Firewood season is here, and Hults Bruk — the world’s oldest active axe manufacturer — is introducing a new felling axe to their acclaimed line of Swedish hand-forged axes. Created by survival and wilderness skills instructor, blacksmith and New York Times bestselling author Dave Canterbury, the new design is based on professional felling axes made popular during the 19th-century American forestry industry boom.
Felling large trees the traditional way is an art requiring skill and a proper axe. Good felling axes are often expensive competition designs, too heavy for practical outdoor use. Understanding the features of a tool, and the tool’s intended purpose, are key elements to consider when creating the perfect woodsman’s axe.
Canterbury settled on a purpose built design made for heavy use in an environment of hardwood trees. By meticulously pairing the right style of axe head with the right kind of handle, the American Felling Axe drops dense, large sized trees effectively, allowing the user to work longer without tiring.
Canterbury is the co-owner and supervising instructor at the Pathfinder School in Ohio, which was named by USA Today as one of the Top 12 Survival Schools in the United States. His book Bushcraft 101 has twice made the New York Times Best Seller List. His YouTube channel has more than 400,000 subscribers and his videos have more than 68-million views. His work has also been published in New Pioneer, American Frontiersman and Backwoodsman Magazine.
Unlike modern curved handles that provide forward momentum and leverage at the expense of control, the Hults Bruk American Felling Axe features a perfectly straight, 32-inch American hickory handle to reduce wrist pivoting on the swing. Canterbury and Hults Bruk blacksmiths poured through several traditional models and uncovered a renowned, reliable Montreal pattern axe head. Useful for more than just felling, the pattern features wide cheeks for splitting and a long, razor sharp bit for felling, bucking and processing wood. Weighing 3 1/2 lbs., the axe head is made with high quality Swedish steel, expertly forged at the historic Hults Bruk factory.
Canterbury, a blacksmith who makes many of his own tools, doesn’t have the facilities to make larger tools like axes and felt Hults Bruk was the company to craft his version of a traditional American felling axe. “Hults Bruk is the oldest axe manufacturer in the world,” remarks Dave Canterbury. “Their quality and passion for excellence makes them the perfect choice for a design that is both a usable axe for any woodsman and also an heirloom-worthy tool that can be passed from generation to generation.”
“Dave understands axe design from both the perspective of an outdoor survival instructor and as a blacksmith,” says Gerard Pegelow, Export Director of Hults Bruk. “We’re proud to partner with Dave and bring his vision to reality.”
Hults Bruk has been in operation since 1697 when the company began forging steel for shipbuilding. By the 1870’s production had shifted to crafting axes for a booming forest industry. Today as Sweden’s largest axe producer and one of the world’s oldest continually operating foundries, Hults Bruk is dedicated to maintaining a tradition of quality. For over 300-years Master Blacksmiths at Hults Bruk strive to achieve near perfection, making the brand famous throughout the world. During the forging process high quality Swedish steel is struck multiple times, increasing density and durability.
American Felling Axe by Dave Canterbury
Axe Head Weight: 3 1/2 lbs.
Handle Length: 32-inches
Axe Head: Swedish steel
Handle Material: American hickory
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