Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe v Carpenter's Axe

ozslon

Malcolm Douglas
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Hi Guys,
I’ve recently purchased two GB axes and decided to share my experience with you.
I also have two Fiskar axes and was very happy with them overall. However always wanted to get this premium brand everyone is talking about. A couple of times I almost ordered Small forest axe from Ray Mears store, but it never really happened because it was a bit hard to justify $200 axe. So I was googling the other other day and all over the sudden found a store that sell GB in Victoria and just 20 min from my place of work. So the next day I was there during my lunch break. Although they had no SFA in stock I had a pleasure of taking a look at other GB axes.
Well what I can say, not picture, no review will give you a real feel of this Tool! You have to handle it to understand what I am saying. $200 axe was no longer a question for me
They had carpenter’s axe in store and I kinda look at it and didn’t really like the edge geometry plus I was set on SFA. So the guys told me come back in Feb, we are expecting a big shipment.
I’ve called them early Feb and was told that the shipment is received and they have SFA in stock. Another lunch break and I am a very happy owner of GB Small Forest Axe. The weekend came next and I spend it on my small backyard playing with my new toy. That’s was just ridicules how awesome it performed. I don’t really know how to explain it. There are tons of reviews out there with people much more experienced than me so better to leave it for them to explain.
While browsing the internets to learn a good technic on usage I came across GB’s carpenter’s axe review.
Monday lunch break was another visit to these guys and I had another GB. What can I say? I am completely broke now, all other things I had lined up for another 4 month are out now. But I don’t regret it. I really like those two and for now carpenter’s axe becoming my camping axe, while SFA will live in my bushwalk bag
Below some comparesment between them, hopefully it will help someone to make the decision.
Last thing I wanted to add. A good custom bushcraft knife will cost you around $200. Almost all of us at some point save the money and buy one. When you think about custom handmade axe that will outlive you and will be passed to you kids and grandkids $200 is not much.

Cheers

Ozslon

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Les Stroud
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Nice photos, makes me want one :) Is that the Cudeman 147 Bushcraft knife I see there? I would like to know your thoughts on that one. I purchased the Cudeman 111 with the Cocobolo wood scales over 12 months ago and absolutely love it, the blade profile is not what I was after at the time but it was selling for $70 at an army surplus store so was a complete steal, I love the edge retention and the fact that it hones razor sharp every time, and when I think of all the knives I have ever bought and struggled to sharpen or to keep sharp, it grew on me real quick and now I'm looking to buy the 147 and MT3. Anyway keen to hear your thoughts and tell us what you think of the Fiskars hatchet, I nearly bought one at Christmas, they are certainly light and packable but I wondered about the performance qualities.
Regards, Craig.
 

ozslon

Malcolm Douglas
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Nice photos, makes me want one :) Is that the Cudeman 147 Bushcraft knife I see there? I would like to know your thoughts on that one. I purchased the Cudeman 111 with the Cocobolo wood scales over 12 months ago and absolutely love it, the blade profile is not what I was after at the time but it was selling for $70 at an army surplus store so was a complete steal, I love the edge retention and the fact that it hones razor sharp every time, and when I think of all the knives I have ever bought and struggled to sharpen or to keep sharp, it grew on me real quick and now I'm looking to buy the 147 and MT3. Anyway keen to hear your thoughts and tell us what you think of the Fiskars hatchet, I nearly bought one at Christmas, they are certainly light and packable but I wondered about the performance qualities.
Regards, Craig.
It is Cudeman Bushcraft 148-V. My current favourite. Highly underrated brand. As you said edge retention, super sharp, strong and very comfortable. And it is not a carbon steel, so no problems thinking about it every time you've used it. I own MT-5 as well and while the knife is great and I like it a lot the quality of guard attachment is a bit of let down, it wont break but aesthetically could have been better. Also sheath on 148 is not where it supposed to be, surprisingly sheath on MT-5 is really good. Either way I've paid $100 for 148 and $120 for MT-5 and cant complain about it. I'm not a fan of hollow grind so probably wouldn't get MT-3, unless you are planning to use it as survival knife only.

With regards to Fiskar. I own X7 and X17. Really good all-rounder, unbreakable, don't think twice just go and get it. Just remember to keep it razor sharp all the time, it is designed to give you the best performance that way.

