Some of the best and most popular axes in the world are made in the land of the gods, Sweden. And they have been making hand-made axes for hundreds of years, resulting in some high-quality premium brands. That is what makes Swedish axes are so popular, the true craftsmanship that goes into every Swedish Axe. I will tell you a bit about the different manufacturers and their history, the different models there are and how they compare to each other.
- 1 Swedish axes history
- 2 Swedish Axe models compared
- 3 Conclusion about Swedish axes
Swedish axes history
The Swedish axe makers go back a long way. The first Swedish axes manufacturer goes back to 1697. At the end of the 19th century, there were around the 10 axe factories in Sweden as a result of the large-scale logging operations in Sweden in the 19th century.
The Swedish axe makers are well known for the high-quality hand-forged axes, with their distinctive style and perfect balance. They are made in some of the oldest forges in the world.
Many axe manufactures have closed down over the years in Sweden. The only Swedish axe manufactures left are Gransfors Bruks, Hults Bruk and S.A. Wetterlings. (Fiskars is made in Finland)
For more than 100 years has Gransfors Bruks making and perfecting handcrafted axes. It’s a small company with around the 30 employees which results in a high quality and feel of the axes.
Gransfors Bruks is one of the leading axe producers in the world, creating high-quality axes. They are sold in more than 30 countries. A nice detail about Gransfors Bruks is that every axe is signed with the smith’s initial.
Gransfors Burk acquired Wetterlings in 2017. Both product lines are maintained, but the Gransfors axes are made by Wetterlings.
One of the most popular Gransfors Bruks axes is the wildlife hatchet with a 13.5-inch handle. This is a really nice axe to take with you on a hiking trip.
Hults Bruk, Hultafors and Husqvarna
Hults Bruk is making axes since 1691, Hultafors and Husqvarna didn’t make any axes self. So how do they fit together? Hultafors acquired Hults Bruk in 1992 and they started selling Hults Bruk axes in the United States in 2015 for the first time. You will find axes labelled under Hultafors and Hults Burk.
Husqvarna axes are also made by Hults Burk. So every Swedish axe is either made in the Hults Bruk forge or the Gransfors Bruk (and Wetterlings) forges! Something most people didn’t know.
S. A. Wetterlings
Wetterlings axes have been one the most favourite axes in the United States. They had a perfect balance between price and performance. After Wetterlings was acquired in 2017, they stated that the Wetterlings axe will be phased out in the summer of 2017. But depending on the demand, it is possible that some models may be in stock a little longer.
Swedish Axe models compared
So how do the Swedish axe models compare? I have broken this down in the main models, selecting the most popular model for each brand.
Swedish Compact Hatchet
A compact hatchet has a really short handle, around the 10-inches, making them perfect for carving, making kindlings and removing limbing. The head weighs around the 1 lb. They are all great hatchets with a really good quality.
Swedish Hunter’s Axe
You can recognize a hunter’s axe by its longer handle, around the 17-inches with a head weight around the 1.5 lb. Hunters axes are better suited for fire building and creating shelter. They are easy to carry and versatile enough to chop, spit and carve small logs.
Swedish Outdoor Axe
An outdoor axe is a compact, two-handed axe that fits in or on your backpack. Due to its length and weight, it’s perfectly capable of chopping and felling smaller trees that you can use to build a fire or shelter.
This axe model is really popular by a lot of outdoorsmen that love to go into the woods. A typical Outdoor Axe has a length around the 20 inches and a head weight around 1.5 lb.
Swedish Felling Axe
Felling axes are there in two kinds, smaller ones that are made for the softer wood types. They have a length of around the 26-inches and a head weight around the 2lb. The bigger felling axes, made for the larger hardwood trees, have a handle around the 32-inches and a head weight around the 3 lb.
Felling axes for softer wood types
Felling axes for larger hardwood trees
Conclusion about Swedish axes
So what we have learned is that there are only a couple of Swedish forges left, making all the Swedish axes that are available these days. The prices of a Swedish axe ranges from the premium Gransfors Bruk to the budget Husqvarna. If you buy a Swedish axe you know you get a good quality product that will last for life and is hand-made in one of the oldest forges in the world.