Hatchets & Tomahawks?

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JD Spydo
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Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby JD Spydo » Sat Aug 22, 2020 7:47 am

We've had a couple of great threads on axes in the past year or so. But one outdoor tool we don't hear much about are the "hatchets & tomahawks". I've had a Sears Craftsman hatchet that I bought in the early 80s for a long time and I take it on every hunting trip I go on. It's a great tool for field dressing deer and other animals and it's also a handy tool to have when camping out. That old Sears hatchet has become a sentimental favorite of mine. It's a really well made tool and one I don't want to do without.

I'll admit up front that I know very little about tactical tomahawks. I've been tempted in the past to buy one of Cold Steel's "Viet Nam Tomahawk". And I've heard how valuable of a self defense tool that some of these tactical tomahawks are.

Now I find my 3 hatchets to be tools that I do use every so often. But I'm not sure if a tactical tomahawk is something I need to invest in. That's one big reason I want to talk about it. But I do want to talk about both tools. I've heard that my Sears Craftsman hatchet was made by the Vaughn Tool Co. I tend to believe it because the Vaughn hammers I've owned and used over the years were really well made. OK let's talk about hatchets & tomahawks.

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby ChrisinHove » Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:02 pm

Hi JD, I have a Gransfors Bruks Outdoors Axe, which is more or less a tomahawk I guess. It’s a great garden tool, managing splitting kindling, general trimming tasks and deterring Viking raiders (ironically) equally well. It’s not as forgiving as my old Kent pattern hatchet, but much more pleasing to own and use!

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby JD Spydo » Sat Aug 22, 2020 2:02 pm

ChrisinHove wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:02 pm
Hi JD, I have a Gransfors Bruks Outdoors Axe, which is more or less a tomahawk I guess. It’s a great garden tool, managing splitting kindling, general trimming tasks and deterring Viking raiders (ironically) equally well. It’s not as forgiving as my old Kent pattern hatchet, but much more pleasing to own and use!
I'm going to have to break down one day and get a couple of these Grandfors Bruks tools. I hear nothing but good about them. Their big axes sure look cool. It seems to me that I've seen a hatchet that they made once on a website. I'm pretty sure it was made by them.

Grandfors Bruks also has a really good splitting maul. I talked to a guy about a year ago who has one and he said it's a great tool. You can't beat quality>> which is why most of us are on this Forum :cool:

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby xceptnl » Sat Aug 22, 2020 3:56 pm

I've been meaning to pick up one of the Cold Steel Viking hand axes for some time now. Despite their handle length as sold, the shape of the handle and fitment of the head make it more of a tomahawk in my opinion. I know that purchasing almost any of the low cost tools from CS can mean a tinkering project will be in my future, but I was actually looking forward to that. I have seen a multitude of videos on YouTube where outdoorsmen have cut down the handle and made throwing axes from them.
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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby JD Spydo » Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:47 pm

xceptnl wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 3:56 pm
I've been meaning to pick up one of the Cold Steel Viking hand axes for some time now. Despite their handle length as sold, the shape of the handle and fitment of the head make it more of a tomahawk in my opinion. I know that purchasing almost any of the low cost tools from CS can mean a tinkering project will be in my future, but I was actually looking forward to that. I have seen a multitude of videos on YouTube where outdoorsmen have cut down the handle and made throwing axes from them.
Well I just about fainted when I checked into one of Grandfors Bruks hatchets. Lee Valley who I've done business with in the past had one listed at $143 USA :eek: Hey I love high quality tools but that's even higher than the stratosphere :rolleyes:

Oh I knew that Grandfors Bruks was not a "Rip-Mart" product nor is it an item you would find at a thrift store or flea market.

With that said I might be checking out an ESTWING model or I might even venture over to Cold Steel myself. Because in the past I've found that most of Cold Steel's products and ESTWINGS tools are reasonably priced and they both perform very well for the most part. I'm guessing that Grandfors Bruks is the "Rolex" watch equivalent of the axe market :rolleyes:

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby xceptnl » Sat Aug 22, 2020 6:28 pm

If you are interested in a compromise, husqvarna has their axes made by Hultafors Burks. Their hatchet is in the $49 range.
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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby ChrisinHove » Sun Aug 23, 2020 1:47 am

JD Spydo wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:47 pm
xceptnl wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 3:56 pm
I've been meaning to pick up one of the Cold Steel Viking hand axes for some time now. Despite their handle length as sold, the shape of the handle and fitment of the head make it more of a tomahawk in my opinion. I know that purchasing almost any of the low cost tools from CS can mean a tinkering project will be in my future, but I was actually looking forward to that. I have seen a multitude of videos on YouTube where outdoorsmen have cut down the handle and made throwing axes from them.
Well I just about fainted when I checked into one of Grandfors Bruks hatchets. Lee Valley who I've done business with in the past had one listed at $143 USA :eek: Hey I love high quality tools but that's even higher than the stratosphere :rolleyes:

Oh I knew that Grandfors Bruks was not a "Rip-Mart" product nor is it an item you would find at a thrift store or flea market.

