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Gränsfors-Bruks Mini Hatchet Review
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Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Gränsfors-Bruks Mini Hatchet Review on 03/25/2014 12:37:08 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Gransfors-Bruks Mini Hatchet Review

Edited by maia on 03/25/2014 12:39:19 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Gränsfors-Bruks Mini Hatchet Review on 03/25/2014 12:43:12 MDT Print View

This thread should be good.

If anyone is curious as to why the mini hatchet is so expensive, especially compared to their full size axes, it's because there is only one smith that forges the mini hatchets and he screws up often (they are difficult to make).

Michael Gunderloy
(ffmike) - MLife
One more option on 03/25/2014 13:40:26 MDT Print View

The SOG Hand Axe comes in at 18.6 ounces and a street price around $35. Holds a decent edge but unfortunately has one of the least comfortable handles I've ever used. Wouldn't recommend it.

There are lots of other choices in the pound-and-a-half range (Fiskars 7870 is sweet) but then you're getting pretty far afield from the ultralight world.

Doug Hus
(Doug.H) - M

Locale: Ontario. Canada
mini on 03/25/2014 20:49:30 MDT Print View

Love mine. In a class by it's self. Just don't loose it.
It can be used as a multi tool; cut paper, knife, hammer, fillet fish, fend of aggressive chipmunks, some even say they can shave with it.
Then there is their "outdoor hatchet",
Even more cash.


(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Husqvarna hatchet 31$ on 03/25/2014 20:54:05 MDT Print View

Not as cool but a good, still lightweight axe at a fraction of the cost

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Gränsfors-Bruks Mini Hatchet Review on 03/25/2014 21:10:28 MDT Print View

They are heavy toys, but nicely made. There is one shop in Seattle that carries them and my nose prints are on the locked glass display case :)

Wetterlings is the apples and apples comparison and should have been included. They run $75-$100 for the smaller models.

My woodsy combo is a $12 4.8oz Gerber saw and a $30 5.8oz Mora Bushcraft. It's just hard to cut up your steak with a hatchet :)

Woodsy tools

Travis Bernard
(DispatchesfromtheNorth) - M

Locale: Ross River
Re: Gränsfors-Bruks Mini Hatchet Review on 03/25/2014 21:56:38 MDT Print View

Great to see a little bit of bushcraft on BPL.

I have the GB wildlife hatchet and it's always along on canoe trips and car camping trips with me. The goal this summer is to carve myself a spruce paddle using just the hatchet, my mora knife and a bit of sandpaper.

That being said, despite my love of using hatchets and axes, I find them the least valuable of the bushcraft tools in the field. A small saw and a fixed blade knife cover all the necessary bases and the hatchet is generally relegated to playing around with for fun. Good fun though. And if I was in a situation where I needed a strong, sturdy shelter (cold january night in the boreal forest) I'd definitely appreciate having the hatchet along.


Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Gränsfors-Bruks Mini Hatchet Review on 03/25/2014 22:04:14 MDT Print View

"The Gransfor Mini has to have the worst performance-to-cost ratio of any hatchet on the market! That aside, its weight is poorly distributed, the handle is too heavy. There's simply not enough mass there for it to be a useful tool to split wood, although it works well for hacking branches off of stumps, but then again, so does your foot, or the Benchmade Nim Cub knife with a baton."

"At some point though, we probably have to admit that using a hatchet is more therapeutic than practical, even for those of us that cook with wood on small fires, Bushbuddies, or titanium Shepherd's stoves. I find a hatchet practical for the latter, and more aesthetic for the former. But i still take one on short trips."

Ryan Jordan 2010

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Uses for hatchets and saws on 03/25/2014 22:11:53 MDT Print View

I can think of a few situations beyond bushcraft where a hatchet or saw would be handy. For starters at established campsites people tend to drag in wood that is too big to burn. If you can cut it up you can make use of it and clean up the campsite to keep the LNT purists happy.

Glenn S

Locale: Snowhere, MN
Re: Uses for hatchets and saws on 03/26/2014 00:21:59 MDT Print View

I thought hatchets were passe, and the new one pound wood chopper was the 9 inch bowie knife, something like a Ka-Bar BK-9.

Saws on the other hand, open up a whole new thread of options lol

Edited by Glenn64 on 03/26/2014 00:23:52 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - M

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Gränsfors-Bruks Mini Hatchet Review on 03/26/2014 00:22:33 MDT Print View

I think it was kephart who carried a small pocket hatchet. He claimed it was all he needed for a split wood fire and cut saplings to throw up a natural shelter.

If you build enough campfires in wet weather you really start to appreciate a light cutting/splitting tool. I am more of a saw/knife guy though.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Kephart's tomahawk, 3/4 lb., and a 12 oz hatchet. on 03/26/2014 09:08:17 MDT Print View

"Among my most valued possessions is a tiny Col-
clesser tomahawk, of 8-ounce head and 2^ inch
bitt, which, with hickory handle and home-made
sheath, weighs only three-quarters of a pound. I
seldom go anywhere in the woods (unless in march-
ing order with a heavier axe) without this little trick. It is all that is needed to put up a satisfactory shelter wherever there is hemlock or balsam, or bark that will peel, while for other service I use it oftener than I do my jackknife." Horace Kephart, Camping and Woodcraft, vol. 2, p32.

