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Collins 1 1/4lb Camp Axe (New, not Vintage)

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by PsYCHoT|K, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. PsYCHoT|K

    PsYCHoT|K

    88
    Mar 10, 2012
    I know that these are cheapo hatchets, and possibly not even worth discussing, but I was wondering if anyone has any experience with them. I will be grinding razor-sharp convex edges on all three of these hatchets and will be testing the results myself, but it would be nice to hear from others (though I'm not sure how common these little guys are, I am having trouble locating one online). I found mine at True Value, but I would like to locate a couple more, to be honest. It feels great in the hand, and the grain is nearly perfect. Also, I don't mind sharpening and I won't be felling trees with the thing. I will mainly be using it for campfire fun and carving; a hatchet to play with, so to speak. I will eventually post an update/review, but until then, what sayest thou?

    http://i1376.photobucket.com/albums/ah4/AT_Nyhof/IMG_1286_zpsmx7ftt26.jpg
    http://i1376.photobucket.com/albums/ah4/AT_Nyhof/IMG_1292_zpsdmad9ocs.jpg
     
  2. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel

    Feb 11, 2016
    I'm pretty sure they're known to have a relatively soft steel.
    I wouldn't touch one of these cheap hatchets with a 10ft pole when my less expensive HF hatchet has a pretty darn acceptable steel, and when a waaaaay better Vaughan hatchet cost the same or within a few dollars.

    Just test the thing and let us know, compare it to that Vaughan half hatchet and see.
    If it even comes close I'll be surprised.
     
    PsYCHoT|K likes this.
  3. PsYCHoT|K

    PsYCHoT|K

    88
    Mar 10, 2012
    Hey, @Hickory n steel, good to see you again.
    Forgive my ignorance, but are you referring to Hultafors, or Harbor Freight? =D
     
  4. PsYCHoT|K

    PsYCHoT|K

    88
    Mar 10, 2012
    Harbor Freight would be my guess, based on you saying "less expensive," and the Collins costing $18.
     
  5. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    My experience with the Mexican import Collins axes has been spotty heat treats - random hard and soft spots along the edge. My guess is that it's caused by using recycled material that hasn't been fully homogenized. One spot is toaster, one spot is lawn mower blade. But maybe things have improved.

    I would highly recommend taking a good file to the edges of those axes. A file will tell you things the grinder can't.
     
    Miller '72, PsYCHoT|K and 300Six like this.
  6. PsYCHoT|K

    PsYCHoT|K

    88
    Mar 10, 2012
    Thanks @Square_peg. Great advice about the file! As an aside, I just saw a Kobalt brand 1 1/4lb hatchet at Lowes today and apart from the different skin, it seemed identical to the Collins. Also made in Mexico. Needless to say, I forewent that one. I did grab the Harbor freight hatchet while I was out ($10), so I look forward to doing side by side comparisons of all four budget hatchets as soon as I get them reground.
     
  7. Steve Tall

    Steve Tall

    Aug 28, 2010
    Vaughan uses 1080 steel (according to this thread), and all their hatchets are still "Made in USA". The comparison should be interesting, however the Vaughan "Camp Axe" (or the Sears Craftsman-branded version from Vaughan, $17.99) would make a better comparison to those other hatchets, instead of the Vaughan half hatchet which has a different bit geometry (and a couple more ounces).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2018
    Agent_H, Miller '72 and PsYCHoT|K like this.
  8. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel

    Feb 11, 2016
    Yeah sorry, I was referring to Harbor freight.
    I bought their hickory handled hatchet about 6 years ago for $12 just to mess around with and was surprised by it.
    It took a shaving edge and held it pretty well.
     
    Miller '72 and PsYCHoT|K like this.
  9. Hacked

    Hacked

    941
    Jun 1, 2010
    I can also attest to the Harbor Freight hatchets being worth the time to sharpen and use. I picked up the fiberglass handled version for $8 and change without even a coupon. The edge didn't require much work at all with the profile work completed in minutes using just a file.

    Results after removing the factory handle and tossing it on my perfered length for camp use.

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

    Vaughans steel in my experience is excellent. I wish I'd picked up some of those Craftsman hatchets while they were still available cheap and local.
     
    Agent_H and PsYCHoT|K like this.
  10. PsYCHoT|K

    PsYCHoT|K

    88
    Mar 10, 2012
    Just bought a Harbor Freight and a Vaughan Craftsman today. Sould be fun comparing the five hatchets now!
     
