Friday, September 16, 2011

Snow & Nealley Boy’s Axe Review

As you guys may remember, a while back I did a review of the Snow & Nealley Hudson Bay axe. I ended up being very disappointed with the extremely low quality control of the manufacturer. Well, I decided to give them a second chance, and review their Boy’s axe.

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Manufacturer: Snow & Nealley
Axe Head Weight: 2.25 lb
Axe Length: 28 inches
Axe Head Material: Unknown carbon steel
Handle Material: Hickory
Cost: $68


The Snow & Nealley Boy’s axe is reasonably priced as a mid range axe. A quality axe with a $70 price tag would be a bargain, although, if the quality is low, it is more money than I would want to risk. For this review I will compare it to the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe just for reference purposes. Clearly the Boy’s axe is quite a bit heavier.

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The handle of the Snow & Nealley Boy’s axe (left) has a good shape to it, but on the one I got, the grain orientation was horrible. As you can see from the picture, it is completely horizontal. The handle is covered in varnish, which is not bad, and is well applied, but I know many people prefer to remove it on their axes.

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The head of the Snow & Nealley Boy’s axe is a very well designed Dayton pattern head. In terms of design, I could not find any faults with it. The edge needs to be thinned out for the axe to be exactly how I like it, but that would not take more than 20 minutes with a file and stone. The head is attached to the handle using an aluminum wedge. You can not see it in the picture because the top of all Snow & Nealey axe heads is covered with black paint. In terms of quality however, the head leaves a lot to be desired. The eye was again not well aligned, so the head sits at a slight angle to the handle. While this defect is not nearly as bad as that on the Hudson Bay axe I reviewed earlier, it is still something that should have been caught in quality control. That being said, this was still a usable axe.

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The axe has fairly good balance. It is slightly bit heavy, but overall, the balance is good.

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The axe comes with a leather sheath that covers the bit. However, as with all sheaths of this design that I have encountered, it comes right off in the pack. It appears that they use the same sheath for several of their axes, so the fit is not great.

The performance of the axe will depend on what you do with the edge. Out of the box, it was not what I would call sharp, and the edge was too thick for my liking. The whole bit itself was fairly thin, but the edge needs work. A thinned out and sharpened edge should give you a well performing axe. Out of the box however, you should not expect too much. The axe is a little heavier than I would like. I don’t know if it is the heavier head or the thicker handle, but it feels heavier than the Council Tool Boy’s axe.

As a design however, the axe is a good one. Other than minor things, I can’t find too many faults. The quality control however is once again where the axe is let down. While not nearly as bad as the last Snow & Neally axe I reviewed, the quality control with this one is still inexcusably low. Perhaps Snow& Nealley can merge with Condor Knife and Tool, so we can get a well designed axe that is well made.

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