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Husqvarna Traditional (Multi-Purpose) Axe Review

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by rg598, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. rg598


    Oct 18, 2008
    As I promised on my blog, now that I have a Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe, to which to compare, I’ll try to put out some mid size axe reviews. The first axe on the list is the Husqvarna Traditional (Multi-Purpose) Axe.


    Manufacturer: Husqvarna
    Axe Head Weight: Advertised as 1.87 lb (measured as 2.55 lb)
    Axe Length: Advertised as 26 inches (measured as 25 inches)
    Axe Head Material: Unknown Swedish steel
    Handle Material: American hickory
    Cost: $64.00


    There is a lot of confusion surrounding this axe, and that is why I made it my first mid size axe review. The confusion is a direct result of the information provided by the manufacturer.

    This axe is part of the new series of axes produced by Husqvarna. Its model number is 502 64 00-01. It is advertised by Husqvarna and several distributors as having a head weight of 1.87 lb. You will find the same axe however at other distributers being advertised as having a head weight of 3 lb. The reason for the discrepancy is the fact that the axe head in no way weighs 1.87 lb. I have no idea where Husqvarna got that number, but the axe is clearly heavier.

    I have calculated its head weight to be 2.55 lb (2 lb 9 oz). The way I calculated that is by measuring the weight of the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe. Knowing that the head of the Scandinavian Forest Axe weighs 2 lb, I calculated the weight of the handle to be 10 oz. Since the handles of the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe and the Husqvarna Traditional (Multi-Purpose) Axe are almost identical, I assumed that they both weigh 10 oz. Subtracting the weight of the handle from the overall weight of the Husqvarna Axe, I calculated the weight of the head. This is not an ideal method, and there can be an error of an ounce or two, but the weight of the head is around 2.5 lb.

    This is also clear to see when the two axes are compared. Here you can see the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe next to the Husqvarna Traditional (Multi-Purpose) Axe.


    The head of the Husqvarna Axe is clearly much thicker than that of the Gransfors Bruks. Interestingly, even though the head is thicker, Husqvarna has managed to give it a very thin cutting edge, comparable to that of the Gransfors Bruks. The head becomes thicker in a gradual and continuous way, while keeping the eye the same size as on the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe. This gives excellent chopping as well as splitting characteristics to the head. The attachment method to the handle is a wooden wedge with a round pin. In all other respects, the heads of the two axes are nearly identical.


    The balance of the axe, an important consideration when if comes to large axes, is fairly good. The bit is somewhat heavier than the poll, so you can see it dipping down more than it does on the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe, but it is still fairly well balanced. The head and the handle are perfectly balanced.


    The handles of the two axes are the same length, 25 inches. The grain orientation is very good, and the handle has a great feel to it. It is nearly identical to that of the Gransfors Bruks.


    The testing of the axes revealed the Husqvarna to be an exceptional tool. The fact that Husqvarna has managed to add another half a pound to the axe head without making the cutting edge and grind any thicker than it is on the Grnsfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe, makes for a great chopper. As you can see in the picture, the Husqvarna Traditional (Multi-Purpose) Axe outperformed the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe. That is clearly a result of the extra half pound. Here you can see the results after 25 swings with each axe.


    The Husqvarna Traditional (Multi-Purpose) Axe also makes for a good splitter because of the thicker head. That being said, with axes this size, 99% of all splitting tasks that you are likely to do in the bush will be accomplished well by either axe. The difference shows when it comes to thick logs, which you will rarely have to process in the bush.

    Carving is possible, and the axe bites into the wood well at shallow angles, but the long handle combined with the heavy head, makes it less than ideal for the task.

    The sheath on the axe is of good quality, but clearly not specifically designed for this axe. It seems to be too large, and is hard to get tight. It appears to be an old model Wetterlings sheath, lending fuel to the speculation that the heads are being manufactured by Wetterlings. Another connection may be the fact that the bottom part of the eye has some bunching up of the metal, characteristic of the Wetterlings axes. This of course is just speculation.

    The Husqvarna Traditional (Multi-Purpose) Axe is a great tool. In terms of quality, it is indistinguishable from any Gransfors Bruks axe. For $64 it is a bargain. It is also however, at the very limit of what I would consider carrying on my back for an extended period of time. The 2.5 lb head makes for a heavy axe.

    As far as I know, the manufacturer produces additional bushcraft appropriate axes: The Husqvarna Hatchet (1.25lb head; 13 inches in length).

