The axe has been man’s best friend longer than the dog. And somehow, the love relationship between man and axe has never waned in all this time. It’s most probably due to the fact that an axe serves 2 of the greatest purposes man needs to ensure his survival on earth – tool and weapon.
And there’s no axe brand that has managed to successfully fill that gap like legendary axe maker Grunsfors Bruks.
This is a legendary brand that everyone involved with axes has heard of – whether novice or professional. But what does this brand have that others don’t? Is Gransfors Bruks just riding the waves of a hyped up breed of axemen or is there really any merit to all the respect the brand has earned for
Well, that’s one thing we want to settle once and for all today as we review the iconic Gransfors Bruks line of axes.
Tracing the Legacy of the Legendary Gransfors Bruks
image via Amazon
So who is Gransfors Bruks and why should you even be impressed by them? Well, maybe because they have been in the axe making business for a very long time – slightly more than a hundred years. Gransfors Bruks was established in the village of Gransfors, Sweden in 1906. And true to their Swedish heritage, precision and excellence are 2 pillars they incorporated into their craftsmanship and business model.
While Gransfors Bruks may not be the biggest company offering axes today, they certainly are among the best. That’s why there’s so much hype over their products. The quality levels are taken so seriously that each axe bears the signature of its maker. This is so that if you are not satisfied with the axe, the smith is taken to task.
Gransfors Bruks - Understanding the Anatomy of an Axe
While the axe has been around for millions of years, its design hasn’t changed much. I mean, if it’s not broken, why change it. All technology has managed to do over the years is refine the design. It’s much like the wheel in that way, the basic foundation remains the same.
In order to best appreciate the Grunsfors Bruks line of axes, it’s imperative that you have a brief understanding of what makes for a good axe – the anatomy of a good axe. Although an axe has many different parts to it (yes, it’s not as simple as it looks), will look at the few factors you can
easily relate to.
The Axe Head
The axe head is the most prominent part of an axe as it is not only one of the largest parts, but it is the most functional. The best axe heads are made from high-quality forged steel.
Axe heads come in many different shapes and sizes for many different applications. But to simplify things we will look at 2 main types – single bit and double bit. Single bit axe heads only have one cutting edge and are the most common domestic type of axe head.
The biggest advantage with these is that they cut faster and are more precise. Double bit axe heads have 2 cutting edges on opposite sides of the head. While these are slower due to the heavier axe head, they are more balanced. Besides, it’s like having 2 axes in one.
Whichever axe head you prefer, you’ll be glad to know that Gransfors Bruks has what you are looking for.
Another prominent part of an axe is the handle. And as simple as it looks, it has a great bearing on the effectiveness of the axe. Because it is your primary contact with the axe, it has to be ergonomic.
Just like axe heads have different shapes and sizes, the same also applies to the handle. The shape and size are mainly determined by the purpose of the axe. For axes that require a lot of precision, the handles are usually shorter as this affords more control.
Axes that require more of power than precision feature longer handles as they have a bigger mechanical advantage.
While most modern axes you find at big box stores come with plastic handles, wood is the best material for any axe. And when it comes to wooden handles, hickory and ash make for the best handles as they are more durable and have the best shock absorption properties.
One factor many people rarely consider when it comes to wooden handles is that the grain of the wood and the growth rings have a big bearing on the strength of the handle. For a strong handle, the grain of the wood has to run parallel to the axe. The number of growth-rings also indicates the strength of the handle. The more the rings, the older the tree the wood came from, and, ultimately, the stronger the handle.
Again, this is one area in which Gransfors Bruks excels above other axe brands as all their axes come with expertly crafted wood handles, all from mature hickory trees.
While we haven’t covered the anatomy of an axe in full, this should be enough to get you started on your journey of axe appreciation. Now, on to more pressing matters.
The Gransfors Bruks Axe Review – 3 of the Best Models You Should Own
Everyone should own an axe. Particularly a Gransfors Bruks axe. Let me show you a few models you need to add to your collection and their particular uses.
- Length with handle: 19 inch, Comes original Gransfors "Axe-book"
- Weight: 2 lbs
- Sheath in vegetable tanned leather
- Perfect for splitting small sticks or cutting limbwood
- The Small Forest Axe is excellent for felling trees and limbing
We’ll kick off our review with one of the most popular Gransfors Bruks axe models – the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe. This is a 19.25-inch long axe so it sits in the medium range. This is what makes it particularly attractive as it is a multipurpose axe that excels in all it is tasked with.
