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Thread: Wetterling Axe Woes

  1. #1
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    Wetterling Axe Woes


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    After reading this forum for about a month, I decided to buy the Wetterling chopping axe. I received it this evening, gave it a few passes on a foam pad and 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper,and went out back to the wood pile. I was impressed by the big chunks this axe took out of some recently downed oak. Unfortunately though, I may have hit a knot on the toe because my brand new blade crumpled on the top edge. Is this to be expected? I've had beater axes that have had similar problems when I wasn't careful and hit some concrete, but I've never seen an edge bludgeoned when it hit wood. I've reground that part of the blade with one of my triangular diamond rods and smothed the blade out with some emery cloth, 400, and then 600 grit sandpaper but wondered if there is something wrong with the axe, not just my technique. Should I be concerned? Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I can't help you with the edge retention issue but I do wonder about their quality control. I'm in the process of returning the large hunters axe because it arrived looking like a third grader made it. The edge is advertised at 3 1/4" and mine was only 2 3/4" and funky shaped. To top it off, the handle was not installed real well with a gap in the top rear and an extra little chunk of wood hammered in with some glue at the front.
    If I could pick one out in person I wouldn't hesitate to get one but I'll probably just end up putting something together from ebay finds.

  3. #3
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    nothing wrong with your axe, petrified sappy knots are like iron, literally. Oak is tough to begin with. The fact that you have all the tools and skills to maintain an axe is more than some.
    I have had to work on my 19in wetterlings from pine knots and a drunken stone chop not using a chopping block.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad "the butcher" View Post
    I have had to work on my 19in wetterlings from pine knots and a drunken stone chop not using a chopping block.
    The infamous drunken stone chop. It always happens so fast.

  5. #5
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    Thanks guys. I'll chalk it up to experience and look a little more carefully for knots before I make another chop. This forum is great!

  6. #6
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    I ordered at small axe, and was mistakenly sent a carpenter's axe. It had some edge issues too.

    I disagree about knots, etc. A good axe or large knife should handle these with ease. NO WOOD should really come close to damaging good steel with proper edge geometry and heat treat.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Frankl View Post
    I ordered at small axe, and was mistakenly sent a carpenter's axe. It had some edge issues too.

    I disagree about knots, etc. A good axe or large knife should handle these with ease. NO WOOD should really come close to damaging good steel with proper edge geometry and heat treat.
    I have to agree. Knots are an ordinary and routine part of many axe tasks. I have done timberfalling, housebuilding and trail construction using axes, among other things, and have never had an axe suffer the kind of damage reported in the first post above.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNewell View Post
    I have to agree. Knots are an ordinary and routine part of many axe tasks. I have done timberfalling, housebuilding and trail construction using axes, among other things, and have never had an axe suffer the kind of damage reported in the first post above.
    I thought so. I was dumbfounded when it happened. My plan is to report the issue to the vendor. I don't plan on returning the axe right away. I will test it over the next couple of days to see if there are any more issues.

  9. #9
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    If you are lucky, it is just an issue with either edge geomentry or decarburization--both of which can be fixed by a good reprofiling.

  10. #10
    Interesting issue. I own three Wetterlings. The nicest of the three is a Large Hunter's Axe (which, like hoopster's, also came with the smaller 2 7/8s head). Fit and finish on this little axe are very, very nice. However, like yours, my Large Hunter's Axe doesn't hold an edge worth a darn. In this deficiency, it's unlike the other Wetterlings I own. My uninformed opinion is that my deficient axe was improperly heat-treated. I may see if I can return it for an exchange.

    I ordered a fourth Wetterlings (also a Large Hunter's Axe) for my son as Christmas present. Fit and finish on this axe rival the GB's Small Forest Axe I ordered at the same time. Frankly, I like the geometry of its head over the GB. Also, the head seems appropriately heat treated. Guess each axe has to be judged on its own merits.

    PC

  11. #11
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    The retailer has a return label on the way for mine and was very understanding of my complaints. I ended up buying an old Ardex head and a 19" hickory handle off ebay for a grand total shipping included of $19. If I ever decide on a bigger axe I'll just spend the money on a Gransfors or Iltis Oxhead.

  12. #12
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    Just an update. After re-shaping the blade a bit I have had no additional problems. I think the problems was that it was a little too thin at the edge to begin with. I chopped a bunch of rounds yesterday and had no additional problems. Of course a chainsaw would have been much more efficient but I need the exercise and I'm sure my neighbors appreciate the relative quietness of the axe. It's what we urban lumberjacks have to do. I clear the logs that the city has cut to clear trails in the local park, bring them home, chop them up, and give away some of the wood to my favorite neighbors.

  13. #13
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    Glad that worked out - thanks for the follow-up. Any houses for sale in your neighborhood???