    Miller '72, Hacked and Square_peg like this.
  11. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel

    Feb 11, 2016
    Definitely should.
    I haven't seen it in a while, but I believe the Craftsman hatchet I got my grandmother 3 years ago for kindling has a much thicker bit than my HF hatchet.
    Then again I honestly don't remember if I thinned out the bit on my HF hatchet either.
    ( I know I didn't thin it when I cut it into a Hudson bay, but before that I couldn't tell you )
     
  12. PsYCHoT|K

    PsYCHoT|K

    88
    Mar 10, 2012
    @Square_peg @Hickory n steel @Hacked I got the Harbor Freight hatchet reground, but before I move onto the others, I wanted to run some edge geometry by you. Do you think that a 30 degree convex cutting bevel blended back into a 10 degree convex bevel sounds about right? I know that Liam Hoffman uses a 35 degree into a 5 degree on some of his axes, but 35 degrees felt a little obtuse to me. Anyway, just checking in to see what you guys think before I regrind the others. Thanks again, and please enjoy a couple of pictures of the new 5-hatchet lineup and the Harbor Freight's new phone book paper slicing, hair-shaving edge =]

    http://i1376.photobucket.com/albums/ah4/AT_Nyhof/IMG_1404_zpsgpfzqob5.jpg
    http://i1376.photobucket.com/albums/ah4/AT_Nyhof/IMG_1450_zpsmaaqrath.jpg
    http://i1376.photobucket.com/albums/ah4/AT_Nyhof/IMG_1452_zpszgjrv5la.jpg
    http://i1376.photobucket.com/albums/ah4/AT_Nyhof/IMG_1438_zpsvymlxie2.jpg
     
  13. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    I use more like 25 blended into 20.
     
    PsYCHoT|K likes this.
  14. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    I'll measure a few when I get home.
     
    PsYCHoT|K likes this.
  15. PsYCHoT|K

    PsYCHoT|K

    88
    Mar 10, 2012
    Perfect. Thanks.
     
  16. Square_peg

    Square_peg

    Feb 1, 2012
    I just measured 4 of my favorite choppers. I don't use any gauge when I'm filing besides my eyes and my hands. Each measures about 25° at the very edge and 20° at a point 3/8" back from the edge.
     
    PsYCHoT|K and Agent_H like this.
  17. PsYCHoT|K

    PsYCHoT|K

    88
    Mar 10, 2012
    Awesome, thank you, that is very helpful to know. I printed off the gauge that that you shared on other posts from the "An Ax to Grind" manual, and I was naturally very, very close to matching it. I re-checked the angle with an angle gauge (as I grind using only my eyes and hands as well) and I'm closer to 27 degrees on the cutting edge, so I think that will work out good. I'll match that geometry when grinding the others so that there won't be too much variance in the edge geometry to alter or mess with the results.
     
    Square_peg likes this.
  18. Hacked

    Hacked

    941
    Jun 1, 2010
    I'm the same I use feel eyes and the almighty finger guages. I've only ever freehand sharpened so it didn't make sense to start using fancy tools now ;-)

    Around 24 seems to be the advised general use angle. You can always thin them out a bit more if you think you can get a bit more out of it.
     
    PsYCHoT|K likes this.
  19. PsYCHoT|K

    PsYCHoT|K

    88
    Mar 10, 2012
    While I will be making a more substantive review of the hatchets, I figured I could share some results and experiences along the way as well. I sharpened up the Harbor Freight and the Collins and put them to work. The Collins outperformed the Harbor Freight, surprisingly, in every way except one: the head had decided to divorce itself from the handle. This seems like a serious flaw, and seriously dangerous for the casual hatchet buyer (which most people buying hatchets that cost less than $20 are). In my opinion there really is no excuse for it. And to be fair, when buying the Harbor Freight hatchet I had discovered a hatchet and a full-size axe with wobbling heads. This is a bit upsetting. I can understand using flawed handles, having poor fit and finish, and not sharpening the edges. But I can not, under any circumstance, understand or respect having such poor quality that the tools you sell to the public are a serious safety hazard. At least the casual hatchet buyer will use them with a non-existent edge, I suppose. Mine, being razor-sharp, could be devastatingly injurious. Anyway, the Collins steel held up very nicely. Maybe I got a rare good one (and to be safe, I would assume that I did for now). Maybe they have improved their heat treat, steel, or quality control. Either way, aside from the head detachment, the steel takes a nice razor-sharp edge and holds it well. The Harbor Freight also didn't do bad at all, though in order to be a real user the handle will have to be thinned and re-shaped. So far I am very impressed with the budget hatchets, as long as you know how to re-handle, sharpen and fix hatchets and axes!
     
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