Cheers

Ozslon

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Qually

Lofty Wiseman
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Great share mate. I also have owned the small forest for 7 tears. I find that the rare occasion that I take an axe out these days, its the GB wildlife hatchet as I generally walk a fair way to get to a remote camp. If I go out for a slightly longer trip I generally find that i use my Svensaw to save hiking weight and just cut what I need. If axes are your thing, Weterlings make some nice small carry axes that are worth a look. I have done some experimenting recently and found that I generally can get away without even a saw(just my experience) However, I do Love the GB axes. A proper tool.
 

ozslon

Malcolm Douglas
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Great share mate. I also have owned the small forest for 7 tears. I find that the rare occasion that I take an axe out these days, its the GB wildlife hatchet as I generally walk a fair way to get to a remote camp. If I go out for a slightly longer trip I generally find that i use my Svensaw to save hiking weight and just cut what I need. If axes are your thing, Weterlings make some nice small carry axes that are worth a look. I have done some experimenting recently and found that I generally can get away without even a saw(just my experience) However, I do Love the GB axes. A proper tool.
I agree mate, my bahco Laplander always with me. But axe is more fun and I like to improve my skills by using it. I used to take Fiskar X7 and it is great performer considering weight.
 

Taplow

John McDouall Stuart
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I agree mate, my bahco Laplander always with me. But axe is more fun and I like to improve my skills by using it. I used to take Fiskar X7 and it is great performer considering weight.
+1

Love my Wildlife hatchet, but on longer hikes it's just too heavy to justify. My trusty SAK is always with me, then I add my Laplander saw, a fixed blade knife, spoon and carving knives and lastly the axe as weight becomes less of an issue. The last few are always tempting as having them means more bushcraft activity around the fire at night.
 

Brux

Russell Coight
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Thanks for the review and photos ozslon. Can you share the name of the store where you purchased them? Ill be in Melbourne with the car soon and am keen pick one up without paying the extra postage to Tas. Cheers.
 

Soz

Russell Coight
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Question for everyone here incl OP.
I am looking for a small axe that I can carry with me on overnight hikes.
I currently use a cheap Trojan I have for 15 years which can be a PITA.
I am trying to justify the GB but the Fiskars X7 is third of the cost.
Also, would the carpenters axe have better cutting ability.
Cheers


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MongooseDownUnder

Richard Proenneke
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The GB is a lot more stylish than the X7 in my opnion but the cutting power is about the same. I used to use the Gerber equivalent of the X7 but have since switched to a GB because I like the handle a lot more. The only major difference is the ability to choke up on the handle more with the GB for fine cutting tasks, something which is a bit harder with the X7 because of the head shape. I wouldnt get the carpenters axe unless I had wood carving in mind as a priority, for camping you would possibly be served better by something more general purpose. Have you had a look at the Hultafors range they are very similiar but quite a lot cheaper that the GB axes?
 

Soz

Russell Coight
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The GB is a lot more stylish than the X7 in my opnion but the cutting power is about the same. I used to use the Gerber equivalent of the X7 but have since switched to a GB because I like the handle a lot more. The only major difference is the ability to choke up on the handle more with the GB for fine cutting tasks, something which is a bit harder with the X7 because of the head shape. I wouldnt get the carpenters axe unless I had wood carving in mind as a priority, for camping you would possibly be served better by something more general purpose. Have you had a look at the Hultafors range they are very similiar but quite a lot cheaper that the GB axes?
Thank you for the advice. I didn't look at the Hultafors before but now you have mentioned it I will.
Cheers
Soz


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Bloffy13

Jon Muir
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Bloffy's RDQ (Really Dumb Question) for the day.
Apart from looking stylishly cool and coming out of the box nice n sharp, what is to stop you using a cheap arse Trojan as opposed to a GB or Hultafors etc?
I don't carry an axe of any sort atm but would be interested. I have a no-name 2 1/2 pound head which i have stripped the red paint off etc, and ground the bent over bits etc. I am working on getting it sharp with some results and will put a new handle on it in the near future.
As an axe noob, am I better just bashing this bad boy to death before looking at upgrading to something fancy.
I look at it that I got a Mora first before I progressed to a better knife. Is it the same with axes?
Cheers
Bloffy
 