  2. mogwai


    Mar 23, 2008
    Perhaps 1.87 kg?
  3. ThundarStick


    Feb 21, 2010
    I just picked mine up from the local Husqvarna lawn shop, and boy it's a nice size axe. I have one of the hatchets and a small Wetterling hatchets and you can't tell any difference in any of them. Just a little touch up with a sander and you can have a very nice looking axe for a little dollars. The only real things I have to compair any of them to is the cheep Mexican or Indian stuff that all the hardware stores around here cary now.
    I'm almost a little :eek: I used mine for the first time today, got a little careless and now I'm sporting 5 stiches and soon a new scar!:(
  4. tek77

    tek77 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 9, 2009
    Great review/comparison. Much appreciated, thank you.
    I am a little shy on pulling the trigger on a Gransfors Bruks and it's nice to have an option less tough on the wallet.
    I also like the thicker profile on the Husqvarna Axe. Looks like a good compromise between a felling axe and a splitting axe.
    Truth be told one doesn't really need an axe in southern California. But when I am camping, a good axe sure makes a difference when processing wood.
    ThundarStick, glad to hear you are ok. I constantly have to remind myself to be extracareful when hadeling my hatchet/hawk.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010
  5. styx


    Apr 21, 2010
    Nice review. Thx for that
  6. uncouth


    Nov 26, 2009
    very nice review, thank you.
  7. JLKII


    Jun 4, 2009
    Great review --- thanx for taking the time to write it up and post it.

    I'm thinking about buying another small axe with a 26" or so handle, and this post is going to make me look real hard at Husqvana (if I can find a Swedish-made one) instead of a Wetterlings or Gransfors Bruks.
  8. ThundarStick


    Feb 21, 2010
    I ordered mine from a local Husqvarna dealer first of the month. It has hand forged Sweden stamped into the blade under the crown. I used mine again today (didn't cut myself), and it is a great axe.
  9. woodsroamer


    Oct 8, 2009
    Another excellent review, well researched with plenty of details. Thanks again for taking the time to post these reviews.
  10. digdeep


    Mar 19, 2005
    Excellent review!

    I've got a Gransfors Bruks axe and was thinking about getting a hatchet for light duty.

    Didn't know about Husqvarna making the same similar quality. Now you've got me inclined to try a Husqvarna hatchet, especially since they are much more inexpensive.

    Thanks much.
  11. Dusty One

    Dusty One Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 12, 2004
    Thanks for the review.....Well done !
  12. prof_baltazar


    Sep 20, 2008
    YO, nice review, thanks!
  13. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Nice review! I've been looking at picking up one of these as a gift to pay back a favor from a friend. This pretty much confirms that it was what I was looking for--and I may even grab one for myself!
  14. Jethro80


    Dec 16, 2010
    Got mine in today! Couldn't be happier so far, It will be put to test next week on some hickory, pine, and oak! [​IMG]
  15. coloradowildman


    Oct 28, 2009
    Thanks for that excellent review Ross. You answered many of the questions I've had about this Huskie. It sounds like this axe is essentially a short handled Boy's Axe made by Wetterlings. Boy's axes are really handy winter trekking tools, and this one might just be what I'm looking for.
    Last edited: May 15, 2011
  16. woodsroamer


    Oct 8, 2009
    Great review; Fantastic photos!
  17. Knifein

    Knifein Banned BANNED

    Mar 20, 2010
    Husqvarna makes axes? I'm only familiar with their dirt bikes.
  18. trthleshro


    Jan 6, 2011
    hey Ross,

    Great review...as always.. I know you did a review on the varna hatchet too and that comes in at 1.21lbs, so i was wondering if it would pay to put the longer handle of the Traditional axe on the hatchet to get some more length or do you think that the hatchet head is too light for that length of handle? just curious because 13 inches is a little shorter than what i would prefer, but i don't want the weight of the traditional axe.
  19. rg598


    Oct 18, 2008
    I think that a 1.21lb head is too light for a 26 inch handle. For that length I would want at least 1.75lb head. That being said, some people have gotten great results by putting long handles on small heads.

    I tried to put a Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet handle on a Husqvarna hatchet, but the eye on the Husqvarna was too big for that handle. If you want a longer handle of a Husqvarna hatchet, you may want to try a Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe handle. I think they are easier to find than a 25 inch Husqvarna handle.

  20. coloradowildman


    Oct 28, 2009
    Ross, now that you've tried 25"-26" axes from the "big three" (Gransfors, Wetterlings, and Council Tool- I count the Huskie as the Wetterlings), do you have an overall favorite?

    Also, noticed your Fiskars review too. Been through 4 of them total and the steel is just not good on those as you noted. They will not only dent but also chip real bad as well. I recently spent hours convexing a new 23.5 Fiskars Chopping Axe to make a stronger edge but it lightly grazed a pebble while bucking and it took a large chunk out of the blade. I've actually hit a larger rock by accident with my Council Tool axe and it barely suffered any damage, much different results compared to the Fiskars steel.

    As a cheap way for a beginner to see what a good axe performs like they are good, because they will chop great until the edge falls apart. They will also get destroyed from splitting, as pieces of wood lodge themselves under the plastic strap around the head (my 28" Pro Chopping axe had a chunk of plastic break off like this while splitting a piece of Douglas Fir). I would sooner depend on a cheap hardware store axe for my survival than a Fiskars knowing what I know now. I've gone completely over to Wetterlings and Council Tool but will also pick up a Gransfors eventually. Would never buy a Fiskars again.

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