It ended up being a week-long debate with myself.
I already had a nice Gerber Camp Axe that was given to me as a gift. Did I really need another axe – especially one that cost around $100 bucks?! I mean what was the difference, really?
I chuckle out-loud as I look back at that internal struggle between my wants and my wallet. Compared to my Wetterlings Large Hunting Axe, I now affectionately refer to my Gerber Axe as a beating club. They seriously are that different – I kid you not. I now keep the Gerber axe in the Bronco as a part of my ‘Vehicle Kit’.
Wetterlings is a Swedish Axe Company that has been hand forging axes since 1917. I love the authenticity of these axes. They look hand forged and when you hold it in your hand you can almost picture the blacksmith pounding and shaping the axe head. You can even see the hammer marks in the steel.
At least for me, the story behind a product is almost as important as the product itself and there is just something about the mystique of using a hand-forged axe. But ultimately, my satisfaction comes down to performance. So how does my $100 axe perform?
Here is an excerpt directly from the Wetterlings Web-site:To slowly hand forge an axe is a true hand craft. Wetterlings value the quality of this procedure and allows the work to take it’s time, to perform the absolutely best result possible. It takes decades to learn the craft to perfection.
I use an axe on a regular basis. Besides taking it on back-packing and camping trips year-round, I regularly use my Wetterlings at Willow Haven and at home – both have a wood burning fireplace. I use either my Large Forest Axe or my Large Hunting Axe almost daily from November-March to split fire wood or kindling. I can’t believe how well these axes perform. I could tell a difference from my other axes immediately. I know it sounds a little dramatic but I’m being serious. They just chop wood better – plain and simple. They hold an edge longer and they are also easier to sharpen. I can shave my arm when I hone the blade. That’s pretty impressive for an AXE.
The handle is American Hickory and is rock solid. Each handle I’ve seen has a slightly different shade which even further individualizes each axe. I’ve used my Hunting Axe for a few years now and the head has never loosened from the handle. It’s still as sturdy as the day I bought it. Each of the axes comes with a rugged leather sheath to protect the cutting edge when not in use.
Wetterlings makes a variety of sizes. I own the top 2 in the photo below: The American Forest Axe and the Large Hunting Axe. I keep the Forest Axe at home for splitting wood and I always take the Hunting Axe with me on camping trips, etc… It weighs in at a little over 2 lbs. The others are smaller versions.
We just got in the axe shown on the left called the Wetterlings Classic Scout Axe. It’s a dang cool little axe. It comes with a buckle sheath and a Wetterlings Sew-On Patch. I’ve almost lost my axe in the woods several times. The muted colors of the Hunting Axe help it to blend in perfectly when tossed aside. The red dipped handle of the Scout would help with the issue. I suppose I could just paint my own, though, but I like the natural look too.
Direct from Wetterlings:
- It starts with first-rate Swedish carbon steel being slowly forged by the skilled Wetterlings blacksmiths. Our forging hammers have been used every day since 1917 and it is still the preferred method to reach the best result. No afterwork is needed to correct mistakes or adjust the shape, and we proudly leave small hammer marks that proves it is hand forged. It is free from paint and grinding, carefully hardened, sharpened by hand and polished until it shines.
- We turn the Wetterlings handles from American Hickory in our wood workshop. The wood is hard with long fibers, good stress capacity and high impact-resistance. Premium grade hickory, oiled, lightly waxed handles is securely fitted into the axe eye with traditional wooden wedge, glue and metal wedge.
If you are thinking about getting a camp axe I would highly recommend a Swedish Wetterlings. I can’t imagine you will be disappointed. A Wetterlings would also make an awesome gift for a guy that’s impossible to buy for. There is just something about a rugged, authentic, hand-made working tool. We carry the brand in limited stock here at Willow Haven. If you’re ever here for a training clinic feel free to use ours and try before you buy. That’s just my way of getting guests to split some wood for the fireplace
I’ve posted a factory video from the Wetterings web-site below that I thought you might find interesting.
Let me know your thoughts/questions.
Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,
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