ArboristSite.com Sponsors
 
 


portable hatchet while out firewood cutting

Discussion in 'Hand Held Equipment and Tools' started by thook, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. thook

    thook ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    NW Ark..in the Ozarks!
    hey all,

    i'm looking at getting a hatchet for when i'm out cutting firewood. trying to meet some criteria as follows...

    -$30 +/- range
    - relatively light...no more than a framing hammer
    - composite handle would be nice, but not deal breaker
    - 14"-16" total length. shorter might work depending, but not any longer
    - blunt butt end for hammering wedges

    when i'm out cutting, i'm usually alone and often in the woods a ways from a road which means i have to hike in the essential tools i might need eliminating back and forth to the vehicle. along with my chainsaw, i sometimes carry a rock bar for rolling logs to buck them and, in that case, both hands are occupied. i keep a multi tool, cutter file, maybe scribing chalk, and felling wedges in the various pockets. so, i need a hatchet with enough of a butt end so that'll stay in my hammer loop on my dungarees while hiking in. more importantly, this would enable to have it right with me ...vs laying it down here and there...while bucking and limbing to hammer in wedges, knock off loose/dirty bark, or remove small straggling branches or vines

    i'm looking hard at an estwing camper's axe. steel handle would work, but i question whether it has enough of a butt to stay in the hammer loop. it's atleast longer than other really nice choices i've managed to come across, so far.

    anyway, looking for suggestions. thanks so kindly!
    ~matthew
     
  2. thook

    thook ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    NW Ark..in the Ozarks!
  3. wrx-snowdrift

    wrx-snowdrift ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2013
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    138
    Location:
    SW MN
    Used one of these on a Boundary Waters canoe trip. It was really nice. Don’t know how well the back side works as a hammer with the way the handle is shaped but it was well built and held an edge well. Felt great in the hand.

    Schrade SCAXE2L 15.7in Large Survival Axe with 4.2in Stainless Steel Blade and Glass Fiber PA & TPR Rubber Handle for Outdoor Survival Camping and Everyday Carry https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I1XOZUY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_44EbCbEQ7J0ZP
     
  4. thook

    thook ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    NW Ark..in the Ozarks!
    yeah, man...thanks but i ran across the schrade in my searches. really nice, but like my current hatchet the butt end won't be long enough to keep it in my hammer loop

    i may have just found what i need, though: a rigging axe or carpenter's hatchet. i have a roofing axe, but the rigging/carpenter axes have much broader cutting heads and more swinging weight to them. i really didn't know they existed until just now...lol

    for posterity, i'll post what i find...haha
     
  5. wrx-snowdrift

    wrx-snowdrift ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2013
    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    138
    Location:
    SW MN
    I sometimes carry a carpenter’s hatchet in my saw box because it’s lighter and more portable than an axe. I’m sure it would fit your needs nicely but the one thing I’ve found is that the hammer head is pretty small and when I use it to pound wedges it beats them up pretty good. So I’d try to find one with as broad of a hammer head as you can.
    Mine was just a cheap hardware store one like this
    upload_2018-12-3_22-1-14.jpeg
     
  6. thook

    thook ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    NW Ark..in the Ozarks!
    duly noted! and, actually, i had thought about that. i've seen a couple here and there in searches with broader striking heads. mostly vintage ones.

    and, after more searching, i'm still ultra curious about the estwing camper's axe. there's one style with the blue handle and another with leather called their "sportsmans axe". but, the camper's axe head shape may the one more appropriate for my needs. and, it may be a bit lighter. however, the quandry is there; the leather one is sooooo daarrned purrrtty!!..haha! such a nice curve in the handle, too.

    i'm just gonna have to call home depot or head over there (maybe tomorrow) and see if they have them on hand. hopefully!...so i can try'em out wearing my carhartts.

    failing that, i'll look more into carpenter hatchets, again. the rigging ones might be more than i want to lug around, though
     

    Attached Files:

