Jan 16, 2006 at 7:48 pm #1217554
@beemancronLocale: Southwest US
Looking for some input on a chopping ax that can fit into my Gossamer Mariposa.
Thanks for any input.Jan 16, 2006 at 8:22 pm #1348734
@dangLocale: Pacific Northwet
Pricey, but this is a really nice belt hatchet that weighs 12 oz.
DanJan 16, 2006 at 8:27 pm #1348735
If you must chop, Gerber makes a 9″ hatchet (“Back Paxe”) that weighs 19 oz. (I think they also have a model with a small knife in the hollow handle.) Trail Blazer makes a 13″ hatchet that weighs 17.4 oz. Google for “lightweight hatchet” and you might find others. (Daniel: thanks for that link. The lightest Granfors Bruks I could find had a head weight of one pound.)
I prefer a saw. Fiskars 6″ Sliding Blade Pruning Saw with Belt Clip, 3.9 oz. This thing will rip through almost anything (it’s what I use for trail maintenance). Survival wire saws weight less than 2 oz, but you also need gloves or carabiners if you’re going to use one very much.Jan 16, 2006 at 8:56 pm #1348737
@dangLocale: Pacific Northwet
Here is a better picture I found that gives a better sense of scale:Jan 16, 2006 at 11:05 pm #1348743
I have the small Gerber hatchet mentioned. IME (in my experience), a small axe or a hatchet is not worth’s it weight, nor is it big (pun intended) either in the performance category. You have to exert a tremendous amount of energy to chop anything of a slightly larger size with the small axe/hatchet. The retracting 4oz saw (6″ saw blade i think it is) Gerber makes is so much more useful. There are other longer saw options that still weigh less then the smallest hatchet. The saw cuts wood so much faster than the small axe or hatchet. The small axe or hatchet makes some nice little chips which are useful as kindling. A sturdy knife blade can easily make fuzzy sticks to perform the same purpose.
It’s going to take 2+ lbs to get into the true small axe category. Even then, a longer, heavier axe is what you really want for a good camp/cabin axe. If you want a fine camp/cabin axe, Gerber makes those. For general backpacking though, go with the Gerber Saw. oh…if you primarily use rivers as transport, then maybe a longer, larger camp/cabin axe (3-4 lbs) would be ‘ok’ – especially if your portages are not too long.Jan 17, 2006 at 4:35 pm #1348819
Most small axes sorta suck at chopping. Instead, I like the Ghurka tool — the Khukri (that big bent-loooking knife) — because if you’ve GOTTA carry a small chopping tool, you may as well have a piece that can do a lot more things for the same weight. Khukris are great choppers, but will also work well as slicers and dicers, pry bars and more. http://www.m4040.com/Survival/Ghurka/Khukri%20Modification.htmJan 17, 2006 at 4:39 pm #1348820
@ryanfLocale: Mid atlantic, No. Cal
You know those survival wire saws, they work well for cutting larger logs and the saws on the swiss army knives work for the smaller stuff
my 2 centsJan 18, 2006 at 5:42 am #1348862
@worthLocale: Wind River Range
I carry and use the Back Paxe strictly for splitting wood when paddling in the Canadian boreal forrests. I would be afraid to swing the hacthet for chopping wood. The hatchet is usually a luxuary item unless we have been experiencing allot of rain.Jan 18, 2006 at 6:18 am #1348863
@foodLocale: Colorado Rockies
A couple of times I used my wire saw in the backcountry and was disappointed with the performance. I thought it was because I did not know how to use it so I tried using it to trim trees in the yard. I threw the worthless 1.5 oz. thing away and replaced it with a Coghlans Pocket Sierra saw – 1.5 oz. In the winter I also carry a Coghlan Sierra saw – 5.8 oz.
A saw cuts wood better than a hatchet, but a hatchet splits wood better.Jan 18, 2006 at 6:30 am #1348864
A friend of mine brought his swiss knife along hiking with us last weekend. A saw on a pocket knife is a common thing. I always thought they were a bit of a joke. But he mannaged to cut through a piece of wood about 4″ across in only a few minutes. I was most impressed. Then I began to think how heavy that knife was and whether there were ways to only have the uselful things on a multitool. Then I kinda got carried away with thinking about weight reduction.
see if you can find a cheap one and have a go.Jan 18, 2006 at 9:14 am #1348870
I have the Gerber BackPaxe and find it too heavy for its functionality to bring along. I was givien a Sven saw for Christmas and at 14.1 oz. it will rarely be left behind on cold Winter hikes from here on out. I took it on a canyon-hiking trip this past weekend where I encountered a 27 degree low, and an abundance of deadfall in a cozy cedar stand where we made camp. I highly recommend this saw if cutting wood is your thing…and resources are not abused.Jan 18, 2006 at 10:23 am #1348875
@bfornshellLocale: Southern Texas
I have owned one of these for over 20 years. It is called a Fast Bucksaw. It is 21.5″ long at the saw blade and they weigh 16oz.
