The Gransfors Small forest Axe is almost a iconic image associated with bushcraft these days. Made favourite by tv presenter Ray Mears almost every would be woodsman has at some point bought one. Some, if you ever go to the WG you'll seem, even own and feel the need to wear several. But is the axe the "essential tool" some so called experts make it out to be?
After all on my various trips tot he frozen north I've rarely even taken one, and on my trips and courses in more temperate climes apart from demo's I really dont use one ........... so is it so essential? Whats different about my bushcraft to say Ray Mears?
As a soldier to I rarly carried an axe, in fact as a squaddy I never had one - I would and still do carry a entrenching tool however and find this much more useful than a axe and in a emergency it can of course be used to hack wood like a axe.
The reason I rarely use a axe is because I always carry a saw ................ and this one tool, maybe doubled up with a Leuku in the north, seems to me to cover all the options I need!
Of course for the mass production of fire wood for my wood burning stove in Sweden I do use a axe but then I use a bow saw or even a chain saw too - not a folding one - and the axe I use there is a Wetterling Felling axe ........ I'm using full sized tools there and thats the key - when you live the life you need proper sized tools.
So does the axe earn its right to be carried - does its use make its weigh bearable? Or is a folding saw and tough entrenching tool a more adaptable combination for long term or even emergency use in the back woods??