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In the Market... where to go?

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by Alacrity, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. Alacrity

    Alacrity

    58
    Aug 25, 2013
    Hello all,

    I have loved these forums for information and have read up a bit on hatchets and axes before posting this. Having said that I am definitely new on the hatchet and axe scene having spent most of my time buying knives and learning how to sharpen them. Feel free to set me straight on anything.

    So my story:
    Me and a bud are pretty avid hikers/campers. We both go to school in Utah and are surrounded by amazing places to go. He bought one of the Gerber hatchets with a full plastic handle and it has served us well on many a campout/hike. However, it has been beaten to hell. I would like to buy both of us some new hatchets. I'd prefer lightweight and if I end up buying new I'll probably pick up a couple of husquarvarnas and maybe upgrade to a gransfors bruks eventually.
    HOWEVER, I would rather find some good old school hatchet steel and rehang them if necessary. So please, steer me in the right direction with tips and tricks and hints to finding/seeking/identifying good old school hatchets. Feel free to pitch in arguments for newer hatchets (not a fan of the plastic handled breed but am always open to being taught/trolled haha) but I'd really like more of a secret tip and trick guide to finding the old stuff. Do you peruse Craigslist yard sale ads? Do you visit junk shops? Which junk shops? What stores? How do you know where to go? Etc. I'm a young millennial fella and if I can't Yelp it I probably don't know about it. Give me all the secrets please.

    Cheers!
    Alacrity
     
  2. 300Six

    300Six

    Aug 29, 2013
    Flea markets and garage sales.
     
  3. bikerector

    bikerector Gold Member Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Gold Member

    Nov 16, 2016
    I'm pretty sure the gerber hatchets are the fiskars X7, which is an amazing hatchet for the money and pretty darn decent even compared to others of higher cost. However, some of the others sure look a lot better if you want that classic forged steel and wood handle look.

    I don't know where you find old hatchet and axe heads besides garage sales, flea markets, and maybe antique stores (probably charge higher prices). Seems like most people find them at garage sales based on the "what came home with me" thread (may not be exact wording).
     
  4. halfaxe

    halfaxe

    Nov 29, 2012
    I've had good luck on Ebay. I quit buying a couple years ago, but good hatchets were available for $20 or less back then and shipping is less than an axe. Plumb, Kelly, Collins, Mann, Wards, Craftsman, Grove tool and others are good and less cost than Norlund. Skip the Norlund unless you find one cheap. They aren't any better than the others. Just look at the amount of bit and pounding on the poll plus the handle condition. A new wedge can be easily added if the head is loose. Also check if has been sharpened on a grinder. Not a deal breaker but it could indicate problems.
     
  5. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013


    Alacrity
    , It might be fun to hang up two matching vintage heads with your friend. College being a ways back might be why I thought about that - knowing a good friend or "an at one time" good friend had the match-up to mine would always make for a good laugh and/or reminisce. That doesn't have anything to do with an axe necessarily but that would be an intentional start to the nostalgia that makes up some of those things you won't part with in the future.

    Totally not necessary though. If you are already thinking of potentially upgrading to a sFa then you like the size/length. That's a start right there. What do the heads on those weigh?

    I don't know what Utah looks like at flea markets/garage sales/estate sales but it might be the same as telling a guy in Kansas that wants fresh crab, "Just drive to the coast!".

     
  6. Alacrity

    Alacrity

    58
    Aug 25, 2013
    I started looking on eBay! That seems like a decent start.

    Agent_H: I decided to do just that!
    And yeah I live in a college town so most of the yard sales I've seen advertised seemed more furniture and clothing based than manly chopping tools. But I'll give it a go anyways.

    Thanks all who have pitched in hints so far! Feel free to add more hints and such!
     
    Agent_H likes this.
  7. I'mSoSharp

    I'mSoSharp Basic Member Basic Member

    590
    Mar 8, 2011
    As Bikerector said the Gerber hatchet you have is probably the same as a Fiskars X7 (except it's all black). You say you prefers lightweight so really this hatchet is going to be impossible to beat for weight & performance.

    Older hatchets in my opinion (same as most here) are much nicer, have more character & look way cooler, but an X7 is not going to he beaten for price & performance, they really are very good at what they do.
     
    Square_peg and Agent_H like this.
  8. jblyttle

    jblyttle Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2014
    Yeah I have a feeling that the time/fuel spent looking in Utah may not pay off. I would do eBay if I were you. You don't need to spend a ton either as most older US made heads are very good. Plumb, Vaughan etc. You should not have to spend more than $20 but you may need to put a little work into it.
     
