The hatchet is an essential tool on anyone’s outdoor gear list. I’ve written recently about some of the best choices to consider if you’re in the market for one. Used for everything from skinning an animal, pounding in tent stakes, or preparing kindling—it’s just something everyone should have. Hatchets do have their limitations though. They are not really designed for heavy work. If you need to fell a tree or limb a fallen tree, a hatchet is not the best tool for the job. Splitting logs is also not going to be a good job for a hatchet. The problem with most axes, which are far better suited to these larger tasks, is that they are typically large and bulky. Traditional American axes are usually 30 inches or longer and often weigh in at over 4 pounds. Well designed for felling large trees, they are just too bulky to carry in a pack or use for general survival or bushcraft use.
This is where the Gransfors Bruk Scandinavian Forest Axe comes into play. With an overall length of 25 inches and a weight of 2 pounds, it fits the bill of a 3/4 axe or what is commonly referred to as a “boy’s axe” in the United States. The size is perfect for all-around use. It can easily be carried on a pack, yet is still large enough to use for felling small trees or even for some light splitting duty. It was designed for use in limbing trees which are already cut down, but has been embraced by the outdoors and bushcraft communities for its jack of all trades usefulness. The forged head features a curved bit which helps when cutting into resinous trees such as pine, spruce, and fir.
At a retail price of $190, the Scandinavian Forest Axe is not a cheap purchase. For the money you are getting a tool which will last generations and is one of the finest axes being made today. Gransfors Bruk has been producing axes in Sweden for the last century. They use a proprietary blend of recycled steel which is hand-forged for the axe heads, properly dried American hickory for the handles, and vegetable-tanned leather for the sheathes. To behold and use one is to use an axe that is made the way axes used to be made in this country. They are built to perform and built to last. The Scandinavian Forest Axe is a tool that you will want to use as often as possible.