Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hultafors Too Afraid to Sell Axes to Americans

Some time ago I did a review on a Hultafors axe that you can see here. As you know, Hultafors now owns Hults Bruk, a very well known axe manufacturer. I got a lot of feedback from the review, showing interest in this line of axes, and the same level of interest has been generated by Sportsman’s Guide, which offers used military surplus axes, many of which appear to be from the same line of Hults Bruk axes.

For some reason however, their axes are impossible to find in the US. I had to have mine shipped to me by a store in Germany. So, I started contacting people to see what can be done. I even contacted Hultafors, but got no answer. Finally, one distributor managed to get through to them and try to buy some of their axes and sell them in the US.

The answer he received from Hultafors was that they do not sell their axes in the US because they are afraid of our product liability laws. In their words, an axe in the wrong hands can mean trouble for them. They refuse to sell any axes to a US distributor.

It is rather sad that a large manufacturer like Hultafors would have such a sub-par legal department as to reach this absurd conclusion about the legal environment in the US. Apparently every other axe manufacturer in the world has no problem selling axes in the US, but Hultafors think they know better.

Let’s hope that one day they hire some lawyers that are actually worth the money. Maybe then we’ll see their axes in the US.


  1. I don't think they have a very big legal department. It's Sweden, why would they need one?

  2. Well i understand them since in USA the product maker is put to pay enormous out-of-the-world money if someone chops his own knee with and axe,or puts a his dog to dry after washing into microvawe oven etc :).

    USA seems to be country where common sense is highly underrated and people are looking fro court cases to make money by doing obviously stupid things with commercial material and then blaming manufacturers.

    No offence but this is how most of us here see USA´s justice & law system.

  3. In a country where you need to place warnings to keep people from killing themselves eating the toner from a Xerox cartridge, you can't really blame them.

    Have you e-mailed Paul from WorkWearCanada/BushcraftCanada.Com? He's a Canadian dealer for Hultafors & Skillers, and being Canada it might be a way to backdoor them into the US easier.

  4. Thanks for the info Tireur. I had not contacted him, but will be sure to do so.

    As far as the legal system, perceptions are what they are. The truth is that there is no more product liability here than there is in any other western country. Our common law system is directly based on the UK one, and I believe so is the Australian one. No axe manufacturer is liable for someone chopping off their foot with an axe due to stupidity. That being said, a crazy person can always sue whoever they want. That however is true in any country with free access to a legal system. The likelihood of that case going anywhere is equally low everywhere.

    It appears Hultafors is basing their “legal” opinion on “A guy who heard from another guy, who read somewhere once that someone sued a company because he chopped his leg off with their axe”. I would expect that from some mom and pop operation that uses Google to do their legal research, but not from the largest axe manufacturer in Sweden. Every other Swedish axe manufacturer, many of them much smaller have figured out how to do business in the US. It seems like Hultafors is just chock full of excuses.

  5. I am told in one of the forums that growing their axe market just doesn't seem to be something in which they are interested. Apparently they want to axpand into work clothing and scafolding in Europe. Seems like a much more logical explanation than the one they provided.

  6. "The truth is that there is no more product liability here than there is in any other western country."

    Well i can chop my toe off, if yu find so stupid sue´s here :). About no grown man here wont sue a tobacco company after smoking for 60 years in a row, and nobodys stupid enough to sue a car company, if he thinks that "cruise control" means that you can turn it on in your van and take a nap in the back of it :).

    Well,these might not be true examples but its strange that you have so many warning stickers put very where. I can see that in axe handle theres 10 inches of warnings to avoid legal cases. That makes sense but doesnt man himself ?

    BUT, its about same here you know, we dont see Wetterlings nor Hultafors axes here too often either. In laplad there are shops selling more of those,as the retailers import them in their own cars,from Sweden. Same goes with Stromeng leukus, they are rare to see in shops.