What you didn’t know about the Swedish axe

Some of the best and most popular axes in the world are made in the land of the gods, Sweden. And they have been making hand-made axes for hundreds of years, resulting in some high-quality premium brands. That is what makes Swedish axes so popular, the true craftsmanship that goes into every Swedish Axe. I

will tell you a bit about the different manufacturers and their history, the different models there are, and how they compare to each other.

Swedish axes history

The Swedish axe makers go back a long way. The first Swedish axes manufacturer goes back to 1697. At the end of the 19th century, there were around 10 axe factories in Sweden as a result of the large-scale logging operations in Sweden in the 19th century.

The Swedish axe makers are well known for their high-quality hand-forged axes, with their distinctive style and perfect balance. They are made in some of the oldest forges in the world.

Many axe manufacturers have closed down over the years in Sweden. The only Swedish axe manufacturers left are Gransfors Bruks, Hults Bruk, and S.A. Wetterlings. (Fiskars is made in Finland)

Gransfors Bruks

For more than 100 years has Gransfors Bruks making and perfecting handcrafted axes. It’s a small company with around 30 employees which results in a high quality and feel of the axes.

Gransfors Bruks is one of the leading axe producers in the world, creating high-quality axes. They are sold in more than 30 countries. A nice detail about Gransfors Bruks is that every axe is signed with the smith’s initial.

Gransfors Burk acquired Wetterlings in 2017. Both product lines are maintained, but the Gransfors axes are made by Wetterlings.

One of the most popular Gransfors Bruks axes is the wildlife hatchet with a 13.5-inch handle. This is a really nice axe to take with you on a hiking trip.

Hults Bruk, Hultafors and Husqvarna

Hults Bruk has been making axes since 1691, Hultafors and Husqvarna didn’t make any axes self. So how do they fit together? Hultafors acquired Hults Bruk in 1992 and they started selling Hults Bruk axes in the United States in 2015 for the first time. You will find axes labeled under Hultafors and Hults Burk.

Husqvarna axes are also made by Hults Burk. So every Swedish axe is either made in the Hults Bruk forge or the Gransfors Bruk (and Wetterlings) forges! Something most people didn’t know.

S. A. Wetterlings

Wetterlings axes have been one the most favorite axes in the United States. They had a perfect balance between price and performance. After Wetterlings was acquired in 2017, they stated that the Wetterlings axe would be phased out in the summer of 2017. But depending on the demand, it is possible that some models may be in stock a little longer.

Today, Jun 2018, you can still buy the Wetterlings Axes on Amazon. Some hatchet models and a Hudson bay model are still available. These could become real collector items…

Swedish Axe models compared

So how do the Swedish axe models compare? I have broken this down into the main models, selecting the most popular model for each brand.

Swedish Compact Hatchet

A compact hatchet has a really short handle, around 0 inches, making it perfect for carving, making kindlings and removing limbing. The head weighs around 1 lb. They are all great hatchets with really good quality.

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Swedish Hunter’s Axe

You can recognize a hunter’s axe by its longer handle, around 17 inches with a head weight of around 1.5 lb. Hunters’ axes are better suited for fire building and creating shelter. They are easy to carry and versatile enough to chop, spit, and carve small logs.

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Swedish Outdoor Axe

An outdoor axe is a compact, two-handed axe that fits in or on your backpack. Due to its length and weight, it’s perfectly capable of chopping and felling smaller trees that you can use to build a fire or shelter.

This axe model is really popular with a lot of outdoorsmen who love to go into the woods. A typical Outdoor Axe has a length of around 20 inches and a head weight of around 1.5 lb.

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Swedish Felling Axe

Felling axes are there in two kinds, smaller ones that are made for the softer wood types. They have a length of around 26 inches and a head weight of around 2lb. The bigger felling axes, made for the larger hardwood trees, have a handle of around 32-inches and a head weight of around 3 lb.

Felling axes for softer wood types

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Felling axes for larger hardwood trees

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Conclusion about Swedish axes

So what we have learned is that there are only a couple of Swedish forges left, making all the Swedish axes that are available these days. The prices of a Swedish axe range from the premium Gransfors Bruk to the budget Husqvarna.

If you buy a Swedish axe you know you get a good quality product that will last for life and is hand-made in one of the oldest forges in the world.

2 thoughts on “What you didn’t know about the Swedish axe”

  1. I have an ax that was by the name
    Can you tell me anything about this company. This ax has been in our family for a perty long while. Thank you for your time. Many Blessings to You and Yours, Kevin

    • Hi Kevin,

      I haven’t heard of Fairway before. I asked around but I couldn’t find any info about it. If you ever find out more about it, please let me know.

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