Husqvarna Hatchet

Husqvarna 13″ Hatchet Review: Pros & Cons

Husqvarna is making a large impact in the camping and survivalist communities by way of their 13″ wooden handle hatchet. It offers a “hand-forged” head with a curved, hickory handle and comes complete with a leather sheath. All of this for around $40 (click here to see it on Amazon). But before you buy one for yourself, read my in-depth review to make sure you’re not wasting your hard earned money.

In this review, I’ll cover the basics like the materials used, the weight, measurements, etc. I’ll give you my first impressions as well as what I like and dislike about this hatchet. Finally, at the end of the review, I’ll give you my recommendation on whether or not this is worth the money.

Hand-forged by who? Husqvarna?

The first thing you’ll notice in the picture above is the Husqvarna logo stamped on the cheek of the axe, followed by “HAND FORGED”. Indeed, this hatchet is actually hand-forged. Drop-forged by hand, to be precise. Where? In Sweden, of course. The truth is, Husqvarna doesn’t hand-forge their axes. They purchase the heads of their axes from another company. But which company is it?

I can’t find an official statement from Husqvarna that says which company makes them. Woodsmen, campers, and survivalists across the internet have been in debate about which company it is. Some say Wetterlings and others say Hults Bruk. Many believe it was Wetterlings making the heads until 2011 and now its Hults Bruk. This might be the case. Both Husqvarna and Hults Bruk axes share a similar appearance and head pattern. Whatever the case is, both companies are remarkable at drop-forging axes; they are some of the best tools in the world.

From what I understand, Husqvarna purchases the heads of their hatchets in bulk. From there, they hang each one with a hickory handle, sharpen the cutting edge and send it out for sale. As for how they can do all this for $40 and still turn a profit? I don’t know.

My First Impression…

Husqvarna Hatchet - Both Sides

I didn’t have a chance to visit a Husqvarna retailer in person. Doing this might give you more options in terms of selecting the best hatchet in store. Instead, I bought mine from Amazon. Oh, and I already had high expectations from reading other reviews online. I was pretty excited when I received the package.

My first thoughts were something along the lines of – it’s definitely hand-forged and its kind of heavy. I like the feel of the handle, although something more slender would be preferable for me personally. Both the handle and the head appear to be in good condition as well as the sheath. I noticed some small gaps between the head and the handle but other than that, my first impression was good.

The Specs

Since this is what I consider an in-depth review, I want to be as thorough as possible. That includes adding all the product information like weight, length, the materials, etc. That’s what you’ll find in this section. I won’t go into too much detail on whether or not the specs are good or bad. Instead, I’m just going to list them and do my best to explain everything I can think of.

The overall weight of this hatchet is 2 lbs 2.3 oz (without the sheath).

Head

I didn’t remove the head of the axe to weigh it separately so this information comes from Husqvarna’s website. Their website says the weight of the head is 1.32 lbs but this information isn’t always accurate; I’ll explain more about that in the section below. Here are the dimensions of the head.

  • Length (from cutting edge to poll): 5 & 3/4 inches
  • Cutting Edge Length (from toe to heel): 3 & 3/8 inches
  • Poll Width (side to side): 1 inch
  • Poll Height (top to bottom): 2 inches
  • Head Weight: 1.32 lbs

I took several pictures before sharping and treating the handle. I did this so you will know what to expect if you decide to get a Husqvarna hatchet.

Husqvarna Hatchet Head

Untouched head of a Husqvarna hatchet.

As you can see in the picture above, it will arrive with a decent cutting edge. It’s not perfect and definitely not “shaving sharp” but it’s what I expected. As a matter of fact, the cutting edge was actually uneven towards the heel of the bit. I tried taking pictures for you guys but they turned out blurry. Anyway, it’s not a big deal. Just know that you’ll probably have a sharpen your hatchet when you get it.

Handle

Husqvarna Hatchet Handle

This “13-inch” handle is made from Hickory. It has a pretty obvious curve (See the picture in the “First Impression” section). The grain orientation is good. I believe Husqvarna put a light coat of oil on the handle but it was hard to tell. I know it didn’t have a varnish on it – which is good.

  • Handle length: 15-inches
  • Type of Wood: Hickory

Remember in the last section when I said the retailer’s website is not always an accurate source of information? Well, their website says the handle on THIS hatchet is 13-inches. It is not. The actual length of the handle is 15-inches.

The Husqvarna logo is on one side and there is an illustration on the other. The illustration is a warning not to strike the poll of the head with a hammer. Which, by the way, that is something you can do with most splitting mauls and some carpenter’s hatchets. Don’t do that with this hatchet; its head isn’t designed for striking.

All-in-all, the handle is good. I ended up sanding off the logo and illustration. This helped to ensure the handle was smooth to my liking and also exposed some fresh wood before I put linseed oil on the handle.

Sheath

Husqvarna Hatchet Sheath

There isn’t a whole lot to say about the sheath. Its sole purpose is to protect the cutting edge. It’s small, easy to use, and it’s leather. Pretty straightforward. I’ve read some concerns about the sheath falling off. I personally haven’t had this happen and I believe this was an issue with the older version of the hatchet.

I can’t imagine a scenario where this sheath would come off. It’s tight around the cutting edge – nice and snug. The sheath snap is sturdy. It should last several years or more. By the way, the picture above makes the sheath look black but it’s not. It’s dark brown.

This is what I don’t like…

Husqvarna Hatchet Head & Handle Gaps

Gaps between the head and the handle of the hatchet.

