Felling Axe Why Quality Is Important
If you are going to cut down trees either for firewood or to build yourself with something, you will definitely need a reliable tool for the job. A chainsaw will be perfect for a bigger cutting job and for multiple tree cutting. But if you need to cut down trees periodically your best option is to have a felling axe.
A felling axe is simply a large axe with a heavy flat head and long handle. It is made for cutting down trees and lopping off branches. That’s why the blade is designed to cut across the grain of the tree and not along the grain like what wood splitting mauls and splitting axes are designed for.
Felling axes are actually the logger’s best friend even though they always start their jobs with their chainsaws. A homeowner with trees in his backyard, it doesn’t matter who you are but a felling axe would be useful to keep at home. Unlike an axe for splitting wood, felling axes are designed to be heavy but you should be able to swing them up to bury their blades right into the wood.
But what is the best quality that a felling axe should have so that you’ll know you’ll be buying the right one?
In our experience, the best felling axes we have seen so far are the American-made axes. An American axe may not be cheap but definitely sturdy and more solidly forged. It should also be easy to sharpen.
The other felling axes we believe belong to the best are the European brands which the manufacturers have centuries of experience in creating world-class axes.
But here are our best tips to know the best features that you should look for in a felling axe.
- It should have a mid-weight axe head probably between 2.5 to 4 pounds. A heavy head always packs more power and if you are able to swing the axe with just about the right distance, you could add more energy into the blade and it will go deeper. So the efficiency of the axe starts first with the user.
- The blade of the felling axe should have a low cut edge and a bit rounded so that it won’t bite into the wood during axing and won’t get stuck. The blade must also be easy to sharpen. An axe sharpener like a Japanese whetstone would do good service to your axe blade.
- The handle should be about 28-36 inches long. If you want to use your felling axe for stumping or lopping off limbs of trees, you should know the right handle length of your axe. Also, depending on your height and length of your arms, you should be able to choose the handle length that you are comfortable swinging out.
- Wood axe handles should be more preferred when choosing felling axes because these are lighter and can absorb shock better than fiberglass or carbon axe handles. Hickory is, by far, the most preferred wood for felling axes because of its resiliency, durability and its solid grain generally runs parallel to the axe head.
- Single bit felling axes should have handles that are a bit curved on the end which gives the handler a more relaxed grip and there’s also the feeling of force when the handle is slightly bent near the base. For double-bit axes, the handle should need to be straight for easier flipping.
Best Felling Axe Varieties
Introducing to you first is this American axe which is manufactured by Council Tool, an American-owned axe maker company since 1866. As we have expected this felling axe is tough because its head is made of 5160 grade alloy steel and weighs 4 pounds. Its curved handle is also made of American hickory wood. With an overall length of 35-inches, we say this is a tough tool because its head is truly heat treated and tempered and earned the hardness rating of Rc 50-54.
The American National Standards Institute, Inc. or better known as the ANSI Standards has a set range of hardness in steel by using the Rockwell C scale, particularly on American-made axes.
According to the ANSI guidelines, near the blade of the axe, the hardness should have an Rc 54-58 rating. This hardness is just right for the blade to easily sharpen it. More than this rating the blade becomes brittle. On the other hand, near the eye of the axe head, the rating should not be more than Rc 45 which means this part of the axe should be very hard.
The axe head of the Amer felling axe is rated at Rc 50-54 overall. This means that the hardness of the whole axe head has the right rating for hardness – not too brittle or too soft to damage the metal. So if you are buying an American axe, you may see on the label this rating which proves that American-made axes are solid in all aspects and pass quality standards.
By the way, Amer is short for American and this American axe includes an attractive leather sheath and has a Council brand embedded on its metal to prove its authenticity. Along with the axe, there also include a manual for the axe, the company and the people who are behind the manufacturing of Council Tool axes.
What Do The Reviews Say?
According to some reviews, this axe will be delivered to you already sharpened once you ordered it. But if you’ll be using this as soon as it’s out of the box, make sure you have an axe sharpening kit ready to utilize its sharpness fully. People agree that this axe is a working man’s axe and were impressed by its sharpness and performance when it comes to its purpose.
