Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe Review


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Nothing beats the classic feel of a hand-swung axe when you need to get a chopping job done. Whether it’s for chopping down trees on your property or taking something on your next camping trip, you can’t beat the look and feel of an axe.

While many people may not realize it, there’s still a thriving industry around making fine, high quality axes. Different brands have different approaches, but when you want premium quality, Gransfors Bruks is the way to go. For centuries, they’ve been making some of the best axes out there.

One of their top-of-the-line offerings is their Scandinavian Forest Axe. This premium foresting tool may have a huge price tag, but you’re getting unrivaled craftsmanship and construction with this axe.

In this Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe review, we’ll discuss how this fine axe is made, and compare it to some similar offerings. You really won’t find a better axe than this one, so it just comes down to budget.

A Quick Look

  • Total Weight: 2.6 Pounds
  • Head Weight: 1.65 Pounds
  • Length with handle: 25 Inches
  • Handle: Hickory
  • Steel: Swedish Forged Steel
  • Country of origin: Sweden
  • Price: ($215-$245) See Current Price Here

Like we’ve mentioned before, this axe is the best of the best. While a glance at the materials shows similar choices to companies like Husqvarna and Hultafors, this axe utilizes clever construction methods to maximize durability, cut power, and comfort.

The head of this axe weight 1.65 pounds, making up well over half of the total weight. When you combine that with the 25 inch handle, you’re going to get a powerful cut in a lightweight tool. But that’s not where the quality comes from.

It’s not just the pure high quality Swedish forged steel, or the sustainably sourced and treated hickory handle. It’s the craftsmanship that goes into every part of this axe that makes it so great. Innovative head shapes, handle contouring, and other techniques help make this axe really stand apart from the rest.

Gransfors Bruks

Gransfors is a Swedish village, and “bruk” is the Swedish word for a large industrial plant. The first forge in this little village didn’t pop up until the mid 1800s, and it wouldn’t be taken over by the founder of Gransfors Bruk until the early 1900.

A lot of these old axe companies really just started out as a community forge, eventually growing into distinct businesses. That’s true here, and throughout the 20th century, this axe maker saw its ups and downs.

Gransfors Bruks wasn’t known for quality for most of its history. In order to compete with Chinese and American brands, they had to skimp on quality. They would paint over cracks, working conditions were poor, and the company was not environmentally friendly.

But starting in the 1990s, they pivoted. Instead of mass production, they decided to have each axe hand forged by a master craftsman, and they only sold top-quality products. Through decades of innovation, this brand is now renowned for their amazing quality and innovation.

Today the company only values quality and sustainability, making sure that all of their products require as few resources and as much time as needed. That’s why this Foresting Axe is so much better than the competition.

The Head

Axe Head
The shape and forging of this axe head is what gives this axe its pedigree of quality

The head is the primary point of contact when you’re using an axe. Not only does it serve as the point where the energy from your swing transfers to the wood, but it also impacts how your body can actually swing the tool.

Balancing, materials, shape, and weight are just a few of the factors involved in crafting a premium axe head. Gransfors Bruk nails it with their foresting axe, using not only the finest forged steel, but creating a shape and balance that is truly unique, comfortable, and powerful.

Material

Most axe heads used some sort of steel, but forged steel typically requires more craftsmanship than tempered or moulded steel. This axe uses Swedish forged steel to ensure that your axe head will withstand ordinary use, preventing you from doing too much axe sharpening.

Even with forged steel, there’s room for error. Mass production often involves workers making individual parts, which can lead to inconsistencies between the handle and the head. At Gransfors Bruk, a single smith forgest the head by hand, cuts the handle themself, and assembles the tool.

Other brands like Collins or Council Tools advertise the coating of the axe head as a weather-resistant bonus. But at this premium axe company, they believe that any unnecessary additions to the axe are meant to hide blemishes.

The craftsman’s motto is that if you need more than the essentials, you’re doing it wrong. Gransfors Bruk holds themselves to this standard, ensuring that their axes are perfect without any coating on the head, glue on the bit, or paint to cover the craftsmanship.

Shape

The shape of the head is vital to the tool. That’s how you can easily distinguish a splitting axe against a combat axe, or a bushcraft axe against a throwing axe. The Scandinavian Forest Axe head has a particularly unique shape, and that’s part of what makes this brand so unique.

