Another-but slightly different chopper vs hatchet question

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Dogpiss, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. Dogpiss

    Dogpiss

    34
    Oct 7, 2017
    First off, I definitely don't do enough hiking or camping to justify all the time I spend thinking about knives and such.
    But, it's a fun mostly harmless thing to obsess over.
    Still, I trying to keep from tools that overlap too much in usage. (Yes, subjective.)

    I have an ontario sp48, recent aquire that im overly excited about.
    It feels like a mini machete.

    https://www.bladehq.com/item--Ontario-OKC-GEN-II-SP48-Fixed-Blade--16867

    How much use would a SMALL hatchet overlap with it as a chopper?
    (Assuming I use my edc for more knifely uses )

    I've been looking at:
    https://www.knifecenter.com/item/FM...ol-95-overall-blackurban-camo-paracord-handle

    And
    https://www.knifecenter.com/item/CN...arbon-steel-head-walnut-handle-leather-sheath

    Sorry I'm long winded.
     
  2. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Neither of those 2 tools are hatchets and neither will provide much benefit over a large knife, they may even be worse. A hatchet will be a substantially better chopper than a big knife.
     
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  3. abcdef

    abcdef

    Oct 28, 2005
    Get what you want, but I believe you would be best served by a hatchet.
     
  4. Hacked

    Hacked

    947
    Jun 1, 2010
    Honestly, go pick up a Fiskars X7 or 14" hatchet. Both are about the same, both are readily available at a number of stores, both are ready to go out of the box, and both will outchop the three tools mentioned in the OP. Oh and the 14" hatchet comes in tactical black to match the sp48 ;-)
     
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  5. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    The hatchets you listed are more like big knives that a traditional hatchet. I wouldn't bother. A true hatchet will be a better outright chopper but there are limitations, like anything else really.

    Hatchet's are already small, I don't think going smaller makes much since as you quickly loose the leverage of the longer handle. Or, a small hatchet could be a tomahawk depending on your viewpoint, those of which I'm a fan of. IMO, hawks tend to be a little slicier than a hatchet, hatchets tend to be optimized towards wood processing and they are good at it. I've used longer beared hawks for some bushcraft use and I like that I can take off thinner layers of wood easier, more like a big knife.

    Something like this, or a carpenter's axe really.
    https://www.knifecenter.com/item/CS...s-hawk-drop-forged-tomahawk-hammer-22-overall

    I would use the SP48 for a while and see if you need something that has a different kind of fun for you. That's a pretty big blade already and I would see if you tire out using it some or if you think you can handle something bigger. I made the mistake of getting a very heavy kukri thinking it would destroy wood. It chops decently but I tire out so fast that it's impractical for more than a few tasks in a row. A lighter knife or hatchet saves energy and extends the time you can have fun. I've also found that not having a backstop, like cutting stuff into a stump like many chopping video tests, favors a more rearward balanced knife/hatchet because you have to stop it with your strength, not the stump, log, or ground behind what you're cutting. If you're cutting vines, sapling, smaller branches, etc. then a better chopper doesn't necessarily mean better.

    I'm also long-winded.
     
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  6. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    Yes as others have stated, those are not hatchets.
    At the very least they'd be hatchet shaped knives and they're not even really hatchet shaped.

    Your best bet would be a real hatchet, a traditional one with a hickory handle.
     
  7. Dogpiss

    Dogpiss

    34
    Oct 7, 2017
    Thank you all for your responses.
    I kind of suspected that those would be less use at 1/4". My questions regarding hatchet length also were answered.
    Those two products seem like something I would carry instead of a big knife then..
    Thanks for all your detail bikerector.
    I find it hard to imagine I'm going to want to go any longer than the sp 48, though..
    If anything, I'm considering things between that and my edc folder.
    I often end up carting a 9" uncle henry, mostly because I don't feel bad beating on it and sharpening it frequently.
    So, the next blade will probably be a real hatchet, but something cheapish to start out. Like a cold steel or schrade.
    Thanks!
     
  8. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    You're probably right. If you get into processing dry dead wood, like I have recently, you may change your tune. However, that's when a saw comes in handy, big time. A good folding saw is a great way to have something lightweight and be able to process a lot of wood that doesn't need splitting. In my area, there's so much dead stuff that I should never need to cut up green wood unless I need something springy.
     
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  9. phantomknives

    phantomknives

    Mar 31, 2016
    you're not going to get a straight answer. us axe guys love axes and knife guys love knives. if you're looking to save weight, knife. if you want power, hatchet
     
  10. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    For your real hatchet, just get a $20Vaughan half hatchet from Walmart.
    They make a great tool, and this one will perform well.
    They've got a good bit profile and have an actual hammer you can use for tent steaks...ect.
    Made in the USA with a well treated 1080 steel.
     
