HATCHET JOB

When is an axe not an axe? the editor asks

Air Gunner - - Contents -

An axe, or a hatchet? Call it what you like, this bit of kit does the job

Just when you think you’ve seen every­thing, some­thing new can come along, and this neat tool from Ger­ber is like noth­ing I’ve seen be­fore. The Back Paxe II is, in essence, a tiny axe, which comes with a hard, car­ry­ing case so that it can be car­ried in your ruck­sack with­out any dan­ger of cut­ting the contents, or hurt­ing you if you fell on it. Ger­ber de­scribe it as ‘a hatchet’, which is a word I’ve heard, but didn’t re­ally un­der­stand. The dic­tionary de­fines it as an axe to be used with just one hand, so that makes sense then.

The build qual­ity felt im­pres­sive from the box, and know­ing that it’s made in Fin­land, by Fiskars, I wasn’t sur­prised. It’s 9” long over­all, and weighs just over a pound, so clearly you’re not go­ing to be get­ting a lot of en­ergy into the swing. How­ever, it was se­ri­ously sharp and uses hard­ened (55HRC), forged, Scan­di­na­vian steel to make its 2.7” edge. I’ve learned more about high­qual­ity axes in re­cent years, through the bush-craft move­ment, and now know that a well-de­signed, truly sharp, small axe will out­per­form a big, heavy, blunt one, ev­ery time.

The shaft is made from glass-filled ny­lon, which is close to in­de­struc­tible, and be­cause it’s moulded around the blade, I can’t fore­see any is­sues with loos­en­ing. It’s also shock ab­sorb­ing. There’s slight tex­tur­ing on the sur­face and it flares wide at the base adding se­cu­rity to your grip and re­duc­ing the need to grip too tightly, which should help to min­imise fa­tigue.

At first I thought that the car­ry­ing case was just for dis­play in the shop, but it’s not. I can see that it’s very safe, but I thought it was a bit too bulky. If it were mine, I’d saw off the carry loop and trim all the other un­nec­es­sary parts so that I was left with just the part that con­tains the head. An in­no­va­tion that I haven’t seen be­fore is the head be­ing coated with PTFE, to help it slide in when cut­ting, and re­duce the chance of it stick­ing when deeply em­bed­ded.

Cut­ting per­for­mance in the field was every­thing I’d hoped for; slic­ing through 2” limbs in just a few strokes. The han­dle was a touch slip­pery, but wear­ing a work glove helped, which is what I would usu­ally do for longer jobs, any­way. This is a great hide-mak­ing tool, and fan­tas­tic for camp­ing trips when an open fire needs to be built. It’s also very rea­son­ably priced for such a high-qual­ity tool. A well-built bar­gain, it has to be said.

“Cut­ting per­for­mance in the field was

every­thing I’d hoped for”

Above: There’s a lot of cut­ting power in that small tool

Be­low: The pro­tec­tive car­ry­ing case is rather bulky

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