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Fiskars 14" Hatchet

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by Raskolnikov, Jan 17, 2009.

  1. Raskolnikov


    Aug 24, 2006
    Fiskars 14" Hatchet w/ Indestructable Handle

    I recently (just yesterday) bought a Fiskars 14" hatchet. I have been meaning to get one for a while now (I've been using one of their short splitting axes on kayaking trips with good results), and the 14" seemed like a nice lightweight hiking/backpacking option.

    I decided today to use my new hatchet to split some White Oak logs to get the fire going. These were not old, hard, seasoned logs...no, these are green and nearly knot-free. I thought that splitting them should be a piece of cake. Here's a photo of the edge after splitting three small logs (total of ~15 strikes):
    Again, this was not hard, knotty wood that I was splitting, and all cuts were with the grain. I was splitting on the ground (hard dirt/grass without any stones), so this edge damage was definitely from the wood. In fact, my RC-4P and BK-9 handled this task without the slightest noticeable edge deformation.

    I had planned on redoing the edge bevels to something a bit more obtuse to see if that helped preserve the soft, soft metal of the edge. However, on the 4th log that I attempted to split, I suffered a catastrophic failure of the tool:

    I now worry about depending on my other Fiskars axe when I'm out in the woods. This is certainly not what I expected from a "virtually indestructible handle". In fact, I could barely believe what I was looking at immediately after it happened. The "review" of this tool ended upon returning the pieces to SEARS for a refund. I'm going to look elsewhere for a small hatchet.
  2. BenchmadeBoy


    Sep 4, 2005
    Wow:eek: I've had a fiskars for about 5 years now and the thing is bullet proof. I guess there really is no such thing as indestructable. Sorry that happened bro, must have slipped past q/c. Least you found out early enough . . . .
  3. Rupestris

    Rupestris Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 1, 2006
    Mine just passed eight years. I must have got a good one.


    Its ugly. I've split some lighter stuff on the driveway. In doing so, I accidentally gone through and dug the tip into the concrete a couple times. The Fiskars came out ahead while the concrete suffered some mild dammage.
  4. benchmadebob


    May 12, 2008
    you must have a lemon because i have beat the living snot out of mine. And its fine i have tried to brake it and i cant.
  5. KuRUpTD


    Aug 5, 2008
    DUDE ... that's pretty wild ... I've done a lot of splitting with my 28' Fiskars and it has performed more than adequately ... and this one was brand new out the box WOW
  6. matthewdanger


    Jan 29, 2003
    Raskolnikov, is there a marking on your Fiskars that would indicate where it was made?

  7. 1Tracker


    Aug 17, 2006
    Rask', I'm glad you posted this because the last time someone posted a thread like this I got chastized by a few here for saying,"Whoa!, can't depend on that tool, best to find a solid brand" or some such. I stand by those words then and now. If Fiskars/Gerber is subcontracting their work to a Chinese manufacturer this is what is going to happen to many more in the near future. What with the Global economy in a shambles I can see a company attempting to cut corners on their low end/priced items like this. I for one would keep these photos and YouTube them out there so other folks having failures can amass their complaints to Fiskars via the web. Something is'nt right in Denmark as they say, I know these are made in Finland, it's just a saying folks.

    I say a Snow and Neally, GB, (or the other brand I can't recall but cheaper than GB) hatchet would be your choices now. If you want a micro hatchet check out the Vaughan Sub Zero hatchet, lighter than the Fiskers 14" IIRC. And thanks again for posting this, at least you could easily return it to Sears for a refund, though I would've kept it to quiet the doubters that'll come along soon enough...
  8. benchmadebob


    May 12, 2008
    So you can bash a very good company and take buisness from them and then there going to have to out source because somone posted a video on youtube on how fiskars stuff is bad.Imo there stuff is good for what it is. Any type of product will have lemons. And this just happens to be one.
  9. 1Tracker


    Aug 17, 2006
    Exactly what was posted the last time a photo thread like this came up. I say crappy manufacturing Quality Control. And I think the general public buying these need to see that they are not 'indestructable' as claimed in their ads. Rask' did'nt even abuse the thing, imagine that thing flying through the head beaning your kid while you were using it and I think you'd be putting a thread up yourself. Just glad he did'nt get hurt when it failed, could've cut a hand pretty well .
  10. Raskolnikov


    Aug 24, 2006
    As I said in the first post, I've been using a Fiskars 23" Splitting Axe for a few years now and the thing really seems as tough as nails. I was shocked when this happened to the hatchet.

