Jan 182011
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An axe becomes as good as its smith. The motto belongs to one of the finest axe making companies in the world, Gränsfors Bruks.

Gränsfors was originally founded in Sweden in 1902, but went through a major philosophical shift in 1989 under the direction of CEO Gabriel Branby and skilled craftsman-designer Hans Erik Perrson. They redeveloped their axes to be the best in the field, while reflecting history, tradition and a common set of company values, including stewardship of the environment and a rigorous focus on quality.

Gränsfors axes are forged by professional smiths. The proof of this lies in their ability to create blades with such precision that no supplementary work is needed. The forging craft is allowed to take its time so there is no need to stone, grind, smooth or paint the axes in order to hide imperfections. Such is the personal investment by a smith into each axe that when he is satisfied with his work and has accepted his axe, he marks the head with his initials beside the company’s crown label.

Lost to many in urban environments is the range of axe variations and uses. For instance, pictured above are a felling axe (on top) and a splitting maul (on bottom). The felling is for chopping down trees, the maul is for splitting wood and carries a heavier poll (butt) which allows it to hammer wedges without damaging the axe. In addition to these, there are specialty axes and hatchets for limbing, game processing and skinning, throwing, carving, woodworking, etc. Each has a unique blade, handle shape, size and purpose. Today, the family-owned company produces about 30 styles of axes and related tools; each comes with a 20 warranty.

Fortunately, Gränsfors is not just passionate about building quality axes, but educating others about the history and uses of their axes, including tips on felling, splitting and maintaining good firewood (and fires). For free downloads of their essential The Axe Book and historical The Ancient Axe Book, click here. You can purchase Gränsfors axes in Atlanta at Highland Woodworking.

This review was originally written for Bearings. You can see the original review here.

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