  7. ironman_gq

    ironman_gq Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,472
    Likes Received:
    427
    Location:
    Iron Range MN
  8. thook

    thook ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    NW Ark..in the Ozarks!
    that's actually the first hatchet i'd seriously looked at. and, it'd be my first choice. under 2lbs!. but, unless i can put my hands on one to get a better feel for it, i don't think it'll stay in the hammer loop. and, i think the handle end would give me trouble getting in and out of the loop easily. thanks, though! if i see it at whatever store, i'll feel it out
     
  9. thook

    thook ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    NW Ark..in the Ozarks!
    okay.....so the lowes in our neighboring town has both the estwing hatchets and the fiskars x7. i'm gonna look at them this evening. thanks, fellas :)
     
  10. thook

    thook ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    NW Ark..in the Ozarks!
    well, the 16" estwing turns out to be more of a hoss than i need. and, it's actually about 18" in total length, so much too gangly to wear on the hip/hammer loop to be comfortable
    the fiskars x7 is lovely, but not enough of striker/butt end to stay in the loop very well. and, as i thought, the butt end of the handle hangs up getting it in and out of the loop
    so, i'm down to choosing between the 14" estwing models...either the sportsmans axe or the camper axe with nylon grip. i have read some less than positive responses to the leather handle on the sportsman namely the stock varnish coating being a bit slippery for good grip. as well, it tends to crack. seems most are sanding it off right away and using neatsfoot or the like to better protect the leather and give the needed grip. the camper is lighter, so i'll likely get that. preferably in the classic blue....though the orange would be quite visible should it find it's way amongst the leaves on the ground
    once i make my decision, i'll post
     
  11. thook

    thook ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    NW Ark..in the Ozarks!
    read some less than stellar reviews on the schrade and the fiskars after the last post. yeah, hmmm. certainly more positive reviews than negative...namely on the fiskars, but i read on both wherein some have had the blade edge fold and/or chip on both chopping hardwoods. errrmph! as well, the schrade handle and striking end busting on impact. regardless of any other factors i've been considering, i really needed something much likely to be durable than that. so, estwing won!
    moreover, i doubled back and chose the 16", afterall. i figured it's more versatile in application and the weight is quite comparable to what i've been using, anyway. so, no real deal breaker. and...and.... i realized i could run a steel hammer loop on the belt of my chaps keeping it behind me instead of bangin' around on my leg....which a 14" would've done as well even if to a lesser degree. but, the steel loop also makes it super easy to pull the axe off and reholster
    so, i mocked it up...the steel loop and axe...and took a walkabout. i really don't notice it being back there in terms of size or even weight. i haven't actually used it, yet, but i think i'm really gonna like it. aside from cutting wood to heat the house, i often harvest small dead trees and limbs for my cook stove. in that case, the axe means i can leave the chainsaw at home, go and bundle my harvest, and drag it all home to cut it down on my miter saw. cutting a bunch of 8" lengths on that is a lot easier than with a chainsaw! or even an axe...;)
    perhaps i didn't really need to start a thread about all this, but i always consider maybe someone has found something or knows of something i can't find on the web myself. at any rate, thanks for the input, guys
     
  12. jrs_diesel

    jrs_diesel ArboristSite Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2015
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    57
    Location:
    Texas
    I went cheap and bought mine at Harbor Freight. Composite handle and has the blunt back that can hit wedges. I paid about $7 for mine last week.
     
  13. thook

    thook ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    NW Ark..in the Ozarks!
    that's a good price. i've got one like that i found at a yard sale a long time ago. well, my handle's fiberglass and it's red, but still. i use it a lot to split cookstove wood
     
  14. thook

    thook ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2011
    Messages:
    222
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    NW Ark..in the Ozarks!
    my original concerns for the heft of this tool have vanished. i've used it several times over the past several days and i'm likin' it! chops down the small trees i like to use (again, dead ones) and splits the little logs very well. i'd say between 2"-4" diameter in the 8-10" sections i'd mentioned already. it's really not that bad with one hand once you choke up a little and get used to the balance. it kinda works itself if you let it, if you know what i mean. and, the big bonus is it works really well two handed when you need that. something you can't do with a 14" or less jobber

    anyway, something to consider for anyone needing a hatchet....or small axe, which is what it really is
     
    wrx-snowdrift likes this.

Share This Page