Axes have been around for the last million years or so to harvest timber by chopping and splitting logs. Axes come in a variety of lengths and shapes, but to cut logs down to size, you’ll need a long-handle axe for extra leverage and force.
Today, we’re going to look at two chopping axes built to last a lifetime – the Fiskars X15 and the Gerber 31-002561. They have both received a ton of positive feedback from their customers, but which is the better optionLet’s put them axe-head-to-axe-head and find out.
Handle Length and Material
The main component in axes that determine what they’re built for is the handle, or more specifically, the length of the handle. The Fiskars and Gerber have long 23-1/2-inch handles which offer a ton of leverage when swinging wildly into the trunk of a tree. The handles also make them easy to pull out when the axe head inevitably gets stuck. Both of their handles are made of fiberglass composites which numb the shock of each impact so your hands, arms, and shoulders will be fit for each subsequent swing.
Steel Single-Edge Blade
The material used to construct the axe head is of grave importance. A sturdy material like carbon steel is ideal since it’s harder than wood and will not warp in shape as easily as stainless steel. Both the Fiskars and Gerber use carbon steel for their single-edge blades. On the opposite end of the blade edge, you’ll find a poll or butt which can be used to drive wooden stakes into the ground. You can also use the butt to drive wood or plastic wedges into logs, but we wouldn’t recommend it.
Inseparable Forged Steel Blade
One of the weakest points of an axe is the eye, that is, the connection point between the handle and the axe blade. Over time, the blade will typically wiggle itself free of the handle which becomes a humungous safety hazard when swinging the axe. Luckily, Fiskars and Gerber completely eradicated this risk by installing an inseparable molded head onto these axes. Essentially, the axe heads will never in its lifetime go flying off the handle.
Slight Concave for Longer Edge Retention
Although overly curved axe heads look attractive, they’re not practical for chopping wood. The more concaved the blade is, the fewer contact points there will be, thereby wearing down a certain part of the blade more quickly than others. Both the Fiskars and Gerber do not have this issue – the concave shape of the blade is hardly noticeable, so every part of the edge pierces through the log when it makes contact. This results in an axe that’s built to last and will hold an edge much longer than you would expect.
Perfectly Balanced and Aligned
Not every axe is of the same high-quality as Fiskars and Gerber. One of the first things we noticed what that the handle and axe blade are balanced with hardly any teetering toward the axe-head side. Also, when laid on the ground, the center of the concaved blade touches the ground along with the tip of the handle end. You couldn’t ask for a more perfectly balanced and aligned chopping tool.
Protecting the blade from damage when not in use is one of the most cumbersome tasks. We’d all like to throw the axe in the bed of a truck after a long day of splitting logs, but that’s how the axe blade becomes chipped. Believe us: sharpening and honing an axe blade is a lot more cumbersome than a knife due to its concave shape. That’s why we’re glad that Fiskars and Gerber include a plastic blade sheath for their axes. They make a tight fit around the blade to stop it from wiggling around, and it’s made of a soft material so it won’t cause damage to the carbon steel blade when stored away.
The carbon steel blades on these two axes is coated in a thin layer of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a synthetic polymer used in Teflon to create an anti-stick surface. Imagine the anti-stick, low-friction properties of PTFE on the axe head – these axes will have more than a difficult time get trapped in the wooden fibers of tree trunks. A simple nudge and shimmy should pull the axe right out with minimal effort. Because it won’t stick, you’ll be able to pack more swings in per minute.
Although axes are extremely versatile and handy, they are weapons and should be treated with respect. Even though axe-related accidents have been due to misaimed throwing, it’s not entirely unrealistic to imagine long chopping axes flying out of your hands when cocking back for a full-impact swing. To prevent self-injury when wielding an ax, Fiskars and Gerber installed non-removable anti-slip grips around the bottom portion of these axes. You should still consider wearing grip gloves since a better grip means enhanced protection.
No matter how well the blade is built, there will come a time when it begins to lose its edge. You’ll know when to sharpen the edge when it no longer cuts but rather bashes into the log and creates splinters. To keep the edge as sharp as possible, you’ll need to use a Fiskars Xsharp sharpening tool. This is the only sharpener that will work in keeping both the Fiskars and Gerber’s edge as razor-sharp as the day you bought it.
We know what you’re thinking: if the Fiskars X-15 and Gerber 31-002561 are identical in every regard, how in the world can we determine whether one is the more superior log-chopping axeWhen it comes to these two axe models, in all honest, it’s impossible.
You see, both of these axes are one and the same. Gerber is a sub-division of Fiskars, and all axe details are shared between the two. The only distinguishing feature between these two axes is the color of the handle. Other than that, they might be forged in the same plant in Finland.
In conclusion, choosing one over the other is purely a matter of aesthetics, but performance and durability-wise, there’s no wrong decision. We’d highly recommend getting either of these axes for felling trees and chopping logs.