The Quest for an Affordable American/Canadian/European hatchet?

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by leozinho, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
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    So today my new Council Tools Flying Fox came today from Baryonyx Knife Company ( @FortyTwoBlades ) , with the edge refinement option. It came very sharp, such that I didn’t have to do any work on it. I’m one of those guys who obsessively sharpens things because almost nothing ever comes sharp enough from the factory. I couldn’t believe it. The bevel on the top of the bit rides to one side, but I don’t feel like it effects the performance much and for $4 the edge refinement service is unbelievable. I couldn’t be much happier, especially for about 50 bucks, shipped. Too long, didn’t read? I want another one already! It’s worth the money.
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    It seems Baryonyx gives these a good inspection before shipping them out. The handle grain is really as good as it gets. The head is firmly seated, and best of all those handle stickers came right off! The handles are waxed- I kind of like the feeling of the wax- it’s grippy, not slick. It’s worth the money.
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    I’ve seen better wedge jobs, but in much more expensive axes. I do not see this impacting the performance at all, and for such an inexpensive too you gotta cut corners somewhere. I don’t expect this handle to last forever, but it’s got a fighting chance of making it a long time. This is worth the money.
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    It was dark by the time I got home to use it, but you know I gotta use it. Here’s after my third or fourth (and badly placed) strike. Swings like a dream, and the chips fly. Feels great in the hand, and makes my Estwing feel cumbersome. Worth every penny.
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    I finished that one off and went to a new section of this maple tree. I love watching those chips fly. It gets great velocity, and honestly feels effortless. 15” half verses 13” on the Estwing is barely noticeable, except that my strikes are consistently about 1 1/2” too far. I guess I really got a feel for the Estwing.
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    It’s a great hatchet- where has this thing been all my life? I finished cutting this ~6-8 inch diameter (estimated... I should go measure) up into six sections in probably under a half hour.
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    I’ll be asking for another one for Christmas. That probably isn’t a reasonable request, but it’s inexpensive, and frankly I’d love to have 10 of these. I know the OP @leozinho might still be on the hunt, but I know what I’d suggest. I haven’t tried splitting with it yet, but I’m confident it’ll do the trick.

    A person cannot go wrong with this one. I’d love to get one of these on a boys axe handle and have a go. This is the axe I wish I always had, but especially last weekend on my camping trip.
     
  2. Old Axeman

    Old Axeman Basic Member Basic Member

    873
    Jan 10, 2015
    Good review of the flying fox. I have never seen one in person, but, my instinct tells me I would really like it with a slim taper, 24", straight haft.
     
    A17, jake pogg, EngrSorenson and 2 others like this.
  3. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    I have my personal one set up on a 24" (nominal--22" end to end after fitting) boy's axe handle and it really shines on a stick that length.
     
    leozinho, Old Axeman and Trailsawyer like this.
  4. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    like an O.P. Link octagonal, or oval, slim-taper straight haft? Something similar, yet shorter, to what might be found on a certain True Temper Kelly Perfect?
    ...
    I must have read your book 4 times, cover to cover by now. :thumbsup: Your kind words are particularly meaningful.

    I’d ‘haft‘-a agree with you there. I feel like that would be a productive combination.

    I’m keen on this idea. how much fitting does that take? I feel like just trying to fit standard hafts snugly on “standard” heads takes a good amount of work (though let it be known I’m an unsuccessful perfectionist).

    For that matter, where do you take the material from? The bit side, or the pole side? Or evenly all around?

    Im glad you talked me into this one- I’m sure a Gransfors is great, but I love that I don’t have to be afraid to use this for what it was meant for.
     
  5. Old Axeman

    Old Axeman Basic Member Basic Member

    873
    Jan 10, 2015
    I would want the straight haft to maximize the use of the hardened poll.
     
  6. Old Axeman

    Old Axeman Basic Member Basic Member

    873
    Jan 10, 2015
    EngrSorenson- I have not looked at what O.P. Link has been selling for the last 20 yrs, but yes, like what Link used to sell in octagonal (my favorite) or oval slim taper straight haft. There are guys here who can tell you where you might find a haft maker who sells something you can make work. A 24" or a 26" miners pattern could be cut down to make what we are talking about. Or you could make a haft from a hickory stave. At some point in your axe journey you will want to make a haft from scratch.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
    EngrSorenson likes this.
  7. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    I've made two hatchet handles from maple and oak- they grow here on my property, and I figured it was better than wasting good hickory as I learned how to do it. It's very satisfying. I wish hickory billets were available to me. I'm going to look into a 26" miners pattern, assuming I'm going to lose about 2-4 inches to fitment. Of course that means I'd have to get another flying fox! ;) I couldn't sacrifice such a great hatchet. Thanks Bernie!
     