The Colclesser company is long gone, but in searching for it found this review of light hatchets:
He seems to like the Vaughn hatchet better than Granfors, especially after skilled sharpening.

The Vaughn 1/2 lb head hatchet seems to be the winner, 11-12 oz, $22.69:

I just ordered one, $34.33 with shipping. I probably won't ever take it hiking, but I've always wanted one of Kephart's tomahawks.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Gränsfors-Bruks Mini Hatchet Review on 03/26/2014 10:39:50 MDT Print View

Thank you, Walter for quoting the hatchet bit Justin mentioned out of "Camping and Woodcraft". I learned more about camping and woods life from reading that ONE SINGLE BOOK which was written in the first decade of the 20th century than I did in the last TEN YEARS of reading backpacking forums.

Kevin Manley
(manleyk) - F - MLife

Locale: Denver-ish
Wetterlings on 03/26/2014 10:40:29 MDT Print View

I often carry my Wetterlings mini hatchet. Very similar quality to the GB (hand forged, Swedish steel, similar handle). I went to get some wood for a large gathering with a friend. He had his double bit full size axe, I had my hatchet. We got through the same size pines at the same time. These hatchets are amazing tool.

As to the expense, have you guys looked at hand made knives lately? $150 is cheap!


Andy F
(AndyF) - F

Locale: Ohio
Re: Gränsfors-Bruks Mini Hatchet Review on 03/26/2014 10:45:04 MDT Print View

I like the pack.

David Gardner
(GearMaker) - M

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Uses for hatchets and saws on 03/26/2014 11:07:49 MDT Print View

There are some great saws out there that are half the weight or less of even the lightest hatchets.

Ed Biermann makes a couple of great buck saws

Sawvivor was also a good buck saw, but I understand they are no longer made.

Or you can cut down/grind a good pruning saw like a Corona or Fiskars to make it lighter and carve out a handle. Depending on the size of wood you want to cut and related length of blade, such saws can weigh as little as 2.8 oz for a 10.5" blade or 4.2 oz for a 13.5" blade.

With all of these saws you can cut small logs for emergency shelter construction or those too-big logs for firewood referred to in a prior post on this thread. The drawback of saws is that they don't split wood.

Machetes may also be reasonable alternatives to hatchets, and are probably better for fending off rabid chipmunks and fileting fish. I have an 14" machete that weighs 14 oz, and a 21" machete that weighs 21 oz. Then again, I also have a 24" cutlass "machete" from Cold Steel that weighs 32 oz, but it's more a survivalist/prepper/zombie apocalypse tool.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: small hatchets on 03/26/2014 14:02:43 MDT Print View

"The Gransfor Mini has to have the worst performance-to-cost ratio of any hatchet on the market! That aside, its weight is poorly distributed, the handle is too heavy. There's simply not enough mass there for it to be a useful tool to split wood...."

These small hatchets were traditionally used more for butchering large game or in a kitchen for splitting wood stove fuel. IMHO, ALL small hatchets lack the heft to do any real chopping and are rather dangerous in experienced hands, with a tendency to bounce off the target and back into the operator's arm or leg.

All in all, I cut cut far more wood in less time and effort with a small saw at 10% the cost and 25% the weight with greater safety. My cheap Gerber saw will go through a 6" log quickly and little chance of hurting myself.

As far as splitting goes, you can baton small stuff with a knife, although banging on a blade is anathema to me. It is easy to cut a branch halfway though with a saw and then split it by bending it to expose the dryer insides. As others pointed out, small stuff can be broken off by hand or by heel. In a pinch, bigger stuff can be slowly fed into the center of an established fire without cutting or splitting any smaller than what you can comfortably carry.

Carving and shaving wood is best done with a sharp knife. A hatchet is handy for making points or notching, but not much else for wood-craft. When you get into real timber making, there are broad axes and adzes that come into play, but they have no place on the trail.

So what it comes down to for me is that a hatchet is certainly better than nothing at all, but not really the first tool I would reach for. They have a nostalgic appeal, but we're supposed to be over nostalgia and fashion when putting together our UL kits.

Edited by dwambaugh on 03/26/2014 14:03:19 MDT.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Gränsfors-Bruks Mini Hatchet Review on 03/26/2014 14:34:47 MDT Print View

Glad to see this article and I would really welcome to have some future article touch on the basics of bushcraft.

Survival skills are good and if there should be a situation where gear is lost or shredded, it would be nice to have a little extra skill in the back pocket to save your butt.


Michael Schwartz
(greenwalk) - MLife

Locale: PA & Ireland
Gränsfors-Bruks Mini Hatchet Review on 03/26/2014 14:56:30 MDT Print View

Any thoughts on Wetterlings "Buddy" or Wilderness hatachets for cutting wood for cooking fire? Mike

Thomas Rayl
(trayl) - MLife

Locale: SE Tx
Re: Uses for hatchets and saws on 03/26/2014 16:03:42 MDT Print View

"It's just hard to cut up your steak with a hatchet."

You need a bigger steak! ;-)