rules, A Safety Framework and 1/2 Hour Video Just Talking About an Axe Handle

Here is something I recorded regarding safety when using sharp tools.  I hope it conveys my basic approach and philosophy regarding the subject.  I'm much more about a general approach and philosophy adopted as a framework in which to approach work than I am about sets of rules.  Most rules that are stated as absolutes need all kinds of qualification that they don't always get.  Not only is that ineffective when engaging in real world work, it can be dangerous.  What I like to call dummy or boy scout rules are generally stated in absolutes like never and always.  That discourages intelligent engagement with the work at hand and defers your safety to an authoritative statement or entity.  The idea seems to be that if you just do this one thing, you will be safe.  If you're doing real work in the real world, you'll find that most of those rules will be broken, and some frequently, in order to carry out work at all or to do work more practically or more efficiently.  It would be more constructive to state these as guidelines and be realistic about the risks involved and strategies one can employ to ameliorate risk when doing things that are dangerous, or when using sharp tools in the grey area that exist between the very safest ways to do things and the most effective.  The usual black and white approach can lead, I believe, to unsafe work approaches when trying to bend your self and your work to static and overstated rules which experienced craftsmen and workers may not actually follow.  In the future I'll get more specific on knife and axe safety, but this is actually some of the more important part to me.  

Also, I forgot to post this video on the husqvarna axe handle.  It covers various points regarding the handle and planned modifications and as a matter of course addresses some stuff about axe handles in general.

Starting the Husqvarna Forest Axe Project, Intro and Testing the Stock Axe

This is the beginning of a look at the Husqvarna 26” Multipurpose Forest Axe.  After seeing my unflattering review of their hatchet you might expect me to be frothing at the mouth about this one, but I actually think it has potential or I wouldn't have bought it.  The video is a short intro with a lot of chopping.  I kept falling asleep while trying to edit it because the repetitive chopping is somehow very soothing.  This is a class of axe that is light enough to pack, but as the name implies is good for a lot of different stuff.  I like this class of axe for running around the woods here or doing a little limbing.  The Gransfors Bruks Forest Axe is the most famous example, which I own.  Having put that axe through a lot of firewood last year just to see what can really reasonably be done with it, I can say that these light short axes can do some real work!  They are probably not the best at anything.  It’s compromises all around.  I would not really recommend this as a firewood axe to most people.  it is too light and it would be better if it were longer..  However, if someone interested in a packable axe and improving their skill at using one, I think it would be an excellent exercise to get one of these and cut a quantity of firewood with it.  It is also probably an easy axe to learn to chop on.  Although a somewhat longer handle could be safer, the shorter handle should be more accurate.

I’ve had the gransfors for a very long time and thanks to the outstanding quality of the handle wood and my hard won skill at not breaking axe handles all the time, it has survived the years and seen a lot of use.  I like the design, but it’s a tad short at 25 inches, which is my short limit for a truly effective and comfortable axe at my height (5’ 10”).  The workmanship on the head is terrible though.  The bit is extremely crooked.  So if the Husqvarna works out, which I think it will, the Gransfors will go on the auction block.  I’m not interested in these things hanging about gathering dust.

Coming up in this project, we’ll talk about the axe, buying it and what I do and don’t like and then start modifying it.  Some stuff I know what I want and other stuff will be experimental.  during and after, we’ll test it at various uses to see how it performs.


Posted on October 22, 2016 and filed under axes, firewood, Forestry, tools.