Gransfors Small Forest Axe VS Hultafors Felling Axe
When did people in the woods start caring so much about designer labels? A question that’s been bothering me for long time now!
It seems the first thing that lots of people do after discovering the sheer joy of spending a day spent amongst tree’s and wood smoke is go out and spend £100 + on a knife and £65 on a Gransfors Small Forest Axe.
This year’s ‘must have’ bushcraft accessory, embarrassing to be seen without??
This snobbishness is ridiculous and it’s just not necessary, anyone staring out in the woods can afford a Hultafors Heavy Duty Knife GK, superb tools, absolutely functional, great steel, razor sharp and only £4, but that’s a whole new article!
The UK’s obsession with Gransfors axes is embarrassing, while I don’t argue that they are very well finished and that the pretty little booklet that comes with them is lovely; but they simply are not worth the price that people pay for them.
As a tool the Gransfors is too small to be effective as a ‘camp axe’ and too big to replace a heavy ‘chopper’ like the classic Martindale. The Gransfors Small Forest doesn’t do much very well. I’m aware that it’s designed to be carried in/ strapped to a pack but how many people who buy the axe for use in the UK actually carry it for any distance in this way?
The short (19”) handle and lightweight (1.5 lb) head both mean that any task heavier than splitting rounds is frustratingly inefficient and slow.
Why buy an elongated hatchet if the jobs that need to be done can be easily done by a normal hatchet, smaller, much cheaper and safer when teaching groups.
Buy the tools to suit the job
If you buy an axe for medium to heavy work then buy a tool that will do the job well. The Hultafors Felling Axe is significantly longer (26”) than the Gransfors and the head is 6 ounces (170 g) heavier.
The Hultafors is compact enough to be easily transported yet is brutally efficient at chopping and other tasks that are always necessary at camp, 8” + diameter logs can be cut though easilly and using two hands is comfortable and effective. The steel of the Hultafors is great and the cutting profile of the head is superbly efficient, perhaps most importantly the Hultafors is a third cheaper than the Gransfors Small Forest Axe. The Gransfors costs a mighty £75; buy the Hultafors and you get way more axe for loads less money at £55.
Buy a tool, not a showpiece
I know all the arguments for buying a Gransfors, I’ve heard them many times, usually from folk that spend more time on bushcraft forums than they do in the woods. YES the finish is better on the Gransfors, YES the supplied cover is better quality and YES you get a lovely booklet with the axe. Who cares? Why are these things important? Why do they matter in the woods? Buy a tool not a show piece; buy something that is superbly designed to do a job incredibly well. If I could give you one piece of axe related advice it would be to ignore the allure of the Gransfors and consider buying a Hultafors