Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Husqvarna Hatchet Review

Here is another hatchet tested in the pursuit of quality tools with reasonable price tags-the Husqvarna Hatchet. It is hard to explain how impressed I am with this tool.

Axe Head Weight: 1.21 lb.
Axe Length: 13 inches
Axe Head Material: Undisclosed Swedish steel.
Handle Material: Hickory
Cost: It can be purchased at most places online for under $40.00.

The Husqvarna Hatchet is not what I would call cheap, coming in at almost exactly $40.00. Compared to other hatchets however, it is the clear winner when it comes to price. A similar Wetterling Hatchet costs about $75.00 and a Gransfors Bruks Hatchet $110.00.

Just like with other hatchet reviews, I will be comparing the Husqvarna Hatchet to the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet, a well known standard in the bushcraft community.

Here you can see the Husqvarna Hatchet next to the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet.

The handle of the Husqvarna Hatchet is an inch shorter than that of the Wildlife Hatchet, coming in at 13 inches as opposed to 14 inches.

The grain of the handle on the Husqvarna Hatchet (left) is as close to perfect as you can get. The example I have has better grain than the Gransfors Bruks (right). You can see that the grain is very straight, and it runs the length of the handle.

The head is heavier than that of the Wildlife Hatchet. It comes in at 1.21 lb, a quarter of a lb more than the Wildlife Hatchet, which has a 1 lb head. The weight of the head falls right between the Grannsfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet and the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe. The head is attached with a wooden wedge, very similar to the method used by Gransfors Bruks, except that no metal pin is used.

While the heads are close to the same size, and have a very similar edge profile, the Husqvarna Hatchet is less concave near the eye, giving it an advantage when splitting wood (not counting the weight difference).

The Husqvarna Hatchet is of very high quality. It was shaving sharp and ready to use out of the box (I know that is important to some people). Both the head and the handle were well finished.

In testing, which included chopping, splitting and carving tasks, I found the Husqvarna Hatchet better suited for me than the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet because of the additional weight. Even though both tools are equally sharp and have a similar grind, the added weight of the Husqvarna Hatchet required me to use less force in my swings. This of course is a personal preference and the choice will depend on one’s body size and method of use.

The leather sheath is held securely and resembles the Gransfors Bruks sheaths. It was a bit dry when I got it, so it required a light oiling.

In all honesty, other than the weight difference, which was a chosen design characteristic, I was not able to find any difference between the quality of the two hatchets. Other than the large price difference, all other characteristics matched up exceptionally well. In fact, I was so impressed by the performance of the Husqvarna Hatchet, that I have replaced my Wildlife Hatchet with it as my main chopping tool.

I can not explain why the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet is three times more expensive than the Husqvarna Hatchet, but it is in no way three times better. In fact, I can not say that it is better in any way. The two hatchets seem identical in terms of quality, and very similar in design. I am very glad that I had a chance to use the Gransfors Bruks Hatchet before buying the Husqvaran one, because otherwise I would have never believed that the two would be of the same quality, or that I would end up choosing the $40.00 hatchet over the $110.00 one.

As far as I know, the manufacturer produces additional bushcraft appropriate axes: The Traditional (Multipurpose) Axe (2.55lb head; 25 inches in length).