    My first thought was that I must have gotten some sort of lemon. I shortly thereafter realized that I had little interest in depending on a tool from someplace with such a lack of QC. I'm not going to stop using my Splitting Axe, but I know that this will be in the back of my mind whenever I use it, and I can't see myself buying another one of their axes. Honestly, I'm somewhat torn, as I was actually a fan of Fiskars before this.

    Also, I'm not trying to do anything here other than share my experience with a tool that I imagine many of us may be interested in buying or already own. I was refunded by the store from which is was purchased, and I'm sure that if I hadn't been that Fiskars would have replaced the tool given the guarantee on the packaging regarding the handle's durability.

    Matt, I'm afraid that I didn't take note of any markings on the tool that may have indicated where it was made. My greatest concern after snapping photos of the tool was to ensure that I could get my $26 back from the store. I wasn't even aware that Fiskars was subcontracting their tools out that way.
  11. benchmadebob


    May 12, 2008

    Wood handles would also brake and steel may brake too so i wouldnt lose faith in them.
  12. Raskolnikov


    Aug 24, 2006
    I hear ya. I think that above anything else, the take-away from this that it's very important to thoroughly test any new piece of equipment before one actually needs it.
  13. DocArnie


    Jan 27, 2006
    IMO hitting a hatchet on the ground - stones or no stones - is abuse. Your knives survived because the technique and amount of force are different.
  14. Farnsrocket


    Dec 31, 2006
  15. camo kid

    camo kid

    Sep 3, 2002
    raskolnikov, What was the temperature when you were useing your hatchet today? I wonder if the cold some how made the materials brittle. Did you miss with the head and hit the handle in to the wood, or did it happen when you hit the wood clean with the head? The dammage to the cutting edge is consistant with what I would expect if I hit an ax face in to the ground, rocks or not, even more so if the ground was frozen.
    sorry it broke, and I hope you have better luck next time.
  16. Hassilov


    Aug 7, 2005
    Yeah, I have one. It's designed more for felling than splitting.

    It's definitely indestructable.
    Has a very good feel to it... nice to swing and also good for one handed finer work.

    The head is too soft and susceptible to chipping. You need to sharpen it constantly.
  17. siguy


    Aug 26, 2006
    i'm shocked at that...

    the edge isn't that surprising, i noticed a huge jump in edge retention once i have mine a good hard sharpening and got past the soft initial edge. i also thinned mine out to about half as thick at the edge and it works great.

    the handle surprises me, i have made several hard accidental overstrikes with mine with no damage except for a scuff.

    if it were my axe, i would contact Fiskars and see what they had to say about it...
  18. Marcelo Cantu

    Marcelo Cantu Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 18, 2003

    I have one of those. I splits nicely and it bites in well when chopping but depending on the hardness of your media it will send some MEAN vibrations up the handle into your hands OWW!
  19. 1Tracker


    Aug 17, 2006
    If it was an 'overstrike' on the handle in severe cold that could've been a contributing factor to the failure of the Fiskars Hatchet.

    But with a wood handle they can generally be refit in the wilds, making the hatcet still functional. With what happened what if Rask' was 25 miles into the Bush, and depending upon it for splitting wood for heat? If one does not carry a large 'chopper type' knife afield and instead relys upon their hatchet then they need to factor this type scenerio in as a possibilty IMO.

    I see your point BMB about not 'slandering' on youtube for a one time affair, but this is the second post like this in 6 months of a relatively new hatchet by Fiskers. My problem is that they undercut the US manufacturers by claiming 'unbreakable handles', which is not true on 2 recent occassions. This hurts American manufacturers putting out hatchets with wood handles because it infers that these wood handles ARE prone to breaking. Which is not true since over a hundred years of wood handled axes and hatchets have been passed down for generations.

    Rask', if I owned those pictures of the broken Fiskers I'd shop them to the marketing dept of American ax & hatchet manufacturers of a wood handled products. If I was the marketing dept head of one of these companies I'd pay handsomely for this to use in advertising, but hey, then that's the American way of making lemonade out of a lemon!
  20. misanthropist


    Jan 28, 2007
    Must be a fluke...I am not a huge fan of those axes for a number of reasons but I do think on average they perform decently.

    I understand both the people who say "poor QC = no buy" and also the people who say "you got a lemon and can't judge a million tools on the basis of one flawed example."

    To me this just highlights the need to test your gear thoroughly before you ever need to depend on it.

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