Monday, March 21, 2011

A Brief Look at the Gransfors Bruks American Felling Axe

This is another axe from the very well known axe manufacturer Gransfors Bruks. This is a full size felling axe, and I believe is the largest that they offer. These axes are not particularly common, and for that reason I though I would put up some comparison pictures so that people can get a better idea of the tool.

Manufacturer: Gransfors Bruks AB
Axe Head Weight: 3 1/4 lb
Axe Length: 35 inches (also comes with a 31 inch handle)
Axe Head Material: Unknown Swedish steel, HRC 57 on the Rocklwell Scale
Handle Material: American hickory
Cost: $200.00

The Gransfors Bruks American Felling Axe is a beautiful tool. The quality is what we have come to expect from Gransfors Bruks. There were no defects of any type and the final product was ready to use as soon as it arrived. I found the usual Gransfors Bruks design to be a lot more appealing on this larger axe than on the smaller models. The Rockaway head pattern is much more appealing to me in its full form, as seen in the American Felling Axe.

Like I mentioned before, this is a full size axe. With a 3lb head, it is probably the smallest full size felling axe that I have seen, but none the less, it is a substantial tool. Here you can see the Gransfors Bruks American Felling Axe next to the Grasfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe.

The head of the Gransfors Bruks American Felling Axe is very well designed. In this model we can actually see the full pattern on which the smaller Gransfors Bruks axes are based. The smaller models simply take this Rockaway pattern and cut off several inches from the top and then shrink it. I find the head of the American Felling Axe much more appealing than any of the other models Gransfors Bruks produces. It offers a good balance between length of the bit and width of the face. Also, it is hard to see from the picture, but with this model the typical abrupt transition of the cheeks near the eye is gone, making the sides of the head smoothe and continuous.

The convex of the bit is very thin for this size axe, allowing for great chopping ability. As with all Gransfors Bruks axes, you have to be careful to protect the edge, and the thin convex combined with the hardness of the metal leaves it prone to damage. The head is attached to the handle with a wooden wedge and a metal pin just like on the other Gransfors Bruks models with which we are familiar.

The balance of the axe is fairly good, but not as good as on the Scandinavian Forest Axe. The bit hangs a little low. In my opinion the poll could have used a little more weight. Overall however, this is very good balance particularly on a full size axe.

The handle is of very high quality as is to be expected. This model also comes with a 31 inch handle, and with a straight handle. My favorite is the 35 inch curved handle that you see above, but it is good that they offer variations to accommodate people’s preferences.

The axe is a joy to use, and there is nothing negative that I can say about its performance. It is certainly more axe that I would want to carry on my back in the bush, but if I needed a full size axe, this would rank among my top choices. There is nothing special or fancy about it, but the simplicity of a well made, sharp tool is hard to resist.