With that said I might be checking out an ESTWING model or I might even venture over to Cold Steel myself. Because in the past I've found that most of Cold Steel's products and ESTWINGS tools are reasonably priced and they both perform very well for the most part. I'm guessing that Grandfors Bruks is the "Rolex" watch equivalent of the axe market :rolleyes:
I was considering the Spyderco Genzow hatchethawk but the Gransfors Bruks was virtually half the price of the Spyderco here.

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby Cambertree » Sun Aug 23, 2020 11:05 am

The GBs are great tools. I have a few of them.

The Mini Hatchet is an interesting and original design - a small hatchet designed to take the place of a belt knife on hiking and fishing trips.

It reminds me a little bit, conceptually of the small hatchet which Horace Kephart talks about having custom made in his book Camping and Woodcraft.

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby Peter1960 » Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:37 pm

JD Spydo wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:47 pm
Well I just about fainted when I checked into one of Grandfors Bruks hatchets. Lee Valley who I've done business with in the past had one listed at $143 USA :eek: Hey I love high quality tools but that's even higher than the stratosphere :rolleyes:
Welcome in the club Joe! We all in Europe have the same feeling concerning Spydercos prices here ... ;)

BTW - the swedish hatchets in question have "grandfather design" but the company is called Gränsfors . :p
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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby VashHash » Sun Aug 23, 2020 9:07 pm

JD you get what you pay for. Gransfors are all hand forged and marked by the smith. I watched a video on them and the smiths will give the guy flack if his axe comes back with an issue. I've handled a friend's many years ago and it was razor sharp from the factory. The quality is definitely there.

I've used H&B forge for throwing tomahawks. They even did custom grinds for me. Unfortunately they went up in price but it's hand forged and they use the old school technique of forging a bit steel (1095 i think} between low carbon steel. Their franciscan tomahawk has been on my list for awhile.

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby kennethsime » Sun Aug 23, 2020 9:47 pm

JD Spydo wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:47 pm
Well I just about fainted when I checked into one of Grandfors Bruks hatchets. Lee Valley who I've done business with in the past had one listed at $143 USA :eek: Hey I love high quality tools but that's even higher than the stratosphere :rolleyes:
xceptnl wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 6:28 pm
If you are interested in a compromise, husqvarna has their axes made by Hultafors Burks. Their hatchet is in the $49 range.
Came here to say this, xceptnl. JD has seen pictures of my Hults Bruk axe. My impression is that Hultafors is a small step down in terms of quality assurance from Hults Bruk, and Husqvarna is in turn just a small step down in quality control from Hultafors. All made in the same factory. I got an axe sharpening stone from Amazon that was supposed to be from Hults Burk, came in a Hultafors sheet: still sharpens up the axes real nice.

I do like the looks of the GB Small Forest Axe, but I think I'll end up with another Hults Bruk based on the price.

Has anyone tried a Council Tool hatchet? They have a few great American-made options in the $50-150 price range. The higher-end stuff is made with 5160.
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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby MacLaren » Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:35 am

I really like my little Schrade hatchet
Very sharp, and easy to sharpen
Busts up wood really good too. Also very good to make fine kindling too

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby JD Spydo » Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:46 pm

MacLaren wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:35 am
I really like my little Schrade hatchet
Very sharp, and easy to sharpen
Busts up wood really good too. Also very good to make fine kindling too
Hey MAC you've got my curiosity going?? Is the Schrade hatchet you got one of the older models from their "Old Timer" days?? Or is it one of the newer ones made in China?

I would love to have anything they made in the 1980s or earlier. I had also heard that BUCK made a hatchet at one time too. Not completely sure though because I've never seen one. Whoever made my Sears Craftsman unit sure did a good job. Because I've had it and used it a lot since the early part of the 1980s. I was told it was made by the Vaughn tool company and I'm sure that's right.

And the points you guys made about the Grandfors Bruks models being super high quality>> I would still have to test drive one before I would pay $150+ for one. Because I use hatchets and axes really hard when I do use them.

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby MacLaren » Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:01 pm

JD Spydo wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 12:46 pm
MacLaren wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 11:35 am
I really like my little Schrade hatchet
Very sharp, and easy to sharpen
Busts up wood really good too. Also very good to make fine kindling too
Hey MAC you've got my curiosity going?? Is the Schrade hatchet you got one of the older models from their "Old Timer" days?? Or is it one of the newer ones made in China?

I would love to have anything they made in the 1980s or earlier. I had also heard that BUCK made a hatchet at one time too. Not completely sure though because I've never seen one. Whoever made my Sears Craftsman unit sure did a good job. Because I've had it and used it a lot since the early part of the 1980s. I was told it was made by the Vaughn tool company and I'm sure that's right.

And the points you guys made about the Grandfors Bruks models being super high quality>> I would still have to test drive one before I would pay $150+ for one. Because I use hatchets and axes really hard when I do use them.
Unfortunately, it's a newer one. But, its done right by me so far. I honestly cannot complain.

