Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wetterlings Forest Axe SAW26H Review

As you have probably noticed, I have not done any reviews of Wetterlings axes so far. The reason is that they are a fairly popular manufacturer, and there is lots of good information about their products out there. As it happens however, a friend of mine, Glenn, decided to send me his Wetterlings Forest Axe so I can try it out. I can’t say no to an offer like that, so here is the review of the axe.


Manufacturer: S.A. Wetterlings
Axe Head Weight: Listed as 1.88 lb; I would estimate it closer to 2 lb
Axe Length: Listed as 26 inches; 25 inches as measured
Axe Head Material: Carbon Steel; RC 57-58
Handle Material: Hickory
Cost: $120.00


Perhaps the main competitor to the Wetterlings Forest Axe is the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe. At first glance, they appear to be nearly identical designs. That is why here I will compare the two axes. You can see them side by side.



The two axes have nearly identical handles in terms of size and feel. The Wetterlings clearly does not have a lanyard hole, while the Gransfors Bruks does. Of course, that does not effect performance in any way. Wetterlings actually makes their own handles in their factory. Gransfors Bruks and the rest of the Swedish axe manufacturers outsource their handle production. It is interesting that despite that both handles are so similar. The grain of the Wetterlings handle (left) is also very good.

a (26)

The head design, while overall similar, has some differences. The Wetterlings head (right) is definitely heavier than the Gransfors Bruks one. Since the Gransfors Bruks head is about 1.75 lb, I estimate the Wetterlings one to be about 2 lb, although the listed 1.88 lb could be correct. The additional weight is mostly towards the front of the head. You can see the difference here:


The added weight at the front of the head effects the balance of the axe, making it bit heavy, although I can not notice any performance disadvantage.


There has been some talk recently about how each of the heads is made. There has been some speculation that the heads are hand made and the metal folded around the eye. As evidence for the theory, people have pointed out a slight split near the eye of some axes. While from what I have seen, both axes are made the same way on an open dye drop forge from a solid bar of steel, here is the split that people are talking about. You’ll notice that in this instance, it is present on the Wetterlings head (left), but not of the Gransfors Bruks one.

a (17)

In terms of performance, the Wetterling does a better job than the Gransfors Bruks because of the added weight. With such similar designs, the added weight makes a clear difference both with chopping and splitting.

Interestingly, the Wetterlings Forst Axe is virtually identical to the Husqvarna Traditional Axe that I tested earlier. The reason for that of course is that Wetterlings used to make the Husqvarna axes. The results are identical. If you need any further information on the Wettrlings, you can look at the Husqvarna review.

The Wetterlings Forest Axe comes with a leather sheath. Unfortunately I do not have it, so I have not been able to show it to you.

The Wetterlings Forest Axe is a solid performer. It is not nearly as well polished and finished as the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe, but in terms of performance it more that holds its own. There have been some complaints about the finish quality of the axe, but as a working tool, it meets all expectations.

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