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Big head, little head.

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Gator39, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Gator39

    Gator39

    72
    May 13, 2017
    In regards to high end axe heads , example Black Raven, Kelly perfect, True Temper Flint edge, Vulcan, and so on, are the corresponding hatchet heads of the same name made of the exact same grade of steel, in the same manner as the big heads ?
     
  2. phantomknives

    phantomknives

    Mar 31, 2016
    i can tell you my surplus flint edge hatchet is very nice steel. i think they might be a tad harder because they dont have to stand up to the abuse a big head would
     
  3. halfaxe

    halfaxe

    Nov 29, 2012
    Hatchets in those brands are very hard to find. I'd buy one if I saw one at a good price. A Black Raven hatchet would be great to own. I have a Collins Legitimus which appears to be the same steel and hardness.
     
    garry3 likes this.
  4. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

    908
    Jun 25, 2017
    X
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  5. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    There wouldn't have been all that many consistent quality steel mills that axe makers could economically source from. Manufacturers usually locate their businesses in proximity to their source of materials. Buying higher grades than your competitors would substantially impact the bottom line. Very specific metallurgy is involved in high stress situations (think firearm barrels, high tensile nuts, bolts and machine parts) but axes are low tech and how the metal is heat treated and tempered after forging has much more effect on the durability and working properties than the quality of the steel. The Walters Axe motto of 'not too soft and free from flaws' sort of sums this up. Presumably producing and finishing a high end axe head vs a budget brand is more a function of increased care and attention rather than upping the quality of the steel. Others can chime in here because this is an opinion and not my area of expertise.
     
    garry3 and Agent_H like this.
  6. garry3

    garry3

    Sep 11, 2012
    From what I have seen I believe they are. I don't have all the brands listed. I have premium hatchet's in, Flint Edge, Vulcan and True American.
    A better question might be the difference between the premium lines with some manufacturers.
     
    Square_peg and Agent_H like this.
  7. Gator39

    Gator39

    72
    May 13, 2017
    I passed up a Flint hatchet with lots of steel left , when I first got interested in axes and didn't know what it was , because of a crappy handle.

    ............yeah.,....... I know.......................now.

    And just found a full size Flint , with a crappy handle.
    I did pick that one up though , so at least I'm learnable.
    Lol.
     
    Square_peg and Agent_H like this.
  8. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

    908
    Jun 25, 2017
    X
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  9. garry3

    garry3

    Sep 11, 2012
    I am pretty much on board with this. I don't think any one used anything to fancy because of the cost of heat treating would also add to the manufacturing costs over and above the cost of steel.
    While we can see a difference between say the later Flint Edges and the foil labeled Woodslashers in both finish quality and steel things get murkier with the older heads. I have a couple older two piece Woodslashers that I am having trouble finding fault with. Maybe they were cheaper because they were still two piece? I don't really know. I see some side by side chopping in the near future to try and sort it out. Its not like most of us are swinging axes day in and day out so its harder to tell the more subtle differences.
     
  10. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    Gator39 likes this.
  11. quinton

    quinton

    Nov 4, 2006
    I can attest to the quality of the TT Kelly Perfect half hatchets. I have my uncle's old Perfect hatchet that was used to bark staves, and sharpen umpteen thousands of tobacco sticks throughout the 70's and 80's. I bought this like new one a few years ago because of the known quality. A hundred dollar bill won't buy it.
    [​IMG]
     
    Gator39, Agent_H, garry3 and 2 others like this.
  12. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    With the clear unpainted finish on that Perfect hatchet it might be a vanadium steel head. Adds a little rust resistance but it isn't necessarily better steel than the Dynamic in terms of edge holding or toughness.
     
  13. garry3

    garry3

    Sep 11, 2012
    Looks like maybe nickel plated?
     
  14. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    I bet vanadium.
     
  15. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    The 1954 catalog specifies "full polished mirror smooth" for the Kelly Perfect half hatchet.
     
  16. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    Kelly/ True Temper have used Vanadium steel in some hatchets:
    1930 reference to "drop forged chrome vanadium steel":

    [​IMG]


    Half hatchet stamped (not embossed) "TRUE TEMPER VANADIUM":
    [​IMG]
     
    Gator39 likes this.
  17. quinton

    quinton

    Nov 4, 2006
    The head still has lacquer, or some finish on it that is only worn off around the bit. That's why it's rusty in spots. It isn't stamped vanadium anywhere.
     
    garry3 and Square_peg like this.

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