You buy them for the rest of your life, to pass to your grandson, or as a gift for someone special. We are talking about premium axes here. They are the best hand-made axes that are available, made from the best materials.
If your father, husband, friend, or whoever you have in mind is an outdoor enthusiast who loves to split his own wood, then one of the Premium Axes below is the best choice to give.
What defines a Premium Axe
Before we go to the premium axes, let’s first talk about what makes a premium axe. Or skip this chapter and scroll down if you are just looking for the best premium axe. Premium Axes are hand-made, look astonishing and are created from the best and finest materials. The heads are made from the best steel like 5160 alloy steel or C45 High Carbon steel, which are a harder type of steel, better resistant to rust, and tougher. Which results in a sharper edge and it doesn’t chip that fast. Not only the type of steel but also the process of making the head contributes to the end result. Heads of premium axes are forged more often resulting in a more consistent and refined grain flow in the steel.
When we look at the handle of the premium axe, you will see that they are made of the finest American Hickory with a perfect grain orientation and density. The handles are hand-sanded and oiled to condition and protect the wood. All Premium Axes come with a leather sheath, made from the finest leather. It does little details that make them perfect.
Because Premium axes are made by hand you will see that no two axes will ever look the same. They are all unique.
Premium Axe Brands
There are only a few brands that make a true Premium Axe in my opinion, Gränsfors Bruk, Council Tool Velvicut, Hults Bruk, and Helko Werk Germany. Those 4 Brands produce the best axes and finest axes that you can buy. Gransfors Bruk and Hults Bruk are both Swedish Axe makers dating back to 1697, there is a nice story behind those brands that you should read if you are interested.
Helko Werk Germany
Helko Werk is a German axe maker, who started in 1844. The handles from Helko Werk are made in Switzerland, the heads are hand forged in Germany from C45 High carbon steel. Helko Work Axe is a bit more affordable than the other brands.
One of the most popular Helko Werk Axes is the and the Classic Pathfinder.
I love Gransfors Bruk. If we talk about premium axes that are handmade it does little details that make them extra special. Every Gränsfors Bruk Axe that is made is signed with the smith’s initials. And Gränsfors are only working 30 employees in the forge. They perfected the art of making premium axes. If you want to know more about Gränsfors Bruk, check out this article with some background info on the Swedish Axe history.
The most popular Gränsfors Bruk axe is a Small Forest Axe. With a handle length of 19 inches, is it a great axe to take with you on a hiking trip or when you go camping. But also the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch, Axe, 415 is a phenomenal axe. Again if you are looking for a Premium axe as a gift, Gränsfors Bruks also has some nice accessories to complement the axe that you really should check out. They also got their own Sharpening Stone but a bit more special is the Leather Axe Handle Guard for the Small Forest Axe.
Council Tool Velvicut
Council Tool began making axes in around 1886 in the United States. Council Tool is completely made in the USA which will appeal to some buyers. The Velvicut line is trough premium axes, made with 5160 alloy steel and some fine grade A American Hickory.
The most popular Velvicut is the 4 Pound Premium Felling Axe. These axes are made by the most experienced smiths at Council Tool resulting in a high-quality product that is made in the USA.
Velvicut doesn’t have some nice accessories like Gransfors Bruks or Helko Werk, but all axes come with a premium leather sheath.
Hults Bruk is owned by Hultafors. The latter didn’t make any axes themself but acquired Hults Bruk in 1992. Hults Bruk has been making axes since 1691, resulting in true craftsmanship and high-quality products. Hults Bruk, Gransfors Bruk, and the Wetterlings forges belong to the best axe forge in the world. So Hultafors acquired Hults Bruk and released a new premium under the Hults Bruk brand.
At Hults Bruk, the blacksmiths work in pairs to shape the raw steel to create the perfect head. A create part is done by hand and during the process, the head is struck multiple times to increase the density of the steel. This results in a more durable head that can be sharpened to perfection.
Here is also a great video from Hults Bruk where they are forging a Tiveden Felling Axe
I hope I helped you find the premium axe that you are looking for. They all make a wide variety of axes, I picked the most popular versions of every brand but no matter which axe you buy. With these brands, you get the best and highest quality for your money.
As always I appreciate your feedback if you have any questions just let me know.