Very easy to sharpen and has the right heaviness on the head, the axe handle though some say is a bit slim and almost unfinished with its coating, is resilient and can be coated depending on the oil of your choice.
For many of us, this axe can be expensive. But this is the kind of axe that you can depend on and can use till your lifetime like what the reviews say. You could even pass it to your next generations and it will remain well-balanced and efficient.
This is another Council Tool axe but lighter at 2.25 pounds than the Amer felling axe and have a shorter hickory handle at 28-inches. The axe head is also made of 5160-grade alloy steel and overall the weight of this axe is 3.5 pounds. If you are an average height guy, this is better to have than its larger and longer counterparts.
As usual, the metal is heat treated and tempered for maximum toughness and has earned the hardness rating of Rc 52-56. If you want to check on the authenticity of this felling axe there’s the Council brand embedded on one side of the head and on the other side is marked USA.
According to Council Tool the handle is made of American hickory wood and was carefully chosen for grain orientation and density to make the wood fit solidly and nicely to the axe head. The wedge used on the axe head is softwood and embedded across is a steel wedge so that total support and security on the head could be achieved.
You would be happy to know also that this heavy-duty axe comes with a nice-looking leather sheath with the company’s logo and a metal buckle and basically, the whole axe and the leather sheath are Made in the USA.
Some people complained that their axes already had rusts when they received it. This felling axe has been light oil coated to protect it from rust while the handle is also Linseed oil coated.
What Do The Reviews Say?
This axe as many people say is made ideal for outdoor use like camping, hiking, and hunting. You can trust its sharpness and well-balanced head and yet its size is big enough for all the chopping work you want to do with it. It’s a felling axe with a reliable brand so this is one popular tool among loggers and woodworkers and very easy to carry especially that it comes with a leather sheath.
If you are to chop down small-sized trees, reviews suggest that you should have this axe. Designed to have a thicker bite even on hardwood without sticking on the fiber, this is more than enough to produce kindling for your stove and yet large enough to cut down a tree and chop it clean. With its weight and durable construction, you can use it as your log chopper like having a small chopping machine that you carry on your fireman’s axe belt.
Many people who have this axe admit that theirs have undergone a lot of abuse and yet it remained to be like brand new – always reliable when you need it anytime and anywhere. This is why when people ask us about the felling axe, we don’t hesitate to recommend an American axe like this one which could even be passed to your grandchildren.
We know that a lot of you out there always prefer American-made axes. However, we also know that some of you desire axes that are made in Europe and their manufacturers have perfect records in creating axes that pass international standards for quality and durability.
Take for example this 1844 Helko Werk which is a felling axe made in Germany. Actually, this is handmade right in Wuppertal, Germany and has a hardness certification of HRC 53-56. The axe head weighs 2.25 pounds and is made of German C50 high-grade carbon steel. The handle, however, is made in Switzerland and of grade-A American hickory.
The length of this axe is 28-inches and weighs a total of 3.75 pounds. For your safety and convenience, it also includes a vegetable tanned leather sheath so even if this is an imported product it will arrive at you completely protected, sharp and ready to cut down trees.
People call this German-made axe the “Scout” and it’s actually the smallest in the classic line of heavy-duty felling axes made by Helko Werk, a German axe maker since 1844. Designed to be light enough for anyone to use, it may still be a bit large to carry on your small backpack but sized good enough to keep in your base camp.
The length of this felling axe is just enough if you want to stow it inside your car’s trunk, keep it in your canoe or hook it on your belt when you’re out there to log. Some fondly call this the “boys’ axe” because of its small demeanor but once you use it you’ll know it’s meant for serious business especially when you are able to chop down trees with it as thick as your thigh.
Very easy to sharpen, very shiny and have a well-balanced head, you could easily compare this to an American axe because of its high-quality features and we all know that German-made products are generally made with durability and precision. If you want to have the right axe sharpener for it, you can also purchase the Helko Werk sharpening stone.
What Do The Reviews Say?
Those who have this axe say that this is really a quality all-around axe and recommend it straight away. They also suggest that this is much better than those cheaper hardware store axes varieties.