One of the best features of this particular axe is seen in the quality of the axe head. Featuring a slightly larger than average axe head for an axe of its size, this axe offers explosive power. Forged from high-quality steel, this axe head is rugged and tough enough to last you many years of satisfactory use. The head also comes with a beautifully smooth finish that gives the axe better penetration and also helps it come out easily. As for the poll, it is also finely finished so as to give you better performance when you use it for hammering.
With a 19.25-inch long hickory handle to balance the axe, you can expect nothing but the best performance. The handle is lightweight, sturdy, and very ergonomic making the axe very easy and pleasant to use. This axe, thanks to its design and compact build makes for a very good pack axe you can take on your camping or hiking trips and it will certainly serve you well when it comes to limbing, chopping wood, and felling small trees as you prepare your campground.
Weighing a mere 2 lbs and coming with a protective leather sheath, this is definitely an axe you should have in your possession.
- Gränsfors AMERICAN FELLING AXE - a professional axe for those who want to work in the forest in the traditional way. The axe is ideal for felling very large trees, thanks to its long, broad edge of 4½”.
- This is the 31" (79cm) CURVED HANDLE version (MPN: 434-1) - forged to a curved bit, making it suitable for cutting into fresh, resinous wood such as spruce or pine. The heavy head and long handle also give considerable power to the cut. The axe is almost twice as heavy as the Scandinavian Forest Axe (430).
- Cutting Edge: 4½" (115mm), Head Weight: 3.3 lb (1.5 kg), Weight with Handle: 5.3 lb (2.4 kg) Length with Handle 31” (79cm)
- Comes with a full-grain, vegetable-tanned leather sheath and Gransfors Bruks "The Axe Book".
- Backed by a 20-year manufacturer’s warranty. PLEASE NOTE: In March 2017 Gransfors announced that they abandon the steel wedge on all their axes (with the exception of Splitting Axes for now). Please see the full announcement in one of the images to the left.
The Gransfors Bruks American Felling Axe is another legendary axe from a legendary Swedish axe maker. It is especially popular with professional tree fellers in particular. But you don’t have to be a professional tree feller to enjoy the power and precision this awesome axe affords. If you are a fan of working in the forest the traditional way, this is the axe for you.
The Gransfors Bruks American felling axe was developed by Gransfors in conjunction with professional axe collector Lawrence Lyford and renowned boat builder Geoffrey Burke. Why did Gransfors Bruk invest in the development of a simple axe? Because they wanted to create an axe that would be the go-to axe when it comes to felling large trees.
Did they succeed? Heck yeah. It’s all thanks to the long, broad edge that efficiently bites into a larger portion of the tree trunk. The broad edge is not the only advantage of this beast of an axe head. The axe head is also forged to a curved bit. This makes the axe efficient when it comes to cutting down fresh, resinous woods like spruce or pine. In practical terms, it means less hacking on your part. Each stroke will bring you closer to yelling out your favorite word – “timbeeeer!”
Apart from a well-designed head, the Gransfors Bruks American also features a long handle – 31 inches to be exact. With a handle this long, you’re actually in the Goldilocks zone of a felling axe. In short, this is the perfect combination of head size and handle length for explosive power. Unlike the head that comes in one flavor, the Gransfors Bruks American felling axe comes with 3 handles for you to choose from.
This is definitely the Grunsfors Bruks axe you need if you are a woodsman or planning to build yourself a cabin in the woods.
- Length with handle: 13.50 inch, Item-ID: 415
- Weight: 1.3 lbs
- Sheath in vegetable-tanned leather
- Traditional scouting and camping axe
- The Axe Book comes with every axe purchased from Gransfors Bruk, Made in Sweden.
The Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet is the perfect axe for those who need a compact but powerful axe for camping, scouting, hiking, or any other outdoor activity that requires you carry certain gear for your survival.
This Gransfors Bruks axe features the traditional Gransfors design that has been tried and tested to produce explosive results. This axe is compact enough to carry in a rucksack without adding an unbearable weight to your already heavy luggage. Don’t let the compact nature of this axe fool you though; this axe is well able to tackle tasks meant for axes bigger than it. The trick is in the optimally balanced axe head and handle. Examples of what you can do with this axe include limbing, splitting small logs, and felling small trees.
The Gransfors Bruks Axe Review – Is the Hype Really Worth It?
We’ve now come full circle to where we started off – is the Gransfors Bruks line of axes worth the hype (and premium prices)? Honestly, when you consider the exceptional build quality and attention to detail that goes into these axes, it’s hard to resist their allure.
So yes, Gransfors Bruks has done an excellent job with their axes and they are worth their weight in gold. Go ahead, pick one that fits in with your lifestyle. You’ll be glad you did.