Hultafors Classic Forest / Hunting Axe
It may have been noted by regular readers that I quite like a good axe and that the best axes I have found originate in Scandinavia …well, no change there! I have recently been trying out what is to me a new name in hand-forged Swedish axes – though the firm has been making axes since 1697 and are renowned in Sweden for making high quality tools!
The Hultafors Classic (Hults Bruk) Forest/Hunting Axe is a multi-purpose axe that has a 2lb (0.88kg) hand-forged head on a 20” (50cm) hickory heartwood handle and is designed more for chopping and cutting than splitting (though it does that pretty well too), while the back of the axe head (the “poll”) is rounded and polished so that it can be used to help skin larger game.
The carbon steel head of the axe comes with a razor sharp edge, hardened to 58-59 degrees Rockwell. It has a convex grind for durability and edge retention, and is straightforward to sharpen and strop once it is dulled in use.
The head of the axe is held onto the handle with a straight wedge and a ring wedge (no glue and paint here!) and came very well set up with the edge of the axe perfectly in line with the handle.
The handle itself is a traditionally shaped, chunky piece of hickory heartwood with an oil finish (no slippery varnish) and as well as looking very attractive, this gives a positive grip on the strong, resilient wood. There is a hanging eye at the end of the handle to which a Hultafors booklet was attached. Unfortunately the booklet is all in Swedish so I am unable to comment on its contents!
The axe comes with a hand-made leather mask/sheath which, although it is reasonably secure, is not of my favourite pattern, relying as it does on a friction grip thong closure. I prefer a solid buckle…
In use the Forest Hunting Axe has proved excellent. The balance of the axe is very good, making chopping, limbing and other jobs easy, while the grip – either one- or two-handed – is very comfortable and secure. The grind shape/profile allows the axe to cut deeply while also allowing a decent amount of splitting action.
The width of the wood just below the head proved a little wide for my hand, detracting from a comfortable grip for fine cutting such as roughing out carving projects, but for those with bigger hands, this extra width will prove of benefit adding to the comfort of the grip!
Overall, the Hultafors Classic Forest/Hunting Axe has proved to be a very fine axe, one that with proper maintenance (such as occasional oiling of the shaft and head, regular “touching up” of the edge and dry storage) should last several generations!
There are very few axes available (apart from hand-made custom pieces) that are much better in quality than this axe and at around £50 it is reasonable too.
All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates