What is the right axe for you?

One of the most common questions we receive here at Nordic Outdoor is ‘what is the right axe for me’. With such a wide range of options available from our preferred axe brand Gransfors Bruk we understand that this can be a tricky decision for someone just beginning to enter the wonderful world of axes.

The good news is that no matter what you are looking to do we probably have the right axe for you, from wood carving to tree felling and everything in between the team at Gransfors Bruk have created the perfect axe for every task.

In this blog we are looking at some of the most common reasons we have customers looking to pick up a new axe and see which option fits best. Remember if you’re looking to get involved in something that’s not on the list below then get in touch with the team here at Nordic Outdoor and we can advise on the best choice for your next adventure!


Camping and Hiking

With our Head Office being in Edinburgh the team here at Nordic Outdoor have the great outdoors in our back garden and are constantly looking for any excuse to get out for a camping weekend. When we head out the main thoughts are getting the right axe for collecting wood for the campfire without weighing down our pack for the walk.

When you are spending all day tackling a Munro before setting up basecamp you want to make sure the axe you take is light enough for a full days travel and where possible is small enough to fit in your rucksack. The Small Hatchet is a great choice for trips where you know good wood will be in abundance as it is perfect for limbing and splitting down kindling and at only 26cm it is small enough to fit in your pack.

Other options include the Small Forest Axe or Outdoor Axe, both of which can be used for felling and limbing small trees without being too cumbersome to carry on your trip. 


Splitting Wood

Is it a log burning stove keeping you warm in the Winter months? Maybe you are looking to break down some larger logs to begin a carving project? Whatever your reason when you are splitting wood there is no better choice of Axe than a Gransfors Bruk.
The Gransfors Bruk Splitting axes have a large and heavy head which is forged and then ground into a concave shape with a relatively thin edge. While the Forest Axes are designed to cut across the grain of the wood fibres the Splitting Axes are designed to cut along the grain of the wood.
Due to the strain the handle is put under during the splitting process Gransfors have added a metal collar to all of their splitting axes to protect the handle, their handles are also grooved towards the end to provide an extra firm grip when in use.

Choosing the right kind of splitting axe all comes down to the kind of wood you will be working with. For smaller pieces of wood we recommend the splitting hatchet, for medium sized firewood we recommend the small splitting axe and for larger pieces you should look to the large splitting axe.
If the wood you are working with is particularly thick and knotty then we would always advise purchasing the Gransfors Bruk splitting maul which is the heaviest axe they produce weighing in at a hefty 3.2kg.


Wood Carving

Wood carving has seen a burst in popularity in recent years and while there are many great knives from the likes of Morakniv which can be used for Carving there is also the option of using one of the specially designed Gransfors Bruk Carving Axes. Designed in conjunction with expert woodsmen and carpenters the Gransfors Bruk Log Building and Carpentry axes are based on traditional tools which have been modified to meet the demands of todays users.

If you are looking to get involved in some artistic wood carving, hew a bowl or tackle some wooden architectural work then the Swedish Carving Axe is a great choice. This axe was designed in conjunction with Wille Sundqvist who wrote the best-selling ‘Swedish Carving Techniques’.
The characteristic curved shape of the cutting edge carried well above the head's eye, the position of the edge in proportion to the handle, the rather thick bit and the big angle of the wide bevelled face makes this axe an exceptional carving tool.

For Carving projects which require a higher degree of stability and precision we recommend looking at the Gransfors Bruk Carpenters Axe. This axe has a long, thin and straight edge with a straight bevel face and a narrower poll which gives and even carving surface.
Due to the design of the head which curves from the heel to lip you can grip almost straight above the centre of the cutting edge which gives the carpenters axe the added precision.

Log Building

While many in the UK will see Log Building as a forgotten art this is still alive and well and some of the most exciting projects we’ve seen have involved Log Built cabins in the most unusual of places. Our friend Dave Crosbie from Tree-ditions Woodland Crafts school has some great photos of a log built cabin he created that you can see over on his website. If Log Building is your calling then there are two Gransfors Bruk products that you shouldn’t be without; The Broad Axe and the Swedish Drawknife.

The Broad Axe is a traditional axe which can be used for squaring logs and planks. With a double-sided knife grind this axe is perfect for making joints but can also be used for all sorts of timber and plank hewing. The head of the axe is designed to allow enough space between the bears blade and handle for the user’s fingers.

The Swedish Drawknife is a little bit different than most Gransfors products as it is a curved, double handed design rather than a traditional axe. Used mainly for debarking and shaping logs the protruding handles allow you to get a huge amount of power behind each stroke.


Axe Throwing

If you don’t want to take up wood whittling, tackle an overnight camp or build your next family home then maybe you can try your hand at Axe throwing. The Double Bit Axe was initially designed for forest workers in North America in the mid 19th century who wanted one axe that could perform a variety of tasks. As the forest workers didn’t have the Nordic Outdoor blog to keep them entertained and could be away from civilisation for months at a time they often kept themselves amused by throwing these heavy double bit axes at a target – birthing the sport of axe throwing.

Today the double bit axes are almost exclusively used for axe throwing and have been designed with a centre of gravity to allow the axe to rotate in the air. While Gransfors Bruk do produce a Double bit axe this is in limited production so stock tends to fly out the door. Here at Nordic Outdoor we have sourced another brilliant double bit axe from the Hultafors Forge. The Wetterhall throwing axe head is stuck 40-60 times to increase density and durability. Named after the companies longest ever serving employee Bo Wetterhall this is a brilliant and quirky addition to any Axe collection.

We hope this blog has been helpful in helping you work out what is the best axe for your chosen hobby and as we said at the start if you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Nordic Outdoor who would be more than happy to help! If you want to keep up to date with the latest arrivals and news at Nordic Outdoor then make sure to follow us across our social channels.