Finnish/Earlier Scandi axes - Kirves

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That thing is incredible! The massiveness, the majesty is awesome. Well done sir!

Thanks IThinkVeryDeeply!

It’s mostly balanced to grip it where the collar meets the handle.

It’s pretty thin but tall for most the handle - thinking of examples and how it might be used compared to a more traditional larger American hewing axe.
Nice thing about handles is that they can always be tweaked to suit taste or efficiency but like most things - you can always remove material but it’s exponentially harder to put it back on.
 
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ipt

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May 14, 2013
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That's what I was thinking, too. I viewed the whole line on Amazon. I bet it's the same maker.

I received one of those 'axe and azde' models for testing. I gave it a workout on some dry hardwood and it held up nicely. Stayed sharp, didn't roll or chip. I even made some very hard blows at 90 degrees straight into the wood. It took it just fine.
Yes. It's my job.
https://axeandadze.com/products/finnish-type-universal-axe-by-mapsyst
From the sketches and computer modeling to the last curve of the handle.
The steel is the same as the axe/adze you already know and used...
It pass all of the torture and tests like ever new axe I'm launching...
Already have positive feedback from customers. It became excellent axe.
 

Yankee Josh

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A Swedish gentleman shipped this timmerbila to me. It weighs 4lbs 14oz or 2.2kg with the stick in the eye.


T.Bila



T.Bila



T.Bila



T.Bila



T.Bila



T.Bila


It is quite sharp as is but is going to need a handle made – I enjoy that part.
Man that thing really shows it's construction! I really feel connected with a tool when I can see how it was made. That is a super cool axe, congrats! Look forward to seeing the helve you make for it.
 
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Very nicely made, predating or at least maintaining resistance to the Hults Bruk introduced solid steel construction. The comparative shots of the inserted edge steel indicating the loss of material at the toe I guess in compensation for what was a more or less straight hang of its missing handle. Which part in Sweden has it traveled from?
 
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Very nicely made, predating or at least maintaining resistance to the Hults Bruk introduced solid steel construction. The comparative shots of the inserted edge steel indicating the loss of material at the toe I guess in compensation for what was a more or less straight hang of its missing handle. Which part in Sweden has it traveled from?

From our conversation he alluded to it being an age potentially matching your observation. It does have wear at the toe but much less than all my other timmerbila (It’s the only one I have lol).

Here is a photo that he shared showing the handle that was on it:


It’s bad ass. I imagine having the socket part of the handle will help carve a new one.

I’ll see how much is intact when I pull the metal bits out. But it does help to have some to get started.

It’s another old tool that I would never have found here in my region.
 
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I had more to add above there but fumbled the reply button on my phone trying to scroll back up. With respect to his privacy, it’s from Central Sweden, a town in Jakobsburg County.

As an aside, there is a Nordic based online auction site that I frequently peruse but almost every seller clearly states, “Nordic buyers only” in their listings. This one wasn’t acquired through that site but I always figured that it just had to do with shipping costs/postal reliability/potential for local pick up/dealing with currency differences. The gentleman who sent me this one pretty clearly stated that he wasn’t necessarily keen to see these types of old axes and woodworking tools leave Sweden as they are somewhat considered pieces of heritage - I can respect that. I assured him I would give it a good home ;)

So when I think of all the “Nordic buyer only” listings on Tradera, I now have a little different perspective.

One thing that surprised me is the scale of these. Having only seen them in catalogs and isolated photos, one would think they are all potentially massive but some seem to have been smaller. Here it is next to a standard 3.5lb Council tool axe head.

T.Bila


Also, I realize it’s not in new condition but were there models that started with somewhat upswept toes by design?
 
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Yes, the general region helps. It can work the other way 'round too, you wouldn't expect to see such an axe in southern Sweden so much, it's a style corresponding to the center and north and the building types there.

You got a good lesson in another attitude towards commerce. The presumption I always have when I see these restrictions from this site, some even as severe as "Swedes Only" is that the owner prefers the axes stay put and not that it's to avoid an inconvenience. It's not only Scandinavian either though I'd say it is more pronounced there, not as much Finland - these being strictly my impressions so take it for what that's worth to you. Also, even though personally I sometimes have a sense of being the target of a kind of discrimination, I don't whine too much because in fact I subscribe fully to the motivation. You know, almost every small town will have its local museums there with their exhibition of axes, and now, somewhere in Central Sweden there is a potential vacancy. Good, much better an axe is used than strung up behind plexiglass.


