Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe vs. Small Forest Axe

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Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe vs. Small Forest Axe

There are many reasons to own an axe.

If you’re seeking to live a life closer to nature, you might use them to clear areas of debris and foliage; you might use them to cut firewood to keep yourself warm and cook your food over. Some people even purchase an axe purely for protective reasons.

Whatever reason you have for buying a new axe, you’ll want to find the best possible choice for you and your needs. With so many models on the market, it can feel like a slog searching through reviews and hunting for your ideal axe.

That’s why we’ve decided to cut straight through any confusion and compare two of the best axes currently being made for you. We’ll be comparing the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe against the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe.

We’re going to look objectively at what makes each of these special, and find out which is the overall champion.

Image
Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe 19 Inch, 420
Product
Gränsfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
Gränsfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
Head Material
High carbon steel
High carbon steel
Handle Material
Grade A Hickory
Grade A Hickory
Length
14.75 Inches
19 inches
Head Weight
1.0 lb
1.5 lbs
Total Weight
1.2 lbs
2 lbs
Included Sheath
Warranty
20 Year Gränsfors Guarantee
20 Year Gränsfors Guarantee
Rating
Price
$199.95
$183.99
Image
Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
Product
Gränsfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
Head Material
High carbon steel
Handle Material
Grade A Hickory
Length
14.75 Inches
Head Weight
1.0 lb
Total Weight
1.2 lbs
Included Sheath
Warranty
20 Year Gränsfors Guarantee
Rating
Price
$199.95
Image
Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe 19 Inch, 420
Product
Gränsfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
Head Material
High carbon steel
Handle Material
Grade A Hickory
Length
19 inches
Head Weight
1.5 lbs
Total Weight
2 lbs
Included Sheath
Warranty
20 Year Gränsfors Guarantee
Rating
Price
$183.99

First of all, let’s take a little look at each of these axes individually, before moving on to the comparison. We’re going to pit these axes against each other to see what they both offer and find out which is the best.

Both products are from Gransfors Bruks, a high quality manufacturer of rugged outdoor axes.

Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe

Straight off the bat, the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is designed and built entirely with the end-user in mind. It’s a lightweight, functional axe that’s comfortable to swing and performs well. The steel collar on the axe is perfect for helping to deflect impact when you’re out splitting wood.

 The wooden handle and the steel of the axe are both higher quality than most, as you’d expect from a manufacturer like Gransfors Bruks. Another standout feature is the sheath, which fits snugly and is a gorgeously produced piece of leather in of itself.

Pros

  • Astounding functionality and ease-of-use
  • Aesthetically beautiful design and leather axe sheath

Cons

  • The smaller cutting area of the axe might not be ideal for all potential users
  • On the higher end of the spectrum price-wise

Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe

With a lightweight build and a slim head, the Small Forest Axe definitely isn’t the heftiest model on the market. The sleekness of the axe really stands out against others in the crowd, though, and is actually one of its main selling points. It’s a well-made medium-sized axe that’s durable and portable.

In terms of an axe that you can always have at hand, the Small Forest Axe has to be one of the most convenient and reliable on the market. Like all Gransfors Bruks models, it has been thoroughly tested and you can rest assured that it’s passed every test they threw it into.

Read our in depth review here.

Pros

  • Robust, razor-sharp steel that can really pack a punch
  • The beautifully curved handle makes the Small Forest Axe a pleasure to use

Cons

  • The Small Forest Axe is higher-priced than others on the market
  • Not suitable for splitting larger chunks of hardwood

The Blade

Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe

Although the blade of the Outdoor Axe is relatively small compared to others on the market, it still performs outstandingly well. It’s portable and won’t wear down as quickly as larger models. Because of its size, it’s perfect for use when clearing away bushes and other foliage. The lightweight nature of the blade also means it provides plenty of control when using it to hand carve.

Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe Blade

You can cut trunks with the Outdoor Axe, although it’s suggested not to chop anything over 6-8 inches. Small logs can easily be split due to the unique shaping of the blade – it features a splitting wedge, as opposed to the usual Gransfors Bruk deep convex shape. The back end of the blade features a flat, rectangular hammer which is ideal for camping (E.G. hammering in tent pegs).

Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe

The high carbon steel of the Small Forest Axe is robust, durable, and very sharp. It sports the classic Gransfors Bruk shape that has proved so popular over the years. It’s fitted to the handle extraordinarily tight, so there’s no chance of it wiggling or coming loose during use.

Gränsfors Bruks Small Forest Head

As with many axes, there is the chance of the blade rusting if it gets wet. Keeping on top of this problem by applying mineral oils and maintaining the steel is essential if you’ll be getting the axe wet during regular use. This also has the added benefit of keeping the blade looking fresh and new, even months (or years) down the line.

The Handle

As long as you use the Outdoor Axe only for tasks it was designed for, you’ll find the handle to be extremely durable and strong. It doesn’t have as pronounced a curve as other models on the market. In fact, it’s one of the straightest handles out there. The small flare at the bottom does prevent slippage, though, and a bulge further up the handle means it’s perfect for a choke grip.

Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe

The steel collar fitted on to the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is as strong and well-designed as you’d expect from these manufacturers. It helps to limit any damage the axe can sustain while splitting logs and it provides an extra boost to the overall strength of the structure.

Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe

The smooth, refined handle of the Small Forest Axe is made from exceptional quality hickory. It curves nicely without any major bumps, meaning that it handles well and there are no problems using it for extended periods of time.

Gränsfors Bruks Small Forest Axe Handle

The grip of the axe is great – your hands move across the surface of the handle comfortably and the palm swell at the bottom stops it from slipping out through your fingers. The handle and the head of the axe are fairly small, but nowhere near as small as a hatchet. Despite its size, it’s a strong handle and can withstand even the most powerful of strikes.

At the base of the handle, you’ll find a small lanyard hole drilled straight through. This is really convenient and perfect for threading a loop of leather, fabric, or rope through and then hanging the axe up somewhere safe.

The Sheath

Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe

For many people, the quality and design of the sheath don’t even factor into their decision when they’re looking for a brand new axe. If you’re the type of person who appreciated a well-made sheath, however, you’re in for a treat.

This handcrafted leather sheath is certainly the most aesthetically pleasing of the two. It’s beautifully crafted, with an easy slide-in design, and a useful strap to keep your axe safe and secure when it’s fitted.

Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe

There’s nothing about the sheath which comes with the Small Forest Axe that will sway your final purchase. It’s a purely functional addition, made from vegetable tanned leather. It certainly gets the job done with minimal problems, but it’s not something to write home about.

Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe Sheath

Because the blade of the axe is hooked into the sheath (as opposed to just sliding in), you can expect to see small cuts and markings appear over time. It’s doubtful that this is a sheath that can stand the test of time. For what it is, however, it performs fairly well and it does look good when fitted.

Price

Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe

Coming in at around $200, the Outdoor Axe from Gransfors Bruks is definitely not a purchase for the faint of heart. You wouldn’t expect to buy an axe of this quality and craftsmanship for any less, though. Gransfors Bruks is firmly cemented on the higher end of the spectrum in the world of axes.

Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe

At around $190, the Small Forest Axe certainly isn’t the cheapest model on the market. Quality, however, does come at a price, and this Gransfors Bruks axe is more than worth the asking price when you consider the exceptional build quality and overall design.

A Few Last Words

Here are a few final thoughts on how each of the axes could be improved in future iterations. In this section, we’re just going to cover the factors which could end up affecting your purchasing decision.

The Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is, overall, a superb piece of craftsmanship. The straight handle, however, could take some getting used to, and might not be the kind of aesthetic look that many out there are looking for. The price, too, could really influence your purchase – although with that prices comes an exceedingly high-quality product.

Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
36 Reviews
Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
  • Drake Off Road Tools 2.5" face
  • 14.75" hickory handle
  • Head weight - 1 lb
  • Full grain-leather sheath - Included
  • The "Axe Book" - Included

The Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe is well-designed in almost every way possible. Its smooth hickory handle is a pleasure to hold and feels natural in every swing. The fiddly sheath, however, can be a pain to fit. Not being able to split larger trunks is also a concern, although that’s what should be expected with models this size.

Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe 19 Inch, 420
343 Reviews
Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe 19 Inch, 420
  • Length with handle: 19 inch, Comes original Gransfors "Axe-book"
  • Weight: 2 lbs
  • Sheath in vegetable tanned leather
  • Perfect for splitting small sticks or cutting limbwood
  • The Small Forest Axe is excellent for felling trees and limbing

So, What Should You Get?

As with all purchase decisions, the final choice is entirely up to you. Whatever your needs are in an axe should be the deciding factor for you. Both of these axes have points for and against them, and it all boils down to which elements you find most important in an axe.

The most important points to consider will more than likely be the quality of the blade and the handle. Other factors (such as the sheath) are purely aesthetic concerns, so think about functionality and how well an axe performs before deciding based on looks alone. Consider how you’ll be using the product and what you want to achieve with it.

When it comes to the blade, the Outdoor Axe has a clear advantage for splitting logs. The splitting wedge design is a welcome addition and means that even the most hardened small logs can easily be tackled. The Small Forest Axe, however, is so sharp and robust. Straight out of the box, this axe can get to work – which is a really important feature.

In terms of the handle, many will be put off by the straight design of the Outdoor Axe. If you prefer a more ergonomic, curved handle – with plenty of grip and comfort – then the Small Forest Axe might just be the right choice for you.

You can rest assured that both of the axes covered here are high-quality products. Whichever one you pick will be made of the best materials and designed to near-perfection. The choice is yours to make and, hopefully, enough information has been provided here for it to be an easy and informed decision for you.

Here are some other high quality axes if neither of these axes make the cut for you.

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