    Agent_H likes this.
  9. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    Depending on what exactly what you'll be doing, a half hatchet may be a good option.
    They have an actual hammer, are very common, they're often passed over because they're seen as just a carpenters or roofers tool, and they often cost less because of this.

    They might not look as cool as a nice vintage scout style hatchet, but a hammer is handy to have and a most scout type hatchets don't have a hardened poll.
    The nail puller notch may not work too well, but I'm told it works well for lifting a pot off the fire or twisting wire.

    EBay, flea markets, yardsales, and thrift stores are good places to look.
     
  10. Alacrity

    Alacrity

    58
    Aug 25, 2013
    I was just about to ask what the difference really is because I've seen tons of those on EBay. Are they equally good choppers? I doubt they'd have to be too hearty, mainly need for kindling and light firewood on multiple day hikes. So pros and cons? Or is it just a looks preference?

    @Imsosharp:

    I'm sure we'll keep his around, but it is starting to crack at the plastic around the head (he didn't maintain it super well) and wood has been jammed in there as well. I also wouldn't mind hiking in something a bit beefier and cool if only for the "look at my awesome hatchet that I worked on" factor. I can always use a good workout. I'm young and still heal quickly

    But I agree, it has been a good hatchet.
     
  11. Alacrity

    Alacrity

    58
    Aug 25, 2013
    Also, id be happy to put in some work on old hatchets. That's part of the fun for me. I got ahold some old cast iron pieces that were a blast to clean up and season and that made cooking with them (and bragging about them) all the more fun, I figure fixing an old hatchet head will be similarly entertaining. I also want to try and rehang it myself. What are good places to get handles?
     
    jblyttle likes this.
  12. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016

    A " half hatchet " usually has a thin bit which should be as thin and chop as well as the popular and expensive gransfors bruks axes but have a more constant and gradual taper to them that will split a little better than GB axes that stay thin a bit too long and taper more abruptly.
    [​IMG]
    This is what a standard half hatchet looks like new , they have many cousins and siblings but if it looks just like this you'll know for sure it's standard a 22oz half hatchet.
    They'll often not have a straight edge anymore due to sharpening, but this is how regular axes are anyway and it saves you from having to file in a radius yourself like you would a brand new one.
     
  13. Hickory n steel

    Hickory n steel Basic Member Basic Member

    Feb 11, 2016
    BTW a wire wheel and some care is best for rust removal because it doesn't remove the patina which is most of the history, character, and charm that a new or new tool doesn't have.
     
    jblyttle likes this.
  14. jblyttle

    jblyttle Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2014
    That is EXACTLY how I got into this 4 years ago. I wanted a hatchet and learned that new ones were mostly crap and was encouraged to find and fix up an old one. That was my start. It was fun so I did more and then I got addicted to hunting/picking which is now as enjoyable for me as fixing stuff is. And yeah, I've done the same with cast iron.
     
  15. jblyttle

    jblyttle Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 3, 2014
    It's a good option and those heads can be found for $5-10 in great shape. The only thing that it won't be good for is anything other than light kindling splitting. It will cut/chop/carve.
     
  16. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    How about two smaller hatchet-sized Plumb National patterns, well hung and sharpened? (I don't have one - just an idea).

    I have never really used the nail pullers that are built into the blade - a claw hatchet might also an option if you are pondering the half-hatchets and want a stake driver or something to that effect:

    [​IMG]

    That one is behind the seat in my truck and has processed smaller wood for camp fires but I wouldn't take a small tree with it - kind of what Jblyttle was mentioning. That style of flat blade may not be what you want for a more versatile use hatchet.
     
    Kevin Houtzager likes this.
  17. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

    908
    Jun 25, 2017
    X
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  18. Agent_H

    Agent_H Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 21, 2013
    It does sweep up and back in one direction - it came with that handle and it gets used as a hatchet 90% - hammer 10%.
     
  19. Square_peg

    Square_peg Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2012
    I think those claw hatchets are far more useful on a longer handle (riggers hatchet handle). The claws have much more pulling force than the Tommy Axe version because the short poll creates more leverage. With a convex grind they split and chop surprisingly well. 3 tools in one.

    I didn't set this down on the shoulder because I was looking for all the length I could get out of that handle.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2017
    filedog and Agent_H like this.
  20. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

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

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