If you are going to be felling trees, then a tool that you need in your kit bag is a quality, reliable axe. A good axe is an indispensible tool for clearing brush out of the way, stripping thick, dirty bark off the trunk that would otherwise dull your chain prematurely, or driving your wedges. It can also be a handy tool to check the soundness of the trunk before cutting. A good, strong whack from your axe can help to reveal if there is any rot in the trunk that might cause your hinge or back-strap to fail prematurely.
Although the local hardware store is filled with many different axes, not all axes are suitable for use in a forestry application. When it comes to “forest” utility axes, the Gransfors Bruks is king, but they might not be readily available in your neck of the woods, or, maybe, you’re like us and don’t feel like dropping two to three hundred bones on an axe that will only see occasional use. Enter the Fiskars Chopping Axe. With a 28″ Shock-absorbing FiberComp® handle and a razor sharp 2.31 pound (1.05 kg) forged head, the widely distributed chopping axe is a great choice for anyone who needs a high performance forestry axe at a reasonable price.
Fiskars has brought the 28″ forestry axe back from the discontinued grave in a “new” all black tactical-esque ninja styling. The 28″ axe is the perfect length: balancing reach, power, and comfort in chopping situations. The axe comes quite sharp and really bites into the wood. The composite handle reduces vibrations on impact and reduces the overall weight. Fiskars has given us a great performer at a great price point. The cutting depth of each stroke is impressive. The axe head also comes with a teflon-esque coating to reduce sticking in the cut, but how long it will last is unknown.
The 28″ chopping axe comes equipped with a molded plastic sheathe that attaches securely to the axe head. It can be a bit tricky putting the axe in the sheathe as the sharp blade surface cuts easily into the plastic sheathe which has a tendency to “jam” the head before it is secure. The all black handle does reduce its visibility and increases its chances of being misplaced. The classic orange and black styling is more practical in the brush, but the ninja look is sleek.
I have attached two short videos for anyone who might enjoy watching a video of a wanna-be lumberjack hacking away at a log and cutting down a dead spruce. Enjoy the miss-strikes (a placement on the Timberpro circuit is unlikely), while noting the cutting performance. The video has been sped-up in places to shorten the viewing time (and partially obscure the miss-strikes), and some slow motion has been added to showcase the cutting performance and allow the viewer to enjoy the slow motion “thunk” sound of an axe biting into wood. For the money, this axe is a tough performer.