Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet Review *2021 Edit*

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Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet

The Specs

Total Weight: 1.3lbs 
Head Weight: 1lbs
Length with handle: 13.50 inch
Handle: American Hickory
Steel: Hand forged Swedish high carbon steel
Country of origin: Sweeden
Retal Price: $125 – $165  (Check the Current Price Here)
Comes with Axe Book and a Leather Sheath.

The wildlife hatchet by Gransfors Bruks is a pretty popular Item simply because of how well it is made.

The Swedish company is known for the quality of its handmade axes and hatchets being much higher than some other mass produced products. In this Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet Review you’ll find out just why this hatchet is so special.

This is a small, light axe can be easily carried in your backpack or strapped on your belt using the included sheath. This is perfect for performing any light camping chores. Check out this What is a Hatchet Used For article for a list of uses for hatchets.

The Wildlife Hatchet Handle

The American Hickory handle feels great, and seems to be the perfect size for its application.  The direction of the grain and tightness are all perfect and feel very high quality. Not to mention the great look of the Gransfors Bruks logo burned into the handle itself.

Gransfors Bruks have done a few interesting things to help head and handle bonding that other manufacturers overlook.

Firstly, you will notice the ears on the head. These are designed to help the bond of the handle and head to stay strong after years of use. This extra surface area grips and hugs the Hickory handle allowing for a much better connection. Something simple like this really goes a long way towards longevity.

The handle itself is coated in linseed oil and beeswax giving that great finish and is very nice for grip. This hatchet is designed for quick chopping and felling large branches (as described in the Gransfors website) – So it only makes sense the handle be grippy and of a certain length. Generally, the longer the handle the more power you have when you swing. 

This coating also seals the wood, protecting the handle from rot. Aside from making the wood like nice and traditional, it is also the best option for grip. 

Rather than covering the wood fibers it coats them, meaning your skin grips the actual rough fibers rather than slicked down fibers you get with bees wax or even slicker surfaces from something like polyurethane. Smooth surfaces on axes are great until your hands begin to sweat – you want to be able to feel that wood fiber.

Another great sign on this axe is the balance and alignment of the handle with the eye of the head. No matter the type of axe, the last thing  you want is to have things feeling lose and unsafe. Simply put – you will very rarely have this problem on any Gransfors product – There’s reason they give a 20 year warranty. 

Don’t forget – The handle and head are only about 13 inches long. Is this the ideal length for you? If you are often going out into the woods and carrying lots of gear – this may be a great option due to its smaller size and the value you get from it.

If you need something more heavy duty for a big felling project – definitely consider a larger handled proper felling axe. However for a few days in the wilderness, a general use bushcraft axe like this one would serve you very well.

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet Head

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet Head Close Up
Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet Head Close Up

The first thing you notice on the head itself is an engraved Swedish crown next to the initials of the person that handmade your axe. The blade itself is one of the thinnest in production. This makes it really great for:

-Wood Carving & Chopping
-Processing Wood
-Making Kindling

Gransfors Bruks makes these heads at 1lb, of course with high quality high carbon Sweedish steel. The cutting surface of 3 inches comes very sharp right out of the box – no need to polish. You will notice the blade is a bit more convex than a standard felling axe. This means it is more of a slicing tool VS a maul or splitting axe – keep this in mind.

There are many small details of the head that really make it a versatile tool. The squared off back of the head itself is great for hammering tent steaks – or anything else around the campfire.

The sharpness and shape of the blade allow you to use it as a knife in many situations. The overall durability and high quality of steel allow you to chop pretty hard and get nice deep bites with every strike.

The bond the head has with the handle is great. The ears create a large surface area for the handle in addition to the 2 crimps on the upper part of the head.

Gransfors Bruks have been making axes for a very long time, their designs are as close to perfect as you can get. There have even been cases of people banging these things against concrete and other hard surfaces without it getting lose or causing permanent damage – all thanks to that old proven design.

Wildlife Hatchet Pros and Cons

Lets start with some Cons:

The price – As always when you want something that is high quality, you’ll have to pay for it. All Gransfors products are a bit more costly than their mass produced counterparts – however, you are paying for something that will last you years and years to come.

These have been slowly going up in price over time, but depending on the time of year, you can get a Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet for sale for different prices..

Projects – Like I mentioned before – use this hatchet for what it’s intended and you wont have any problems. However, if you go all out and try to use it like a maul or splitting axe – you will have a bad day. General bushcraft chores are really what this bad boy excels at.

A bigger project will involve a bigger axe so plan out what you will be doing and bring the proper axe for the job. Check out this Gransfors Bruks American Felling Axe Review for a better powerhouse alternative.

Availability – Since these are very sought after hatchets they are often on back order or out of stock. I had to check for a couple of weeks when trying to get my first one due to no availability (however it may have just been the season).  I recommend picking one up if you are starting a collection and need a great all purpose small hatchet.

GB Wildlife Hatchet Pros:

Quality – The most obvious pro is that you are getting a Gransfors Bruks Axe! Most enthusiasts and “axe guys” usually consider them to make the best axes in the world.

They last a long time, do a great job every time and are handmade to ensure quality. Sure there are other axe manufacturers that make great axes, but in terms of quality Gransfors is probably #1 in most peoples books.

Versatility – Although this isn’t going to be felling a large tree, you can do A LOT with this great little thing. A great number of small details on this hatchet let you use it like a knife, a hammer, a small felling axe, a shaping axe, a finishing axe and the list goes on and on.

Sure, you can try these tasks with other small axes but you really wont get a good result. Some are good for a certain things, but fail to do everything well. The Wildlife Hatchet can really do any small chore like its designed just for that.

Longevity – Simply put this hatchet will last a long time. All the customer reviews I’ve looked up pretty much say the same thing, “I’ve had mine for years and it works just as good as the first time i bought it”

Gransfors Wildlife Hatchet vs Similar Hatchets

The biggest difference when comparing this hatchet to anything else is steel quality. As stated before, the Swedish high carbon steel really does outshine its competition in terms of pure quality. Most other axes need to be polished or sharpened when first bought unlike the Wildlife Hatchet.

When comparing chopping power you really need to look to the handle length. A longer handle will give you more force as you can hold it further away from the head. Other hatchets can strike harder, but going back to steel quality again – have a risk of damaging the head.

A longer overall hatchet or axe might give you more power to take on a bigger task (like a thick tree) but are limited in its uses compared to our Wildlife Hatchet.

Within Gransfors own lineup, one step above this Wildlife Hatchet would be the Small Forest Axe. Check out the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet vs Small Forest Axe article for a nice comparison of the 2.

Compared to a Condor Tool Axe of a similar length, you’ll notice right away that the Gransfors really bites into the wood, where as the condor feels like it bounces off a bit more.

This bouncing seems to be common with other hatchets as well. Not to say that Condor Tools make bad axes, just a note to consider when making your purchase.

Creating shavings is also something that this axe is great at. Due to the convex shape of the blades you can shave up kindling over and over and it’l easily slice through every time.

This goes back to using the axe for what it’s intended for. A quick comparison with many other axes of this type will soon reveal that not all can do such a good job. See What is a Hatchet Used For for a list of hatchet related tasks.

One of Gransfors Bruks main competitors is Hults Bruk – another Swedish axe manufacturer. They both create similar axes and hatchets but use different techniques. Check out this Hults Bruk vs Gransfors Bruks article for a full comparison.

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