Yes, I know this isn’t light in todays world but 20 years ago it was just another pound. I have cut a lot of tree branches with mine. It was great to carry while dog sledding and on winter hikes with a group that divides the weigh of some items between them.
I think a clever person could make a saw like this but about half the size and cut the weight to about 8oz. maybe less.Jan 18, 2006 at 11:55 am #1348881
james w glennMember
Ive salvaged a number of old axe heads and have found that a small axe head with a thin blade kept razor sharp mounted on a long handle is an efficant tool. the handle gives “edge” speed not leverage for chopping. care must be taken not to “stick” the blade into a log.The idea is to take a log apart into chips, not hacking thru conan style. A little tv time watching timber sports will be instructive as to technique. As the blade is thin and sharp it can be used as a knife to pare wood or skin a critter. Some of the best hatchet heads ive seen for this type of axe are cheap dollar store chinese hatchets. They are light and have a very thin blade. A shingling hatchet also has a simular geometry. Another real advantage of a long handle is safty. a short handled hatchet can easly bury itself in your knee as it has such a small circle of blade run out. A thin blade is not optimal for spliting fire wood but any thing is possible with enoght patience and wedges..Jan 18, 2006 at 12:32 pm #1348887
Interesting. Sounds more like a tomahawk (small axe head, light weight, very sharp edge, long handle), than a hatchet. Can understand why it’s “not optimal for splitting fire wood” given its weight and edge. Sounds like you have a good double duty piece of gear here. However, i’m sure it weighs more than a 4oz mini-saw. BTW, what does it weigh?Jan 18, 2006 at 12:48 pm #1348889
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
I have a Marbles belt axe that does a good job of
splitting wood for its size. and is well made with good high carbon steel. Smokey Mountain Knives
has some cosmetic 2nds for less than $20. Works
well for skinning Moose too.
A machete will do many of the same things as
a hachet and if you hold the handle with one hand
and hit the far end of the blade with a piece of wood, you can split rounds.Jan 18, 2006 at 2:05 pm #1348897
@halfturboLocale: Northernish California
I’ve used a Sandvik pruning saw around the house for about ten years. I’ve literally cut down whole trees with the thing–it’s great.
No chopping though.
Felco makes a nice one too, but the Sandvik’s handle is easier to grip and has a better blade lock.Jan 18, 2006 at 2:09 pm #1348898
@ryanfLocale: Mid atlantic, No. CalJan 18, 2006 at 3:19 pm #1348899Jan 18, 2006 at 3:22 pm #1348900
A person can make do, quite well, without a saw or an ax if their knife is of sufficent quality.
Even a knife too light to chop with, can be baton’d through most anything, and a really good knife can be baton’d through a tree.
Batons cost, and weigh, nothing… you pick them up from the dirt when you need them.Jan 18, 2006 at 3:53 pm #1348906
Pocket Chain Saw – obviously not a hatchet, but have a look.
5 oz., $16Jan 18, 2006 at 4:56 pm #1348911
Great link. That saw looks slightly similar to the Gerber, at least the blade is a bit similar, though longer – the handle very different though.. It’s a much bigger saw than the Gerber for just 2.4oz more wt. The Gerber blade slides back into the handle. A knurled knob (screws down) holds the blade in both the deployed and retracted positions.
Jim, Nice Saw too. Bigger yet, but still relatively light weight compared to a small hatchet. Looks very serviceable. Thanks for the link. I have the Sven saw from Campmor – 21″ blade, but, IIRC, an ounce or two heavier than even RyanF’s buck saw. Yours looks better for the L/UL hiker than my Sven – too heavy.
RyanF, ye olde buck saw – always a classic.
A small saw is definitely better than a hatchet (not a full-fleged axe, which is too heavy) for a L/UL weekend in the woods during winter. I “wood” prefer to cut rather than chop and split. Enough deadfall in many places to provide sufficient wood. Frankly, if any of the three saws suggested can’t cut enough firewood, I doubt a tiny hatchet would provide any more even with more effort. hey…maybe i’m wrong, but IME, the saw is less work and provides more firewood. my $0.02.Feb 6, 2006 at 8:42 pm #1350051
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
I found a Stanley SL14 pocket saw for $5: 4-1/4″ long folded and 2.8 oz. Looks like an Old Timer pocket knife until you open it up. http://us.st11.yimg.com/store1.yimg.com/I/wj-enterprises_1882_8431227
It would be okay for cutting branches.
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