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    Quote Originally Posted by jhakken View Post
    Just an update. After re-shaping the blade a bit I have had no additional problems. I think the problems was that it was a little too thin at the edge to begin with. I chopped a bunch of rounds yesterday and had no additional problems. Of course a chainsaw would have been much more efficient but I need the exercise and I'm sure my neighbors appreciate the relative quietness of the axe. It's what we urban lumberjacks have to do. I clear the logs that the city has cut to clear trails in the local park, bring them home, chop them up, and give away some of the wood to my favorite neighbors.
    I like your term "urban lumberjack"! I once had a girlfriend with a condo on the Marina del Rey Peninsula. She ordered a cord of firewood delivered to her garage and received really large, unsplit pieces. I got my gear out of my CJ-7 and started splitting some. People began coming out of many of the neighboring units to watch and I soon had quite an audience. Many of them said they had never seen anyone split wood before!

    That's Left Angeles for you!

    DancesWithKnives

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by jhakken View Post
    Just an update. After re-shaping the blade a bit I have had no additional problems. I think the problems was that it was a little too thin at the edge to begin with.
    I think sometimes that the outer edge of a new axe is somewhat brittle.

    I've had a few that initially chipped and then once you sharpened and polished the edge they were ok.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by hoopster View Post
    To top it off, the handle was not installed real well with a gap in the top rear and an extra little chunk of wood hammered in with some glue at the front.
    I just received a Wetterlings Wildlife with the same thing you mentioned above: A little extra chunk of wood hammered in the eye to fill a gap in the top rear end.

    Is this normal for this model of Wetterlings? Anyone have one without this?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbuxton View Post
    I just received a Wetterlings Wildlife with the same thing you mentioned above: A little extra chunk of wood hammered in the eye to fill a gap in the top rear end.

    Is this normal for this model of Wetterlings? Anyone have one without this?
    My wildlife axe is the same way. If it didnt meet wetterlings standards i dont think they would ship them out. Its pretty easy to re-handle a hatchet in its mother factory, so they must have been good enough or they would have just replaced them.

    These things are hand forged so my expectancy for tolerances is medium to low....

    ALTHOUGH,

    When I bought my wildlife hatchet, i saw that they had the Large hunters axe and the swedish forest axe...the axe heads themselves looked of poorer craftsmanship than my own SFA by a long shot....but then again, none of those axe heads are identical..so different blacksmiths obviously are better than others.

    Hand pick you axe or hatchet and dont purchase one until you feel you've found the very best.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad "the butcher" View Post
    drunken stone chop
    I laughed so hard when I heard this, a fart squeezed out. I'm enjoying it's bouquet while I write this

    I have done one worse than the drunken stone chop: the sober hatchet lend... This resulted in several sober stone chops and some belligerent moments on my part...

    As for the OP, I've never chipped/bent an axe on a knot, but I have on a nail that was embedded in the tree. If somebody put a sign on it years ago, the nail will get absorbed into the trunk only return years later and destroy your toys.
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaurdian_A1 View Post
    My wildlife axe is the same way. If it didnt meet wetterlings standards i dont think they would ship them out. Its pretty easy to re-handle a hatchet in its mother factory, so they must have been good enough or they would have just replaced them.

    These things are hand forged so my expectancy for tolerances is medium to low....

    ALTHOUGH,

    When I bought my wildlife hatchet, i saw that they had the Large hunters axe and the swedish forest axe...the axe heads themselves looked of poorer craftsmanship than my own SFA by a long shot....but then again, none of those axe heads are identical..so different blacksmiths obviously are better than others.

    Hand pick you axe or hatchet and dont purchase one until you feel you've found the very best.

    -Gaurdian_A1
    I wasn't as worried about the handle fitment because as you mentioned, they probably consider the liability of a poorly attached head. What caused me to return mine was the cutting edge measurement. IIRC it was only 2 3/4" when advertised as 3 1/4". That was the final straw for me.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelmcgo View Post
    I laughed so hard when I heard this, a fart squeezed out. I'm enjoying it's bouquet while I write this

    I have done one worse than the drunken stone chop: the sober hatchet lend... This resulted in several sober stone chops and some belligerent moments on my part...

    As for the OP, I've never chipped/bent an axe on a knot, but I have on a nail that was embedded in the tree. If somebody put a sign on it years ago, the nail will get absorbed into the trunk only return years later and destroy your toys.
    Proud owner of sharp wetterlings and sharp wit!!!!

    In the wetterlings care info, they suggest warming the axe with bodyheat before use in cold. Frozen edge's on resin soaked knots can chip or crack. Hemlock is real bad. Remember that some knots are like petrified wood, hard as stone.

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