Monday, June 23, 2008

Something for the survival kit for the car,

or at home. And damn useful it is. An axe. Doesn't have to be big and heavy, just something of decent quality that holds an edge and cuts well.

Let's see, trees across the road? Firewood? For that matter, last-ditch weapon? Good for all, but let's forget the more dramatic stuff for a moment. Pruning in the yard? Or cutting up pruned limbs? Very handy, indeed.

You can get a decent hatchet for a few dollars, and an axe for not much more. This is one of the tools that, if you can, I'd strongly suggest you spend a little more for a good one: it'll cut better and more easily, and stay sharp longer. Instead of new, you can look through flea markets(you can sometimes find all kinds of stuff there) and find an old head and put a good handle on it; I've seen some damn good old heads for a few dollars, clean them up and stick in a handle. I haven't seriously looked at what's out there in a while, so can't make much in the way of recommendations. I can say I bought one of these back last fall when the place had them on sale, and it's one of the best tools I've ever bought. Came from the maker sharp enough to scare hoplophobes, a really good handle properly set and a cover for the head. And this thing cuts really well, the bevels were made by someone who really knows their business. They've got three listed by that maker right now, if you're in the market for a hatchet or mid-size might take a look. Ok, I just searched on Wetterlings and got a bunch of hits from suppliers. There's also some on Gränsfors Brucks, seems to be a hand-forged products, priced accordingly.

In any case, a good axe is a very handy tool to have around.


Arthur said...

Most survival kit lists I've seen emphasize a wire saw over an axe. The reasoning being you can use it to cut up firewood, but the chances of slipping and hacking body parts off is limited.

Heh, if you were really clumsy I guess you garrote yourself with it, but..... :P

Mattexian said...

I like my Cold Steel Rifleman's 'Hawk under the seat in my truck. It goes well with the machete in the covered bed. There's also a surplus Swiss short shovel there too; these are all much better for self-defense than a wire saw, especially against zombies!

Stephen Renico said...


Have you ever made an axe in the forge?

Firehand said...

Dammit, Matt beat me to it: axe gives you reach the wire doesn't when the critters rise!

I've got a good wire saw in the stuff I carry when out in the woods. But since the truck is carrying the weight, I like the all-around usefulness of an axe.

Stephen, I have. Found a picture, I'll get it posted soon.

Anonymous said...

I have an old Norlund hand axe of the Hudson Bay pattern. Fun, but for any real work the eye is too small to retain the handle, the major shortcoming of the Hudson Bay pattern axes. I use it for splitting kindling, driving tent pegs and field dressing animals bigger than deer. For real work, I have a Fiskars cruiser size axe. With 1.75 lb. head and a resin handle, it is Norwegian proof. Well, highly Norski resistant, anyway and sharp as a dang razor, too. If memory serves, I paid about 25 bucks for it a couple years ago. Its shortcoming is its space age appearance.

In my Mountain Man trek gear, I have a very small Ft. Meigs pattern axe with a slat handle. The head weighs about half a pound, and is 4" long 3/8" thick with a 2" cutting edge. As a Camp Axe it is a delight and for gathering firewood, unparalleled. It rides in a sheath sewn to the back of my hunting pouch.

Gerry N.

The Conservative UAW Guy said...

Garage sales are good places to find axes (if you don't make your own..).

Firehand said...

I'd never heard that about the Hudson Bay patterns.

That Fort Meigs sounds nice, I'm going to have to find a picture of one.