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Nothing beats the feeling of splitting wood with your own hands. Taking a steel and wooden tool to survive in the woods, do work around the home, or other carpentry tasks, you really get to get a feel of the wood, and nothing beats an axe for the task.
Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe Review
A Quick Look
- Total Weight: 1.31 pounds
- Head Weight: 1 pound
- Length with handle: 14.75 inches
- Handle: Hickory
- Steel: Hand forged
- Country of origin: Sweden
- Price: $215 – $285 (Check Current Price Here)
This axe has a solid steel hedge with a protective shoulder. It rests on a carefully carved and contoured hickory handle, and comes in at 1.31 pounds and 14.75 inches. This is a pretty short hatchet, and is very lightweight, even for the smaller length.
The axe is made entirely by a single axe craftsman, from start to finish, to ensure absolute quality. There is no mass production involved in anything from Gransfors Bruks, and this particular tool was designed by survivalist Lars Fält.
The blade is hard and sharp, reducing the amount of axe sharpening that you’ll have to do. And the handle is contoured and naturally lacquered to ensure a comfortable, smooth grip that won’t fly out of your hands.
With Gransfors Bruks, there isn’t much to complain about except the price, and that’s completely true with this hatchet. It has a mastery of craftsmanship and superior quality that you aren’t going to find anywhere else. But it also costs $250, which is easily out of the budget of anyone except the most enthusiastic of foresters.
When you’re looking for the utmost quality, the only name you should turn to is Gransfors Bruks. While the price tag may turn many foresting enthusiasts away, there’s no denying that you aren’t really going to find a better axe than anything from this Swedish company.
Gransfors Bruks offers a wide range of hand-crafted, premium axes that can get any foresting job done. Whether you’re looking for a small hatchet for hunting and camping or a heavy duty axe for chopping down trees, they have something for you. Their Outdoor Axe is a bushcraft axe that will get nearly any small cutting job done, and is absolutely worth a look.
In this Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe review, we look at the strengths and weaknesses of this axe, and what you should use it for. This tool is one of the best options out there as far as hatchets go, so if you can afford it, it’s worth picking up.
Gransfors Bruks Overview
- Great survival tool
- Lightweight and portable
- Unbeatable construction quality
- Sustainable and durable design
- High price point
Most of the major Scandinavian axe companies like Husqvarna, Hultafors, and Fiskars all started out as community forges, named after their towns. This is true of Gransfors Bruks, having been founded in the 1600s in the Swedish village of Gransfors.
It is the oldest continually operating forge in Sweden and, like most companies that are around for over 300 years, has had a lot of ups and downs. While they’re associated with extreme quality today, 30 years ago that wasn’t the case.
Gransfors Bruks mass produced axes and foresting tools, focusing more on quantity and less on quality. Painting over cracks, using cheap lacquers, and other shortcuts lead to a poor product. Starting in the 90s, they pivoted to only care about quality.
Rather than mass producing each part and fitting them together later, they began to have a single craftsman make the entire product from start to finish, only submitting a tool once it’s been perfected.
All materials would become sustainable, and the company would really prioritize a low-impact, high quality business ethos. To this day, they hold their tools to a nearly impossible standard, and believe that quality needs fewer materials, not more.
The head of the axe is the most important thing for actually chopping the wood. It’s where the energy from your swing transfers into the wood, letting you cut through it, and everything from the weight to the shape of the head has an impact.
The Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe has a light head with some powerful construction choices. The slight curvature of the blade, the light head weight, and the protective shoulder all work together to make this tool one of the best hatchets out there.
Everything Gransfors Bruks makes is made from the same high carbon Swedish forged steel. It has a high hardness rating, and is perfectly sharpened to make it work fantastically right out of the box.
The steel is hand forged by the same blacksmith that makes the rest of the tool, which is a vital part of the process. While other brands make tons of heads and pass them onto the next part of the assembly line, Gransfors Bruks has only a master smith working on each tool.
Another common thing that other companies do to their axe heads is coat them in some sort of lacquer. This can actually be a way to cover up mistakes and imperfections, which is why Gransfors Bruks avoids doing it.
