I decided to try a Husqvarna Carpenters Axe because I want to learn some woodcrafting skills. I decided on the Husqvarna mainly because I can’t afford a Gransfors Bruk carpenter’s axe. In looking at pictures of both, I actually preferred the slightly curved bit on the Husqvarna to the straight bit on the GB. The Husqvarna is a Swedish made axe just like the GB, so for $60 I figured it was worth a try – especially since the GB is over $150. My first thought after looking at it is I’m not impressed. I’m not going to be swinging it so maybe some of the things will turn out to be not a big deal, but still…
This is a high quality axe handle???
The first thing I didn’t like when I picked up the axe for the first time is the handle. It’s only rough sanded, and a few spots are so rough it feels like you could get a sliver if you’re not careful. Grain orientation is poor. Grain runout is bad, and looks like about 50-50 sap wood and heart wood (will post pics soon).
The biggest problem with the handle, though, is the design. It’s too thick to choke up on the head, which is a pretty big deal for an axe used for carving and carpentry work. And it’s not just too thick – there’s a big spike that hits right on your palm when you choke up on this axe. It can be thinned a litlle bit, but not too much because the eye in the head is so big. It’s like they put the eye from a full size felling axe in a carving axe’s head.
The handle/head fit is poor, with lots of gaps between the head and handle on the bottom side. “Probably” won’t matter for light striking, but kind of bothersome.
On to the hand forged Swedish axe head…
As bad as the handle is, the head is even worse. When I first looked at this axe I thought it was just canted to one side in relation to the handle. No big deal, lots of axes are like that, even big name Swedish axes. Looking closely though, it’s not just an alignment problem. The head isn’t shaped right. The eye looks flared at the bottom and the poll is miss-shaped and canted to one side (pics coming soon).
I don’t like returning things. It’s a hassle, and I hate paying return shipping costs. But you have to do what you have to do sometimes. I went looking on YouTube for reviews on the Husqvarna Carpenters Axe. I figured if they all looked like mine I’d just keep it and eat the $60 loss. If it turned out mine was flawed, I’d try to get the seller to send a replacement with free shipping.
I found quite a few reviews on this axe. Most of them spoke glowingly of the Carpenters Axe, even though most of them were using it for chopping instead of carving or carpentry work. None of them mentioned the problems that my axe has so I was going to send it back. Then I found a different video on upgrading the Husqvarna Carpenters Axe. It wasn’t a review, instead it detailed the problems with this axe – the same ones my axe had – and what the guy did to fix them.
After watching the video, I decided to keep the axe. Maybe it will be a fun project.
Would I recommend the Husqvarna Carpenters Axe? Well…
If you expect a high quality axe that’s ready to use when you get it, then I would not recommend the Husqvarna Carpenters Axe. Save your money and buy something better. I know this is “just” a $60 axe, but even for $60 this axe comes with more problems than it should.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive axe that you can put some time in and have a nice axe for less than you’d pay for a Granfors Bruk, the Husqvarna might be worth checking out. After mine gets the tune up, I’ll report back on the results.