MongooseDownUnder

Richard Proenneke
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Bloffy's RDQ (Really Dumb Question) for the day.
Apart from looking stylishly cool and coming out of the box nice n sharp, what is to stop you using a cheap arse Trojan as opposed to a GB or Hultafors etc?
I don't carry an axe of any sort atm but would be interested. I have a no-name 2 1/2 pound head which i have stripped the red paint off etc, and ground the bent over bits etc. I am working on getting it sharp with some results and will put a new handle on it in the near future.
As an axe noob, am I better just bashing this bad boy to death before looking at upgrading to something fancy.
I look at it that I got a Mora first before I progressed to a better knife. Is it the same with axes?
Cheers
Bloffy
I think it depends on what you feel comfortable with. I started out with an old half axe my grandfather gave me. It worked fine for chopping wood but was not very suitable for anything that required more finesse. I much prefer my GB or Wetterlings to my old boys axe for balance an performance.
 

Askew

Ray Mears
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Bloffy's RDQ (Really Dumb Question) for the day.
Apart from looking stylishly cool and coming out of the box nice n sharp, what is to stop you using a cheap arse Trojan as opposed to a GB or Hultafors etc?
I don't carry an axe of any sort atm but would be interested. I have a no-name 2 1/2 pound head which i have stripped the red paint off etc, and ground the bent over bits etc. I am working on getting it sharp with some results and will put a new handle on it in the near future.
As an axe noob, am I better just bashing this bad boy to death before looking at upgrading to something fancy.
I look at it that I got a Mora first before I progressed to a better knife. Is it the same with axes?
Cheers
Bloffy
Nothing really. Some of those cheap axes have pretty poor geometry but if your happy to reprofile them they'll work fine. Or you pay more and get an axe that needs little if any work before its good to go. Depends on what you're using the axe for too.
As for the Mora comparison, a mora is still a good knife. I've got a cheap little hatchet I bought off evil Bay that's about the same size and weight as a GB mini. It's a decent chopper for its size but I wouldn't use it for anything other than firewood. I recently got to hold a GB mini and the difference was amazing, the balance and feel of it made it obvious why people rate it so highly. I can see it being useful for carving and fine work.
Personally I think it's worth paying more for a good axe or hatchet. They are much nicer to use, and probably safer too. A cut from a sharp knife heals faster, so a finger severed with a sharp axe must be easier to reattach...
 

Aussie123

Never Alone In The Bush
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I think its covered, but it really depends what you want to do with the axe.

The X7 or Bahco etc are great for firewood, but some of the GB Wetterlings etc axes are much better for carving and "bushcrafting".
The balance and geometry make a difference when you are trying to do intricate tasks (as opposed to bash a lump of wood into kindling).

The extended heel and toe (and the cheek) all allow great control over how the axe is held and used and allows it to be choked and still get the blade to cut (without banging your knuckles).
Some of the "extreme" shape are actually very useful when carving

... so for firewood, anything is OK.
... for carving ..... its more complex
 

Soz

Russell Coight
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Bloffy's RDQ (Really Dumb Question) for the day.
Apart from looking stylishly cool and coming out of the box nice n sharp, what is to stop you using a cheap arse Trojan as opposed to a GB or Hultafors etc?
I don't carry an axe of any sort atm but would be interested. I have a no-name 2 1/2 pound head which i have stripped the red paint off etc, and ground the bent over bits etc. I am working on getting it sharp with some results and will put a new handle on it in the near future.
As an axe noob, am I better just bashing this bad boy to death before looking at upgrading to something fancy.
I look at it that I got a Mora first before I progressed to a better knife. Is it the same with axes?
Cheers
Bloffy
The Trojan that I have been using in my opinion is too soft and needs regular sharpening and the blade profile is too thick. It works ok on soft material but very tiring on harder woods.
Last night I looked at the profile of the GB and other European axes (on YouTube) they looked thinner and probably better cutters but I don't think ~$200 is justified, that's why I also mentioned the Fiskars x7 which is a more reasonable $65.

The research is still on.

BTW for the aficionados there is an Australian hand forged hatchet called Razorback worth $250. Nice looking axe but very expensive.
 
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