And even those who are more than 6 feet tall, they find this axe very easy to control. The reviews we gather say that when it comes to the quality of this product this axe is beautifully finished and has a perfect shape with the handle. The head is also cleanly polished thus the product overall including the sheath are at their best quality.
Many agree that this axe is something that you can use for life and you can even pass it to your future generations. Well, maybe because this is very well made, tough, sharp, and can be perfect to use also as a wood splitting axe.
One reviewer said that he was able to chop down a tree with this axe that is almost 12-inch in diameter. This could be true because we have not read complaints about it not able to cut down trees accordingly or getting broken.
As expected, this felling axe comes to you fully polished, very sharp, the handle is rubbed with linseed oil, and of course, nobody complains about its price because maybe people realized this could be one of their best investments.
This is another imported felling axe that is specifically made in Switzerland and the brand will really ring a bell to you – Hults Bruk. This company has been manufacturing axes since the 1600s so when it comes to its products, its axes are undoubtedly some of the best in the world you would be proud to have them.
This Hults Bruk Atran felling axe, like other Hults Bruk axes, is hand-forged right in the company’s foundry. To make it fully tempered and forged, it goes to the process of manually hammering its steel numerous times just to increase its density resulting in the compactness and solidity of the axe head.
Even then, the axe head which weighs 4.8 pounds is created with a tempered zone right on the edge so that every time you sharpen the axe, it gets razor-sharp quickly. This axe can be very sharp when used with a traditional sharpening whetstone or if you are in a hurry, you can also use an axe file to quickly refine the nicks the blade gets overtime.
The Hickory wood handle is also another thing to admire with this axe. Treated with linseed oil to give you that firm grip and extra handsomeness on the wood grain it also has the bent design which some say lets you pack more power whenever you swing the axe.
And for you to protect the blade as well as to protect yourself from its sharp blade, this felling axe has a free traditional leather sheath that’s even decorated with a Swedish logo. To know how to maintain the appeal and sharpness of this tool, it also comes with a user’s manual.
What Do The Reviews Say?
Based on the reviews we’ve read so far, the axe head of this tool is a little bit wider compared to the traditional long-handled felling axes. And with a 33-inch handle, people see this as a huge axe that is meant to cut down any tree regardless of its size.
Therefore, for its size, this axe can be an ideal tool for clearing out forested areas for camping and lodging. Also, the bulk and size of this axe would be just fine no matter how tall you are. But definitely, if you are a “swinger”, you will instantly feel that this axe is made for you.
On the other hand, some expert axe users suggest that you have to practice using this axe first on smaller trees because this is quite big and heavy. But if you are a pro in using large axes and know the perfect way to swing a professional-rated axe, you could really like this tool.
From the time this axe gets out of this box, people know it’s a felling axe. The axe head, as one guy said measures 7 7/16” and the cutting edge is 1 11/16”. He also added that the blade is fully seated and it seems that this tool is really built for people who would use it for work.
Some people compare this Gransfors axe to American axes which are both distinguishably sharp right out of the box. In particular, this axe can be placed among the world’s most reliable axes because it has all the qualities of an American axe and a European axe combined.
These four axes are carefully chosen to give you wider freedom in choosing only the best felling axe. Their manufacturers are known to be the best axe makers in the US and Europe.
We all deserve to have only the best felling axes and it’s true that when you come up with an axe that passes all quality standards, you should expect that it would not be cheap. But that’s part of investing in some tools that you know can benefit you for many years. Don’t buy cheap axes that work best only for a moment then break down eventually.
We need to choose only the best quality felling axe because we need to be practical. Good tools are a good investment. A quality felling axe can make your job much easier and faster. When you use them, you won’t easily get tired because they are efficient. They may even outlast you and they may even be there for your sons or grandsons to fully use them.
When we do our blogs, we only choose and present quality products because we believe you deserve only the best. And when it comes to axes, the price should not be an issue. You buy them quite expensive and you should expect a good quality product. Therefore, it’s the quality of the axe first that you should consider before the price. Especially when it regards to American axes the quality would not be an issue.