Friday, January 21, 2011

Truper 1.25lb Camp Axe (Wood Handle) Review

This is yet another low cost axe that I have been waiting to review for a while. It seems to be available at every Home Depot that I’ve seen, so I thought people might want to see something about it. This hatchet exemplifies what people mean when they say “hardware store axe”.

Truper Herramientas
Axe Head Weight: 1.25 lb
Axe Length: About 13.5 inches
Axe Head Material: Unknown carbon steel
Handle Material: Hickory
Cost: $12.00

As you might remember, Truper Herramientas is a Mexican company that purchased Collins Axe, and as such is the manufacturer of the Collins Hunter’s Axe which I reviewed earlier. Considering how bad the Collins axe was, this one seems like a great improvement.

Like with my other hatchet reviews, I will be comparing the Truper Camp Axe/Hatchet to the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet. Here you can see the two of them next to each other.

The handle is the same length as the Wildlife Hatchet, bringing it to about 13.5 inches. It is comfortable and well shaped, although it has a bit too much polish on it. The grain of the Truper hatchet was perfect. It is as good as the gain on the Collins axe was bad.

The head of the Truper Camp Axe is heavier than that of the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet by a quarter of a pound. The overall shape is not bad, but the convex of the cutting edge is way too thick. With a lot of time and effort it can be reworked since the cheeks are not too thick, but I am not sure it is worth it.

The head is attached to the handle using a wooden wedge and a circular metal wedge. It held securely during the testing. For the tests I sharpened the hatchet, as it was completely dull when I bough it, but I did not re-profile it in any way.

When it came to performance, the Truper Camp Axe fell far behind the Wildlife Hatchet. The thick cutting edge limited its ability to penetrate the wood, and chopping ability suffered even though the Truper hatchet has a heavier head than the Gransfors Bruks one.

With respect to splitting, the Truper did quite sell. The same characteristics that limited its chopping ability, made for a good splitter. The thick edge and added weight, put it in the lead as a splitter.

Overall, this is what I would consider a “hardware store axe”. It is not good, but it’s also not particularly bad. If you are looking for a hatchet that you can abuse around the backyard, and can double as a hammer in the tool shed, then this is a perfectly good choice. With respect to bushcraft however, it leaves a lot to be desired. Even for this money, there are better options out there. The thick cutting edge, makes this tool hard to use as an all around hatchet. It is not an easy fix either. You would have to remove a good amount of metal before you can get any kind of performance from this axe.

It was interesting to see that the quality of the Truper hatchet was higher than that of the Collins axe I tested earlier. This could be a result of the manufacturer putting more effort into the tools which carry their name, or it could be an issue of low quality control.

As far as I know, the manufacturer produces additional bushcraft appropriate axes: The Michigan Pattern Single Bit Axe (3.5lb head; 36 inches in length), The Boy's Axe (2.25lb head; 28 inches in length), The Michigan Pattern Double Bit Axe (3.5lb head; 34 inches in length), The Jersey Pattern Single Bit Axe (3.5lb head; 36 inches in length), and The Hudson Bay Axe (1.75lb head; 28 inches in length).