  11. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    Another common recommendation is the fiskars hatchet but it lacks the flat hammer on the back, at least mine does, as I learned today trying to use it to drive a wedge into my hudson bay axe. Makes you appreciate a flat hammering surface.
     
  12. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    Or even better, by one from Sears. Also made by Vaughan with the same 1080 steel. Often seen on sale for close to $15.
     
  13. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    If they're still producing these for sears.
    Stanley / black and decker owns Craftsman now, and most production had already moved over seas in 2012.
    WF still produces screwdrivers, and Vaughan still produces Craftsman hammers pry bars and their standard camp hatchet but I'm not sure about the half hatchet.
    Other than these few things every other US made Craftsman tool found will be new old stock.

    By all means if they still produce it for Craftsman then I'd definitely go and pick up this same tool for less money.
     
  14. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    At least very recently (within a year or 2) Vaughan was still making for Sears.
     
  15. Hacked

    Hacked

    947
    Jun 1, 2010
    The reason I recommend the Fiskars was because it comes sharp and ready for work. Some folks won't take the time to properly profile the other hatchets mentioned in this thread in order to work properly. For example this $8.47 gem from Harbor Freight.

    [​IMG]Harbor Freight camp axe side view by MJGEGB, on Flickr

    It took me about 5 minutes to put a proper profile on it with a file. Few more muminut with some sandpaper backed by a strop and it was a good functional tool (not the factory handle). But at the same time I'd watched a "review" on YouTube where the reviewer fiddled around with the same exact axe for a couple of hours and still wasn't able to produce the same results. Mostly because of lack of a proper file and technique resulting in him taking a bench grinder to the poor thing :thumbsdown:

    The point is there are few affordable axes that are ready to go out of the box. Some users need axes to come in this condition in order to appreciate an axe as a useful tool. I've got plenty of different high quality axes and recently picked up a Fiskars hatchet. Believe it or not it works better than a lot of my vintage axes. I'm starting to become a fan of the wedge shape :eek: I'm sure this post will be considered blasphemy on this forum but there you have it.

    [​IMG]Fiskars 14" Hatchet by MJGEGB, on Flickr
     
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  16. Square_peg

    Square_peg Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    The issues with Fiskars are that many arrive with a soft edge and the handles are not replaceable. The edge problem is likely due to overheating during the grinding process as better harder steel is usually found below. The handle isue isn't a huge deal because the factory handles are extremely durable and the purchase price of a whole new axe isn't too great.

    But this gets back to the whole ready-for-use-as-bought thing. If a soft edge (many are fine) has to be filed then you're in the same boat you were in with the dull Harbor Freight axe or any of the dull import axes you find at the hardware stores.

    In any case, if you're going to learn to use an axe then you're going to have to learn to sharpen it and care for it.
     
  17. Hacked

    Hacked

    947
    Jun 1, 2010
    I completely agree, about needing to learn to sharpen an axe. But that's a bit different than profiling generally speaking. The factory edge on my X7 had some minor rolls after chopping though a seasoned pecan knot covered in dirt. I took a stone to it and sharpened up the edge like you would with a knife. Something I'm confident any user could handle. The point is to get ahold of something that will show the OP how useful of a tool an axe can be. Otherwise if they were to buy a Craftsman (Vaughan) camp hatchet or Vaughan half hatchet then some profiling would be required rather then just sharpening. Seems to me a lot of folks are under the impression that axes are to be blunt and brute tools and so when profiling is left up to them they do a poor job of it, or else aren't willing to put the time and effort into them. Not a big deal for you or I but I'm trying to look at this from the perspective of a user just wanting to try an axe and quiet frankly my little Fiskars has blown me away. That's not to say my classic American axes are going anywhere ;-)
     
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  18. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    Still the hammers for sure, as well as pry bars and camp hatchets, but I'm just not sure now since Stanley - Black & Decker bought the Craftsman name last year.

    I've honestly only been in a Sears store once in my life as the closest one is about an hour away , so I don't know what's in the store.
    The one time i was in there was 2 years ago and the stock on Vaughan made stuff was pretty dismal.

    I hope they're still producing these for the Craftsman name, this will open up some possibilities for Stanley as well.
     
  19. fishiker

    fishiker

    Nov 5, 2006
    I would check the local pawn shop, antique store, or flea market. Vintage hatchets in usable shape are normally available for less than $20. I've picked up used hatchet heads for much less.
     

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