There were/are all kinds of variations in dimension, it's the beauty of decentralization. That said, typical for these axes, ha, ha, ha, is for the toe section to be fuller, as this one once was and for the angle to have been achieved by a crook in the handle where the articulation occurs as the wood exits the socket. It was vital that the wood for these handles be chosen with the favorable characteristics "built in" as in a natural crook as it occurs at the buttress end of a tree and if not that then perhaps where a branch has sprouted off the stem though not the stem itself which is reaction wood and so unreliable. While you may have been surprised by the dimensions in real life of your axe, maybe you are familiar with the indigenous styles reproduced by Gransfors Bruk, also small in scale and it extends to much more in terms of tools but even further into typical Scandinavian design. I have the theory that it is even represented in the relics of the vikings though I don't have any of those and haven't yet been to Roskilde. I think it's worth paying attention to.
 
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Ethnography through tools interests me immensely and much of what you mentioned about the national ethos attributed to working tools is, in itself, quite interesting and understandable. Acquiring cultural understanding from afar many times requires a theme for discussion - in this case old axes.

Maybe it’s just me but if someone from afar contacted me about wanting to inspect/use/or own first-hand an example of an American axe, at their expense of course, I would likely be happy to oblige. But maybe that is the cultural center from which I operate.

Regardless of the wear, this one seems like it has some living yet to do for me at least.
In this photo and more so in hand, there is difference in color that runs “somewhat” a couple of inches above the existing edge. Is that difference in color something to do with where the bit was inserted?
(I used chalk to more or less mark what I’m referring to in this photo but included the previous photo for reference with out my artwork)


Unchalked
 
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Look on the opposite side to compare the relationships. That large of a surface is a challenge for the smid to treat and so the bit composition may well be separate. Typically a scarf joint is used for joining the bit, (bit =ing high carbon content steel encased by malleable iron, with the neck), so there would be an off-set indicated from side to side.
 
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Here is another little Swedish honey that made a long flight. Wetterling Storvik, according to the previous owner it was resteeled at the factory. I’m under the impression that is what the numbering is on it. 25” length. It's not NOS but it's got some character.

I’m really liking the feel of this one but am undecided on whether to make a new handle or try to repair the one that is already in there. It has a barrel wedge in the eye that has the center drilled out so the thought occurred to someone else as well.

Also appropriate that someone along the way marked it with an “H”.

Storvik



Storvik



Storvik



Storvik


I feel it is similar to the Urafors modell but being resteeled might make its lines a touch different. At least similar I guess


Storvik
 
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This one has undergone some substantial reconstruction, fore and aft, hasn't it.
Moving in on other forges ideas seems like it was a business model of Wetterlings at one point. Here you show a Wira model and Urafors and they had also their Hjärtum copies. With our contemporary mind-set we might be inclined to take on a posture of skepticism towards a company like that. Did you get wind of their latest stunt? Personally I refer to this pattern as the Larsson - after the son of Lars - axe as depicted in the painting by Carl Larsson and it's one of my favorites when you can get your hands on a good one as it looks like you have here.
The similar surface difference out near the edge on this one and on the timmerbila above I'd be inclined to attribute to grinding more than anything else. Still a minimum of grinding has occurred, an indication of skilled blacksmithing we'd expect at that factory.
 
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I like that painting and had not seen it before you linked it there.

I'm unaware of their latest stunt. Maybe selling factory seconds or shutting down/being sold off to increase profits due to a rush, selling their stores of new old stock at high prices? Do share.
 
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What the status precisely is of that Co. I haven't a clue but understand from one of their apprentice smids that they are indeed clearing stocks of old unused axes from storage selling them on exclusively out of the warehouse there. Time to start priming your contacts maybe.
 
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a FWIW August 5, 2018:

Is Wetterling’s Still In Business?
Yes, Wetterlings is still in business. Well, the forge at least. Let me explain.

Wetterlings has been owned by Gransfors Bruks since 2006 but only recently started producing for them after the decision was made to concentrate on one brand. It’s not a new situation.

Can I Still Buy Wetterlings Axes?
Yes. But there’s a catch. They no longer are in production. Sometimes you can find them in stock on Amazon or other online retailers. Otherwise, you have to actually go to their factory in Storvik where they still have lots of new production axes available. As well as pallets of NOS axes from the 1930’s and 50’s available.
https://www.traditional-tools.com/wetterlings-the-tradition-continues/


Bob
 
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Could it be that they continue to offer the latest production models under some kind of contractural obligations through various conventional retail distribution and the older heritage legacy vintage grandma and grandpa axes of 1930s thru '50 with this strictly American designation "NOS" from the warehouse? Or of course go to Tradera like A_H has done. I don't know, that was my understanding from Nickolas who loaded his suitcase full as he was leaving.
 
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I didn’t have any luck through Tradera, those were the vendors I mentioned seem to list that they only are willing to sell regionally if shipping is involved.
Sorry for the confusion on that.

*Im more interested in old axes as opposed to new ones if that makes sense.
 
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