TOP OF THE TREE
The editor is moving up the cutting power ladder
The editor gets more cutting power wtih a heavy-duty axe from Hultafors
Several years ago, I had the good fortune to be sent a Hultafors axe that changed my view on what these tools can do. Although it was quite small, its ability to slice through wood shocked me and I quickly had to adjust the effort I put into each cut because it often flew right through smaller limbs and nearly contacted my own.
Because of this positive experience I was keen to try a larger model from their range suitable for heavier work, so I ordered the HY10 model with its 1500 gramme (3.3lbs) head and 700mm (28”) hickory shaft. This is clearly a twohanded model with the length and mass to take on much thicker logs.
The head is hand-forged and made from Swedish axe steel with traditional methods in use since 1697. The steel is struck multiple times, increasing its density and thereby the durability of the axe. This is a slow and costly way of manufacturing things, but it does make for a better tool ultimately. At the cutting edge it has a ‘clear tempered’ zone within which the axe can be sharpened whilst not detracting from the strength of the edge. To finish it off, there is a coating of clear lacquer applied to reduce corrosion.
I quite like the fact that the head isn’t ground and polished, but rather left as it comes from the forging process. Thinking about its modest price, I wonder if leaving the head unpolished is a way of keeping costs down. It has the company’s logo stamped in deeply, which looks great. I noticed that this axe has a much shallower grind than the smaller one, presumably to withstand the greater impact forces. As you can see from the photo, it has a curved edge which is stronger than a straight one, again suiting the nature of its work.
In use the HY10 sliced through wood as thick as my arm with just a few well- placed cuts, making quick work of clearing side branches. Bigger logs were cut with an ease I’ve never enjoyed before and it’s clear that the cutting power I’d experienced with the smaller model was evident here in the more powerful format. Hultafors produces superb tools that deliver supreme cutting performance at a remarkably low price making them a very appealing choice indeed!
ABOVE: The hickory handle is oil finished and ergonomically excellent INSET: The forged head is left unpolished, which is a look that I appreciate