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…
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
Model: Wooden Handle Hatchet
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.
For more decently-priced hatchets, check out my post about the best hatchets for the money.