A while back you saw me review the Garant Cougar axe. This is one of the larger models made by Garant, and was shipped to me from Canada by the same friend who sent me the Cougar axe. The Garant axes are not available in the US, although their parent company, Ames True Temper has other brands available here.
Manufacturer: Garant/Ames True Temper
Axe Head Weight: 1.75 lb
Axe Length: 26 inches
Axe Head Material: Unknown carbon steel
Handle Material: Hickory
The axe comes in at a very good price. Here you can see the Garant Grizzly (CHS17526) next to the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe.
The handle of the Garant Grizzly is of fairly low quality. It is not very well finished, and the fitting to the head is rough. A feature I found interesting about the handle is that the yellow section you see in the picture is not just painted, but rather has some rough coating that resembles course sand paper. I imagine this feature was put there so the axe can be used more easily with work gloves. However, if you are using it without gloves, it will be tough going, and there will be some damage done to your hand after some time.
The head of the Garant Grizzly has a fairly wide eye and thick cheeks. The edge has a secondary bevel that is not convexed. The head weight is listed at being 1.75 lb, same as that of the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe (which is often incorrectly listed as having a 2 lb head), but it feels heavier than that. I would say it is closer to 2 lb.
The head is attached using just a wooden wedge. It doesn’t seem like a lot of time was spent trying to get a perfect fit. In fact the overall grind and finish of the head seems to have been done in a hurry, leaving a lot to be desired in terms of quality.
However, the axe is very well balanced. While to me personally this head feels a little heavy for this handle, the balance seems good.
With all these rough characteristics, it may seem like the axe would not perform particularly well. In fact, that is exactly what I expected when I started testing it. The results however were quite different. Here you can see the results of 25 swings with the Garant Grizzly and the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe respectively on a piece of hickory.
The performance of the two axes seems very comparable when it comes to chopping. The wider cheeks of the Garant would also give it an advantage when splitting, although perhaps with a bit more sticking (nothing that I was able to detect on fairly small pieces of wood).
Overall, this seems to be a very straight forward working axe. It appears to have been designed for someone working in logging or forestry, who will use it to beat on whatever gets in the way of the chainsaw without much regard to damaging it. It has a fairly low price, and absolutely no energy has been expanded trying to make the axe feel refined. It’s performance is very good for that type of money, although it certainly will not make for a good decoration piece.