Monday, September 25, 2017

Husqvarna Carpenter's Axe Review

I want to make something clear in this review: I did not initially purchase this axe as a survival/bug out tool, but because I owned a property management company and needed a handy hand axe when I was working on landscaping. I tried out several, and ended up using this one long before I decided to use it as a prepper axe.

Also note that I ended up purchasing several for my employees' use, so I was able to do some comparative testing, especially with maintenance, on this product.

The Good
  • Sharp, tough, well balanced, with a heavy enough head that it makes it easier to do work with it, I have used and abused several of these and have yet to have one fail. 
  • I keep one next to my door for general use, and it sees a lot of loaning out with all the wear and tear that comes with that (especially to college-age neighbors), and has yet to show notable wear.
  • It is small enough to pack well, but large enough to be useful. 
  • It is actually less exhausting than lighter camp hatchets (specifcally, Estwing hand axes) when used for an extended period of time. 
  • I have yet to test one to destruction, despite repeated attempts (mostly due to the neglect of others). I did however find one after a year and a half in the elements that an employee had left out. I wiped the rust off with my t-shirt, and used it to split kindling.

The Bad
  • At around $60 when I bought it from a dealer, it is not a cheap tool. That said, I have used similarly priced Estwings, and have not found them to be as effective a tool for the price. 
  • The grip on the handle is suboptimal. I have found that if you are using it for an extended period of time, it becomes hard to hold onto because of sweat. To combat this, I braided paracord around the bottom half of the handle, and so long as I braided it tightly, I found this to be an acceptable solution. It's a hassle when I re-oil the handle, but if your palms are less sweaty than mine are that may not be needed. 
  • There is occasional surface rust if you leave it out in the elements, but I have not noticed that impairing the utility of the axe.
  • This is not the lightest axe out there (2.75 lbs), so if you have weight limits, this may not be the best choice for a bugout axe. 

 “Off Label” Uses
  • Makes a dandy throwing axe, even if it has a tendency to throw a little high if you are not used to it. 
  • I have used the back to hammer everything from nails to breaking a chunk of concrete apart. I am sure this is not good for it, but it has yet to break.
  • Prying with both the handle and the head has happened on many occasions. I am certain that this is not good for the handle to use it like that, but it has yet to break, so…
  • I have used it for cutting all sorts of stuff, from rope to opening my mail. The head holds an edge surprisingly well.
  • When moving logs around, I tend to slam the axe head into the log and use the axe as a handle, in order to lift it easily. (A useful trick when dealing with large logs: I recommend the flat end of a cut log when doing this,  so that the blade goes in between the fibers of the grain for best grip.)

You will find that, after a year or two with no maintenance, the handle will get a bit “stringy” and is more prone to splintering. I know that the internet holds all sorts of special recipes for the best possible care for your hand axe, but I found that a heavy coat of used cooking oil from my deep fryer, applied every three to six months of heavy use, or two years or so of sitting around, worked just fine.

I use a Lansky Puck for basic maintenance of the edge, with a bastard file I bought at home depot for getting out any really bad gouges. I have a policy of a quick brush up sharpening after a day of heavy use, or a week of light (camp) use. It takes a while for the blade to get dull, however, and notably outlasted the Fiskars Camp axe and the Estwings I also tried out.

I have coated the head of the axe that I use the most in an industrial spray enamel to mark it as mine, and have found that I no longer even get surface rust on it because of that. The edge has worn off, and I suspect that would be an issue if it got used less, but that would be easy to take care of with a sharpening.

My Rating
8 out of 10 if you are looking for a good all-around survival axe;  9/10 if you are not worried about weight. I absolutely recommend it, especially if you have the chance to go to a Husqvarna dealership and handle it beforehand. The only disadvantage is the weight (about double the weight of a camp axe), and that is really only an issue if you are backpacking.

1 comment:

  1. i think its a great axe if someone looking for old traditinal axes with wooden americon hickory handle.although there are other axes with plastic and steel handles but husqvarna with wooden handles has its own charm.


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