Battle Axes and Boat Axes

A fun article on the history of the axe in Scandinavia. They still do a great job. The best axes I've ever owned are made by Gränsfors Bruk. They take an edge so sharp that you're liable to cut yourself by looking at it.

One I don't have but might like to own is the "Gränsfors Outdoor Axe," whose description I find amusing. "The Gränsfors Outdoor Axe was developed with the help of survival expert Lars Fält, and is ideal for those who want to use an axe in different ways when out and about in the countryside." Why yes, I can think of "different ways" I might use such an axe "while out and about in the countryside."


raven said...

I am a bit ambivilent on sharpness in an axe, unless one is using it for carpentry, as a broad axe, or log home builder.. Mostly, an axe is used for splitting, and a keen edge is not required. My father was big on sharp axes, but that was when they were used for cutting, for breaking out the notch when felling. BEC. (before era of chainsaws). He was a devotee of Snow and Nealy, the Bangor Maine manufacturers. Still made, but Chinese apparently. Anyway, I digress- what I am picky about in an axe is the handle- I prefer a long straight handle. Each to their own.
In my 20's, the forest around Forks WA was deep and primeval - we would cruise the groves woods looking for fallen cedar to salvage cut, trees that might be 8'-10' in diameter, still sound after 100 years of laying on the mossy forest floor. some of them were so large we had to cut sections out to continue cutting through, and we were using big old Mac's and Stihls with 4' bars. A light axe and a machete, a lunch and thermos and be gone all day on a road-less , trail-less ramble. Then we would buy the logs from the Forest Service, cut them up into rounds, break them with a froe into shake bolts and fly them out on a chopper with a long line to the nearest roadhead. There were a lot of fearless chopper pilots then, fresh out of the service. Sometimes we would fly with them to find the wood pile, it can be hard to spot stuff under a 200 foot canopy.
A great job for a young guy that likes the woods!

raven said...

Oh yes- the axe, and the machete, were necessary to cut through the 6"-12" thick layer of moss, rotted bark and sapwood on the fallen giants, to determine the species- they all look the same on the surface after years laying on the deck.

Grim said...

I am a bit ambivilent on sharpness in an axe, unless one is using it for carpentry, as a broad axe, or log home builder.

Yes, that's right. One of the axes I own from G.B. is in fact a broad axe designed for hewing beams; another is a carving axe. These are the ones that I occasionally find that I've left blood on without realizing I'd been cut.

ymarsakar said...

The handle and vibration dampening of an axe is most likely more important than the blade's keeness, if only because a keen blade can also chip more easily. A blunt blade can do the same job on a tree, it just takes longer, assuming that a person can chop with a sharp blade at the exact same place on the branch and tree. I find that it is pretty difficult myself. A blunt force vector instead caves in the material and burst impacts out. This area effect is more reliable.

Of course my experience mostly comes from using swords to split, axes were designed by humanity to do that job instead.

Grim said...

I stopped by the best axe store around here, and had a look at the Outdoor axe in person. It's a lot smaller than I thought it was -- more of a hatchet than an axe, and not even a large hatchet. I have an excellent hatchet already.

Their Hunter's Axe looked pretty solid, though.

Grim said...

Actually, what I really want is this one. But they haven't made them in a long time.