The only disappointing part of the Husqvarna hatchet are the gaps between the head and handle. I don’t expect perfection for $40 and maybe I’m being a bit critical but the gap between the wedge in the eye of the head is less than desirable.

The wood is pressed firmly against the metal everywhere except in the parts shown in the picture above. There is a small gap on the bottom (picture on the bottom right) which is hard to notice. The other two are easy to spot. The head doesn’t wobble. It’s not loose. I’ve chopped some wood with the hatchet and it’s as sturdy as can be. I feel safe using it. I’m not worried right now. Will it come loose in the future? I’m not sure. Only time will tell.

Perhaps this is one of the trade-off’s Husqvarna took in order to bring down the cost of the hatchet or maybe its a fluke and I received a bad one? Another thing I don’t like is how thick the handle is. That’s really personal preference, though. I guess I have small hands? I don’t know.

What I do like

What I do like about the Husqvarna 13″ 15″ hatchet outweighs the dislikes. For starters, it’s hand-forged and has a hickory handle for around $40. You can’t get that anywhere else. At least not that I know of. Assuming you take care of the handle and rub some oil on the head when you’re storing it, this hatchet is near heirloom quality and it will last you a long time.

The drop-forged head is as good as it gets for the price. It’s on par with the top brands and surely won’t disappoint. Regrettably, I’m not able to find the type of steel used other than “Swedish steel.” Swedish steel has a long history of superior steel deposits producing few impurities and a handful of trace elements that are difficult to recreate. This makes it a great choice for knives and axes, as the steel tends to hold an edge very well.

The weight is good. It’s heavy compared to most hatchets but it feels like something you can do a lot of work with. It’s fun to swing. I find myself wanting to cut more wood with this hatchet even when I don’t need to.

The Verdict

Now we’ve reached the section where I tell you whether or not it’s worth the money. I try to cover the main scenarios in which you, the reader, will be using this tool and explain why you may or may not want it. I can’t cover every topic but I’ll hit the big ones.

Survivalists will like the Husqvarna hatchet due to its old-school design sporting a wooden handle. Having a tool you can depend on is essential in a survival situation. This hatchet is dependable. The hickory handle is what sets it apart from other cheap hatchets. You can replace the handle if it breaks whereas a hatchet with a carbon fiber handle can’t be replaced.

Campers and hikers might have mixed feelings. Due to the weight, hikers and trekkers may opt for something that weighs less. It really depends on how strict you are on your carry weight and how much usage you’ll get from a hatchet. You can take something like a Fiskars X7, which is really lightweight, but the difference is less than 1 lb. It’s up to you whether the weight matters as much as the quality. The Husqvarna hatchet is definitely superior in quality.

I recommend this hatchet for every-day work around the yard, too. Whether you’re clearing brush, splitting kindling, or anything else, this hatchet is awesome. It offers so much value for the price. To get a better hatchet, you’ll probably spend between $70 – $120; this is why I’m gushing over the Husqvarna 13″ 15″ hatchet. I highly recommend this hatchet.

I’ve shown you its shortcomings, my likes, and dislikes, and with all that, the next time I need a hatchet, it is definitely the one I’ll be using. As for now, I’ve got the cutting edge sharpened, the head and handle oiled, and it’s being stored in a dry location until the next time I need it. If you found this review helpful, please consider sharing with family and friends. Also, if you have any questions about this review or the hatchet, feel free to leave a comment in the section below. I’ll do my best to answer all your questions.

Comments

  • Roy R. Patterson

    First thank you for your article. it was some what helpful. My only question is you said to not strike or use a hammer on the head, for slitting. I buy my fire wood already split. But some times I have to split or make small some of the larger pieces, because they are to large for the stove. Would you recommend not using this one and do you have a recommendation for one that I can use that does not cost and arm and leg. And thank you once again for the fine article. Roy

    • admin

      Hey Roy! I appreciate the compliment and I’m glad this article was at least a little helpful for you. Husqvarna stamps a warning on the handle of this axe, actually. It’s a warning to not strike the pole with a hammer. It’s the design of the head of the axe, not necessarily the brand. A similar hatchet from Gransfors Bruk, for example, is the same way; you shouldn’t strike the pole.

      For splitting kindling it should be fine. Light hammering with a rubber mallet shouldn’t cause any damage. If you’re having to strike the poll very hard, however, you may have to find a different hatchet.

      Most splitting mauls are built with strike in-mind but it sounds like you need something small. A one-handed maul or perhaps a carpenter’s hatchet with a hammer poll. These are the types to look for. I personally haven’t tested them, at least not in the way that I would feel comfortable recommending one to you. I will, however, recommend you do some research on the “Estwing Special Edition Fireside Friend” and carpenter’s hatchets with hammer polls. Maybe in the Estwing or Plumb brand. And definitely shy away from the tactical brands as they’re usually lower quality tools.

  • Stephen Chapman

    I have 4 maybe 5 of the Husqvarna hatchets. Mine are about 12 years old are older. Made around 2005 or so. These are excellent tools very sharp and are weighted perfect for debarking are felling a tree. They are so good I put mine up on a shelf with other old tools and conversation pieces. I use a cheap garage sale hatchet to split small pine knot for my wood stove. The only reason I would break out my sexy Sweed 😉 is if I where to be showing her off to my jealous friends !!!!

    #husqvarnasince1616
    ⚒⚙️⛓⛏🔪🛡🗡

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