They believe that anything that’s unnecessary to the function of the tool shouldn’t be a part of the design. So lacquers and coatings on the head are avoided, since they don’t actually add to the axe’s usability.
The shape of the head is probably more important than the material. While cheap metals like aluminum can easily be sharpened to a fine blade, you can’t really change the balancing of an axe head once you’ve bought one.
This head weighs 1 pound, which is just under 70% of the total weight. The actual blade is about 2 inches long, and is slightly curved. This is important, because it reduces the surface area of the blade, maximizing the pressure behind your swing.
So even though this axe only weighs a bit over a pound, your cuts are still going to be highly effective from the shape. Plus, the shoulders protect the handle if you overshoot your swing and strike with the shaft.
Axe handles are the primary place where we interface with the tool. It’s what makes an axe comfortable, easy to grip, and safe to use. Cheaper products frequently use stainless steel or fiberglass handles, but hickory is probably the preferred choice.
The Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe has a 14.75 inch handle made of pure high quality hickory. It has a natural laminate, which makes it smooth to hold, and is contoured to maximize usability.
Gransfors Bruks is committed to using highly sustainable, high quality materials, and they accomplish that with this handle. They responsibly source only high quality American hickory, which is preferred for it’s durable yet flexible profile.
Rather than an artificial lacquer like most lower end brands use, Gransfors Bruks only uses natural materials to coat their handles. This ensures that the handle will be weather resistant without turning to industrial grade coatings.
And, just like with the head, the handle was carved and assembled by the same master blacksmith as the rest of the tool. From start to finish, this axe has absolute premium construction and design put into it.
The length and shape of this handle are actually pretty standard. It’s 14.75 inches long which is common in smaller hatchets. It only weighs .3 pounds, which is impressive considering how long the handle is.
It’s also contoured, which is great for ensuring a comfortable grip. You want to be sure that your axe won’t fly out of your hands on the upswing, and this handle does that.
What the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe Is Best For
The Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is targeted at professional woodworkers, survival extremists, and avid foresting enthusiasts. The price range puts this axe pretty far out of reach for novice and casual woodcutters, so only the serious outdoorsman should consider this tool.
If you use this survival hatchet in extreme situations like wilderness training, you can use it to easily chop firewood. Combine it with tools like the Everstryke and the Everstryke Pro, which are waterproof fire starters. This axe is a survival must, along with other tools like the Aquastiq, letting you survive in the wilderness no matter what.
Of course, the biggest downside to this axe is the price. There isn’t much you can complain about with this company other than the amount of money you have to pay to get a hold of their fine quality. It’s just a natural byproduct of getting a masterfully crafted tool like this one.
How Does it Compare?
If you’re a huge fan of this axe, but you can’t afford the price tag, then you’re in luck. There’s quite a few options you can look at that deliver tons of quality and durability without costing a fortune.
If you’re looking for a similarly sized hatchet that costs a fraction of this one, you want to check out the Husqvarna Carpenter’s Axe. This hatchet is slightly longer, but is a highly usable, durable, and versatile tool. You can also check out the Estwing Camper’s Axe for something similar.
If you want the premium quality of the Outdoor Axe but need something bigger, take a look at the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe. This 25 inch tool is a great all-around tool that can do nearly any cutting job.
For something really bulky, check out the American Felling Axe. It’s one of the largest offerings from Gransfors Bruks, bringing all of the craft and quality to a large axe specially designed to chop down trees.
Should You Get the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe?
There’s no question that this axe is one of the best options out there for small hatchets. The master craftsmanship, the head design, the handle materials, and the assembly all work together to make this tool one of the most powerful hatchets out there.
The only major drawback is the price. If this thing cost half of what it does, it would be the only tool anyone should buy. But the price tag makes it a niche tool for professionals and hard core enthusiasts.
Gransfors Bruks has had a long history. From community forge to mass production to master craftsmanship, this brand has been around for a reason. They innovate and create in order to adapt, leading to the best axes on the market.