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby JD Spydo » Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:40 pm

One brand of tool that I've found to have consistent quality no matter what type of striking tool I've ever bought by them is the ESTWING company. As far as I know they are still USA made and still have strict Quality Control standards. I was given a carpenter's claw hammer made by them when I was a Senior in High School ( I still own and use that tool by the way 48 years later). I was working for that same Carpenter as a laborer but occasionally got to help him do some rough-in work. He sure knew his tools.

Since then I've bought at least a dozen different tools from the ESTWING company over the years and I never had a complaint about any of them. ESTWING & Vaughan both always impressed me with their quality.

It's interesting that some of these older companies that have put out great quality for years but yet you don't hear much said about them for some strange reason. It would also be interesting to find out who made hatchets for most of the major hardware chains. Hardware chains like ACE, Coast to Coast, True Value and a few others that we grew up with always seemed to carry decent quality tools but with the name of the hardware chain on them it's hard to say who actually made them.

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby OldHoosier62 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:35 pm

My axes are all old Craftsman models from the 50's and 60's. Probably use the 3lb. Boy's axe more than anything other than the chainsaw these days.

My hatchets are old Plumb, Eastwing and 2 Swiss fire hatchets.

My tomahawks are HB Forge, Beaver Bill and a genuine Peter LaGana Vietnam fighting tomahawk ( packed away and never used, gift from a dear friend and Vietnam Vet) The HB's are my working/camping/hunting hawks, the Beaver Bill's are strictly fighting hawks.

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby JD Spydo » Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:36 pm

OldHoosier62 wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:35 pm
My axes are all old Craftsman models from the 50's and 60's. Probably use the 3lb. Boy's axe more than anything other than the chainsaw these days.

My hatchets are old Plumb, Eastwing and 2 Swiss fire hatchets.

My tomahawks are HB Forge, Beaver Bill and a genuine Peter LaGana Vietnam fighting tomahawk ( packed away and never used, gift from a dear friend and Vietnam Vet) The HB's are my working/camping/hunting hawks, the Beaver Bill's are strictly fighting hawks.
Hard to go wrong with Sears Craftsman tools. They usually were careful to see that whoever made their tools gave them good quality units for sure. The one Sears Craftsman hatchet I bought in the early 80s I paid $32 for it>> and that was a chunk of change to pay for a hatchet back in those days. But it's been a great, reliable tool over the years and as much as I've used the tool it has most certainly paid for itself several times over.

Plumb is tool company I haven't heard much about in quite some time. My late dad had a lot of their tools>> they seemed to be all right. I ended up giving most of them to a really good friend of his and he was happy to get them. I saw a PLUMB hatchet at a garage sale about a year ago and I could kick myself for not buying it. Heck they only wanted $5 for it :o

This afternoon I checked out ESTWING's and Vaughan's websites>> both companies are still USA made and they both have a really nice overall selection of great tools. Those ESTWING and Vaughan tools both are great quality for no more than you pay for them. And USA made as well. I've wondered if the old Collins Axe Co. might still make hatchets and axes here in the USA? Always enjoy your feedback Old Hoosier :)

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby JD Spydo » Thu Aug 27, 2020 9:37 pm

I was doing some cruising on the internet this evening and looking at a few websites of tool companies that are still making hatchets and camp axes here in the USA. To my pleasant surprise ESTWING, Vaughan and Council Tool are all still making high hatchets and axes right here in the good ol' USA.

I haven't got to check out some of the other older American companies like Collins, Gerber and Cold Steel but I plan on doing that later. There does seem to be far more USA made hatchets, camp axes and other striking tools available that I thought there would be. Not only that most of these companies are still making stuff here in this country the prices were also reasonable as well ( $40 to $70 range).

Now I will admit that if I had a truck load of disposable cash I would be loading up on these great tools made by Grandfors Bruks and other European made axes, hatchets and camp axes. But with all that said I was pleasantly surprised to learn there are still a few USA companies that still make these great tools.

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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby vivi » Thu Aug 27, 2020 10:51 pm

I've tried more hatchets than I can count. I haven't ever used one that I like better than this humble $30 design - https://www.homedepot.com/p/Fiskars-14- ... /202681690

Why would I choose this over a GB?

- The head never loosens
- They come ground thinner behind the edge than any other hatchet I've purchased
- The prominent flare at the end of the handle means I spend less time adjusting my grip
- The steel performs as well as any other hatchet steel I've used, including a 5160 custom
- I can walk into any Home Depot or Lowes and buy one for $30.

Here's ten minutes of me messing around with one:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=f2dnvbywu_s
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Re: Hatchets & Tomahawks?

Postby DSH007 » Fri Aug 28, 2020 8:41 am

^ Fiskars are GREAT tools!! I have the X11 "17 inch splitting" axe and X27 "36in super splitting" axe. They don't look as nice as traditionals, but man do they ever separate wood! I've never used an axe/maul that has split as well as my X27. And for the money.. phenomenal!

Can't go wrong with the classic Estwings either..
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