Friday, March 22, 2013

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet

Hey folks, I've got to use my Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet for quite a few different tasks.  So I thought I would share my thoughts on it so far.  First off the quick specs you probably already know:

Length:  13.5in.
Head weight:  1lb.
Edge length:  3in.

This hatchet really is the best hatchet I've used to date.  For a 1lb. head it truly performs above it's size.  Making it an ideal hatchet to carry on outings.  Obviously it's a hatchet so processing a lot of big wood for a keep warm fire in the winter won't be it's strong suit.  But for warmer weather or outings where you won't need to process a lot of big wood this is hard to beat.  The pic above was about a 4" wide dead pine tree.  This hatchet felled it in about 30 seconds.

It is surprisingly good at light splitting tasks.  The thin bit has an abrupt transition to the head and it actually splits nicely.  Processing your wood down is very easy.  Edge retention has been very good.  You can get this shaving sharp and it could easily substitute in some knife cutting tasks.  I find I use this more than my knife.

This hatchet is easy to carve with.  It's light head doesn't wear you out at all.  Here's a roughed out shape of a spoon carving in progress.  

I find this hatchet is the perfect companion with a good woodsaw.

Well this hatchet certainly has lived up to Gransfors Bruks reputation so far.  It really is a finely crafted tool.  I find it performs great and looks great as well.  You can't ask for more.  It's small enough to fit in pretty much any pack and gives you great versatility in the woods.  You can do a lot with a good hatchet if you get the skill down. 

I highly recommend this hatchet.  It's a keeper

Thanks for looking

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Just a mushy dad & daughter fishing trip, a little axe action too

Got Isabel out last night for some fishing.  It was our first trip out this year.  She's been asking for the last week or so to go and we finally got a decent weather day to do it.  Well we went back to my old stomping grounds of my youth, as is our usual spot.  We started on the big pond and fished our way about half way around.  The little fish are either there, or they're not.  No sense waiting all day for a bite from a sunfish while trying to keep a 4 year old's attention.  Well here's the corner spot which is usually pretty good.  Not today though.

View from the corner with truck in the background

Well as we fished our way around I finally remembered to bring my axe.  A few years ago we had a really bad storm and some trees were blown over that lined this pond.  Well the roots stayed attached enough that the trees are still alive.  But they are big and a huge pain the butt to walk around and through, especially for the little ones.  So it has to go :)  courtesy of the Council Tool FSS Boy's axe

first branch down

and a couple more, that's better

this axe made really nice cuts.  I don't usually chop live trees, I forget that the wood chips don't fly out like on dead trees.

here's the next set.   These are way bigger in diameter.  I'll bring the full size double next time for this tree

Well we switched ponds.  I usually try out the smaller pond cause it's usually better for sunfish.  It had about a 10ft ring of moss around the entire shoreline.  But the fish were there.

We really got on a role

we stopped counting after 10.  Bel had to pet each one.   She also waved and yelled "Goodbye Fishy" with each release.  kids are funny

One of the fish had a really nice purple tone to it.  Much more than the others

I swear every fish we caught were within a 1/4 ounce of each other.  Usually there's some size variance but not today

Well the sun fell too soon as it always does in times like this.  We made our way back to the truck, here's another view of the pond we were fishing

ducks started coming in as evening approached.  It made for a nice parting view for the day

Well this is hands down the best way to spend time.  I'm glad the fish cooperated.  That always keeps the fun going, and keeps the kids wanting to come back for more. 

Every time I take bel out fishing I think of that Trace Adkins song "Just fishin".  It came out right when bel was about 2 and I started taking her

thanks for looking

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Comparison: Council Tool FSS Boys Axe & Husqvarna Forest Axe

Well most of you probably saw my thread on recently getting a Council Tool Forestry Service edition boy's axe.  I decided to compare it to my other 3/4 axe, my Husqvarna Forest Axe. 

First off here's the specs on each

Council FSS Boy's axe
Head weight:  2.25lb
Length(measured): 27.25in

Husqvarna Forest axe
Head Weight: 1.75lb
Length(measured): 26.5in

So you can tell already who should win this but in the hand they feel very close in weight.  I honestly can't tell them apart holding them by the end of the handle.  The reason for that I think is how much thicker and dense the Husqvarna handle is compared to the Council's.  You'll see what I mean later.  I wish I had a digital scale to measure the total weight, I will update this if I can get a hold of one.  Here's the head and edge comparison shot, Council edge is just about 4 inches, the Husqvarna is about 3.5 inches (Council left, Husqy right)

Profile shot.  Both are good designs.  Length they are pretty much dead even.  Husqy is slightly thinner profiled. (Husqy left, Council right)

While both handles are comfortable, the Council handle is just flat out better.  It's much thinner and has a classic shape and feel to it.  The Husqvarna handle is the same as the Gransfors Bruks handles.  You can see how much thicker throughout the handle the Husqvarna is compared to the Council.  This is where I believe a lot of extra weight is coming from on the Husqvarna. (Council left, Husqvarna right)


Here's a look at the end of the handles.  The Husqvarna handle swells out towards the bottom but keeps the same side-to-side thickness throughout the handle.  The Council swells out but also rounds out making for a very comfortable handle and reminiscent of vintage handles I have held.