In addition to the incredibly light weight and the razor-sharp blade, this axe has a long, curved head. When you look at your average axe, you’ll notice that the cheek only extends a few inches, and that the face is straight.

But this axe has a longer cheek with a narrower, curved blade. This makes forging the bit much tougher, but really increases your striking power. By reducing the surface area of the impact with the curve, you increase your PSI, making for a more effective cut.

The weight distribution puts most of the weight on the head, but not as much as a heavier axe would. This means that you can comfortably guide your swing, ensuring an accurate, forceful cut every time.

The Handle

Axe Handle
This axe handle is made of high quality sustainable hickory for maximum comfort and flexibility

The handle of the axe is the place where the worker interfaces with the tool. It has to be comfortable, durable, and practical. If it’s too heavy, it’ll impact the balancing. But it it’s too light, you run the risk of breaking the shaft on a heavy hit.

The Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe comes with a premium, sustainably sourced handle that is expertly crafted and treated. Not only is it designed for comfort, but its shape and length make it an ideal handle for any cutting job.

Material

Nothing beats the classic look of a hand-carved hickory handle. This wooden shaft is taken from high-quality hickory trees and is carved by the same craftsman that forges the head. It’s then treated with a few natural lacquers to make it resilient, sturdy, and comfortable.

Before being carved, the handle is dried to prevent shrinking. It is then coated in natural linseed oil to make it even more sturdy and easy to grip. Finally, it’s coated in beeswax to make it resistant to dirt and water damage. From start to finish, Gransfors Bruks values natural, sustainable materials.

Many brands like Fiskars opt for artificial handles like Fiberglass and DuraFrame. While this is a cheap way to get a sturdy handle, it lacks the flexibility and feel of the classic wooden handle. That’s why this company has doubled down on using pure wood.

Shape

The handle is contoured for maximum comfort and grip. This is pretty standard for wooden axes, since you can’t really add a rubber grip. The sturdy flexibility of this axe makes this tool one of the most comfortable out there.

The handle makes up about half of the total weight. This makes it comfortable to use and guide for both horizontal swings and vertical strikes. This increases the usability of the axe and the efficiency of your chops.

The handle is 25 inches long, which is long enough for you to really maximize the power behind each swing. The longer the handle, the more power you have, but the harder it is to guide. This medium length makes this the perfect all-around chopping tool.

What the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe Is Best For

This Foresting axe is a one-size-fits-all option for any foresting task. It’s big enough to cut down trees and fine enough to limb small logs. This axe is for the professional forester or for dedicated hunters who need some serious cutting power.

If you’re looking for a small axe to take camping or backpacking, this option is probably not the way to go. It’s very light for a foresting axe, but its price makes it a hefty investment when a cheap hatchet will do the trick.

The only professional situation where you wouldn’t want this axe would be for tasks requiring a maul. If you’re driving stakes or trying to break up rubble, this axe isn’t for you.

Pros

  • Highly versatile
  • Premium quality and design
  • Ideal length for any job
  • Lightweight and easy to carry

Cons

  • High price point
  • Not heavy enough for maul work

How Does it Compare?

Axe Comparison
There are plenty of options to choose from if this axe doesn’t do it for you

This axe is one of the best out there, but it may not be what you’re actually looking for. You may want something dedicated to chopping, or you want something smaller for backpacking and camping. Fortunately, you can get quite a few options from Gransfors Bruks that fit the bill.

If you want a hatchet, they offer 2 pretty great one-handed axe. Their Wildlife Hatchet is their premier survival hatchet, while the Small Forest axe is actually from the same line of products as the Scandinavian Forest Axe.

If you want a dedicated felling axe that has the full length you need, check out the American Felling Axe. It has all the same quality as this option, but is larger to ensure more powerful cuts. Not as versatile, but still incredibly usable

Should You Get the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe?

This axe is for either the practicing professional, or for the avid enthusiast. If you’re just a casual outdoorsman who just wants something for firewood, this axe is too expensive to get the full use out of it. But if you need to clear trees down on your property, or you find yourself deep in the wilderness for the hunt, then this axe is absolutely for you.

Gransfors Bruks is one of the last foresting tool companies that has a true appreciation for craftsmanship and integrity. Few places have a single master smith make their products from start to finish, but this brand does. It’s expensive, but absolutely worth every cent for the quality.

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