Thursday, December 13, 2012

Axe replacement Update

Here's the update on my Wetterlings Large Hunters Axe that broke on my last outing in my previous post.  Or to fill you in, I was chopping on a dead standing tree when the heel broke off. 

Customer service from Wetterlings has been non-existent.  I emailed them with pictures the day it happened and to this day have received no response from them.  I contacted the retailer that I received the axe from, over a year ago I might add,  and was trying to get the distributor contact information and to my surprise they told me not worry about that, and that they would exchange my axe for me and they would handle the return with the distributor.   They sent me the new axe and a prepaid return shipping label to use to send my broken axe back to them.  That was a delightful surprise.  I thought if I had just purchased the axe they might do that but not after using it for over a year.  So you might be wondering who this retailer was with such great was Harry J. Epstein Co.

I am not affiliated with them other than being a customer.  So I have certainly lost confidence in Wetterlings so I don't want to vouch about them much anymore.  But if you're buying a Wetterlings I think Harry J Epstein Co. would be a good place.  They have good prices and great service. 

Well now for some comparison between my old axe and the new one I received as there are a little differences.  (Darker handle is old, whiter handle is new)

First thing is the lanyard hole in the handle is back again.  There seemed to be a batch or something without them that my original was a part of.

Next is the heel where my original axe broke now seems to be more intentionally rounded off or removed as my older one had much more of a sharper point on the heel.

grain on the new one was good as was the one on my original

the alignment was not perfect, but it's okay enough.  I will note the shadow line on the handle makes it look a little worse than it really is, due to the angle

the other difference is the sheaths, My older one had much thicker leather and stouter rivets.  I know some recent Wetterlings had stitching instead of rivets that some people were complaining about.  The person at Eptstein said a new shipment had just came in the day I called them so the newer ones look to have this new sheath.  I'm glad they used rivets but the older did seem better.  Strange enough the old sheath would not fit on my newer axe.  The bit seemed a tiny bit longer and won't fit it enough to connect the strap.

old on the left, new on the right

here you can see the leather thickness difference, new one is on the left, old on the right

Next difference is that Wetterlings is no longer using a metal wedge in the hafting process.  I don't see that being an issue, they did leave a 1/4" or so of the haft sticking out the top so the connection seems secure and there are no gaps.

old on the left, new on the right

So all in all this did work out for me as I did get a replacement.  I will use this new one and hope it doesn't fail me.  Hopefully the heat treat is better on this batch, so look to see this axe in my outings and I'll update if I run into any problems.

Thanks for looking


I did finally get a response from Wetterlings offering to replace my axe.  I informed them my retailer had already done so for me but it was too late to save me as a customer in the future.  The other issue is that if I did still need my axe replaced it would have have probably took 2-3 more months as that seems to be the turn around from the distributor over here in the U.S.   Well this is all water under the bridge now.  Just wanted to update the post that I did atleast get a response from them.  

I ended up selling this replacement axe I got and purchased a barely used Gransfors Bruks Wildlife hatchet that so far I have been very pleased with.  


  1. It is nice to still see companies with great customer service that will stand behind what they carry. Good luck with the new ax!

    1. Thanks Peter. I'm hoping it holds up for me. I love the size and what it can do. I just need it to hold up :)

  2. Glad to hear that the retailer really helped you out, but at the same time it's sad to see Wetterlings quality declining in some aspects, especially considering the price increases...

    1. I'm hoping it was just a bad batch. This new one will tell me a lot if it happens again. The biggest disappointment is that Wetterlings still has not responded. Email travels pretty fast last time I checked and with those prices they need to have better quality control and fast response to customer issues.

  3. I bought a Wetterlings Wildlife hatchet a year ago, and boy, it was messed up. The entire head was bent to one side, and also diagonally, not to mention rusted up. Also had a huge dent in the top of the head. Sent an email with pics to Wetterlings and never got a response. The retailer exchanged it, though, and the new one is really good. Both were without lanyard holes which is somewhat annoying.

    I also had a Gransfors Wildlife hatchet, and that had issues as well. The alignment was off and it had edge rolling issues. Mailed Gransfors, and again, no response. Also didn't like the profile at all. Way too concave. Ended up selling it.

    I also bought a Hultafors Classic Trekking hatchet, and that is really nice. Much better alignment and forging than either Wetterlings and Gransfors. I will buy a Hultafors axe next.

    BTW, edge rolling might be due to the edge being weakened by heating through grinding at the factory. If that's the case, after a few sharpenings the bad steel will be gone and the edge hardness should improve.

  4. Wetterlings charge a premium price so should provide a premium service and a premium product. 2-3 months turnaround time for a replacement is ridiculous.