Here's another look at the end of the Council handle from the top

Here was the quick chopping test I did.  15 swings each on some hardwood. (Council left, Husqvarna right)

Obviously the Council FSS Boys Axe blew away the Husqvarna Forest axe here.  The picture doesn't really show how much deeper into the wood the Council is vs. the Husqy.  I honestly thought the Husqy would bite as deep due to the thinner profile, but the Council was clearly biting deeper and throwing bigger chips.  Both were sharp enough to shave paper when I started.  Council is clearly the winner, as expected.

Well I think the head weights on these axes is deceiving to their total weights.  The Council is definitely going to be the 3/4 axe I carry form now on.  That performance advantage is more than worth a couple extra ounces in my opinion, if the weight difference is even that much.

I decided to get a little more feel for the Council.  I would have liked to do more but I was squeezing this in on a time constraint.  I found a dead standing oak tree around 4" diameter.  It took 5 swings to get through, 3 on one side, two on the other

I was pretty impressed with the curls I was able to make, even after the chopping test.  Omaha knife really did a nice job sharpening this axe

Well this axe is exactly what I was hoping it would be.  It's going to be quite the bush axe.  Look to see it more in my outings post.

Here's the sheath I made for it, not the best looking but it'll do the job fine

Thanks for looking

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Comfort Food - Fried Walleye

One of my favorite comfort foods is fried Walleye.  I've ate it for as long as I can remember.  It's one of the best tasting fish there is, my personal favorite.  But aside from the delicious flavor it has it sparks memories of my grandparents lake house on Lake Oahe in South Dakota.  The background on my blog is the view of the sunset there.  Some of my best memories are at that place and I can't take a bite of walleye without getting an instant flashback to fishing trips in grandpa's boat, roaming the hillsides with my cousins, and watching a stunning sunset each night from the deck.  So that's why fried walleye goes down as my favorite fish and comfort food.  And wouldn't you know I enjoyed some the other night.  It went great with garlic mashed potato's.

That was the last of my stash so it's time to stock up again.  That is perhaps the best excuse for a fishing trip there is...

Thanks for looking

Monday, March 18, 2013

FSS Council Tool Boy's Axe (Forestery Service Edition)

Greetings Axe folk,  I finally received my Council Tool FSS Boy's Axe.  After a shipping mix up I didn't know if I would ever get it.  But I did.  Well this is literally just an out of box first impression look. 

head alignment was perfect and the head was hung very well.  No gaps and was seated firmly.

Grain was as bad as gets, horizontal as you can tell.  I would have obviously preferred vertical but will use this as is and see how it does.  There wasn't a run out in the grain and if it does break I'll just re-hang with a new handle.  So maybe an experiment of sorts.  I honestly think it will last quite a while the way it is.

I ordered this from Omaha Knife and they have a sharpening service but I did not order it.  This axe looks to have an after factory sharpening to me.  And my cutting test seemed to confirm this as it shaved hair and cut coupon paper with ease.  I'm certainly not complaining

 Well I plan to review this axe after using it some.  The folks at Rocky Mountain Bushcraft did a quick review you can see here.  I had been looking at this axe for quite a while and after seeing their review and talking to them about it I knew I'd have to try it.  My thoughts are pretty inline with there's at this point.  The paint on this head doesn't seem as thick as the other Council axe I've handled.  It's not globbed on the head.  It almost looks like someone made an effort to wipe it for a clean uniformity over it.  The handle itself has a thin lacquer applied to it.  Again it's not over done and actually feels alright.  I wish I had reference of a regular Council Boy's Axe for a real comparison and to see if this is worth the extra money.  The handle on this axe really is great.  It's thinner than any axe I've purchased in this size range.  It has a vintage feel to it.  Well for a while I'm going to use this axe as is.  I think that will be a more fair way to review it so no modifications will impact my thoughts on it.  I may strip the paint and sand the lacquer off down the road.  I'll just see how it goes with use.  For now though I am pleased and feel it's more than worth the $44.95 I paid for it.  shipping from Omaha Knife is $5, so for less than $50 to my door I am quite happy at this point.  The real opinion is yet to come.  So stay tuned...