  8. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    The front of the eye is thicker than on a boy's axe eye so I took as much off the front as was needed to reach the required thickness to fill it, then the rest from the back. Because of the ribbed eye I do suggest putting a little shim in the kerf when test-fitting to keep the kerf from clamping shut instead of the grooves seating into the wood. Doesn't need to be super thick--just enough to keep the kerf from compressing when you knock the butt end of the handle to draw the head up onto the tongue. Since I'm only using the poll but rarely vs. the bit, I used a curved handle, but the curve is only slight, so it scarcely causes any interference in using the poll when needed.
     
    EngrSorenson likes this.
  9. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    Thanks for the pro tip! I was noticing some deflection of the kerf in a 3.5# craftsman that I recently rehafted and I had the same thought but ultimately elected not to on a typical standard head. I'm going to put some hard use on this hatchet, and elect to do the dishes every night, and then I'll broach the question to my wife regarding purchasing another. I can't wait until Christmas. Honestly, as a hatchet it really doesn't get much better. To have a longer handled version would just be tops.
     
  10. littleknife

    littleknife

    Nov 29, 2000
    Congratulations!
    I told you you will love the Flying Fox. :)
     
    FortyTwoBlades and EngrSorenson like this.
  11. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    Thanks so much, my friend. I do love it! There’s nothing more satisfying to me than a well made cutting tool. My wife green lit me today to get another axe and I’m very strongly considering getting another, which is probably silly, but I’m a super satisfied customer and who knows how long the Flying Fox will be in production?

    one nice thing about hatchets like this is that I can use it for carving in my wood shop. Long after the sun goes down I find myself in the warmth of my house enjoying the user experience. The only times I get to use a full size axe are generally when a tree has to go.

    We live in a world where people make a lot of biased claims based on personal preference, perception, branding, etc. It’s made me autopilot in skeptical mode; generally making me nervous about economical purchases. Thanks for your encouragement! The positive reviews of the CT FF were right on the money.

    That’s one thing I like about axes; the “working tool” nature of them only allows for so much personal preference. At the end of the day, the axe cuts or it doesn’t.

    I’m a very big fan of this axe forum. You all have a great community here. Thanks for all the support!
     
    Trailsawyer likes this.
  12. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    So I ended up with two hatchet hafts with standard sized eyes that are just a hair too small for the Flying Fox. I guess that means I need a standard size hatchet, right? Wouldn’t want to waste a haft or two.

    For 22 bucks I figured I’d give the Vaughan “super steel” 1 1/4 lb hatchet a try. I ordered it direct from them a few days ago and still haven’t see it ship. I tell ya, I’ll be a little miffed if I’m paying 11 dollars shipping plus three dollars in handling to wait a week for it to ship.

    I’m going to get a CT boys axe and another flying fox once 42 gets more in. I want to see if I’ll miss having the 1/2 if I haft the flying fox on a boy’s axe haft.
     
  13. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    Eh, I know I'm spoiled with shipping times, but that got ridiculous. I sent them a note through Vaughan's prescribed email system on Friday just to see what was going on. I didn't hear anything back for two more business days, so I called them about an hour ago just to have someone tell me they were back ordered 2-3 more weeks on their hatchets. Miffed at the lack of transparency, I've cancelled that order.

    Well looks like I'll be looking for another inexpensive 1 1/4 lb, standard-eye-size hatchet to try out. I've got two hatchet handles laying about that I otherwise probably won't be using.
     
  14. plumberroy

    plumberroy Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    If you can sharpen an axe the Vaughan is a gem American made 1085 steel mine came on a great hickory handle they are inexpensive because they do not hand sharpening they forge it paint it haft it and ship . The council tool boys axe I have is a good tool for the money . I love my vintage stuff but finding vintage stuff isn't as easy as it used to be
     
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  15. EngrSorenson

    EngrSorenson Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Jul 3, 2019
    So I figured I’d chime in again after putting more miles on the flying fox. I’ve had great success getting small to medium tasks done. I find that the narrow blade wants a more oblique (more shallow) cut to pop the chips, but the narrow bevel makes those angles easier to achieve. I did notice that the handle would fatigue the first knuckle joints of my right hand after lengthy usage. I found that the haft towards the knob was elegant and thin, but probably too thin for my hands. I figured I’d rehaft it, which is oddly pleasurable. It’s now featured on a 19” house axe handle which I modified significantly towards the tongue.
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    here you can see the ribbed eye fortytwoblades was talking about. It makes fitting a haft more challenging, but I do believe it adds security to the hang. It was pretty tough to get the old handle out.
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    here you can see the difference between a stock house handle (left) and the one I modified (right).
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    here you can see how significant the taper is.
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    my wedge went a little cock-eyed on me. You can see where the line would have met with the top of the haft had it bottomed out in the kerf. There’s a small gap in the front of the wedge, but I think it will probably be just fine.
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    finally the finished product. I’m excited to try this one out. The current dimensions and length make it approximately equivalent to the famous Gransfors Small Forest Axe.
     

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