Recently I was given the opportunity to test and review a Hults Bruk splitting axe. Hults Bruk is a Swedish company that's been around since 1697.
In the early stages the company produced iron bars and nails, but later focused on hand tools which of course included the axes still produced today.
In the late 1870's owner Gunnar Ekelund traveled to the United States where he was able to obtain modern machinery and expand the Swedish based company into the United States.
Currently, Hults Bruk is owned by the Hultafors Group where they employ over 20 people and make over 100,000 hand forged axe heads a year.
With a wide variety of axes to choose from Hults Bruk has a felling axe, splitting axe, or hatchet for nearly any occasion. The steel axe heads are shaped by skilled blacksmiths who work in pairs carefully shaping the raw steel into these beautiful and durable cutting tools.
The finished axe heads are then hand fitted on a solid American hickory handle, which receives several coats of linseed oil to protect the wood.
Finally, a full sized leather edge protector with adjustable leather strap is used to keep the axe head razor sharp.
I chose the Sarek splitting axe because of its long straight handle and overall design for splitting larger logs.
As a tall person, I'm always concerned about short axe handles because I'm worried I'll hit my legs or feet in the process of splitting the log. For years I've used the Fiskars X27 Super Splitting axe due to its 36 inch long handle and lightweight construction.
The Sarek features a 30 inch long handle and has an overall weight of 4.5 pounds which is lighter than the 6.3 pound Fiskars axe.
When I received the Sarek in the mail, the packaging and overall appearance of the axe was amazing. It almost looked like an axe created 200 years ago, made by hand with craftsmanship that has long been forgotten.
In fact, the axe with its hand forged head and linseed hickory handle was so "pretty" I almost didn't want to use it.....but that defeated the purpose so I quickly decided to test out the Sarek to see if it performed as well as it looked.
The timing of the splitting axe was perfect because I received it in early spring, which is my favorite time to cut firewood before the bugs get horrible and the undergrowth gets long.
And since it was the beginning of my "firewood cutting season" I had a ton of wood to split so it really gave me an opportunity to test out the new Sarek.
The overall design of the Sarek is wonderful. You can see the forged strike marks in the blackend steel and its edge is very sharp which bites deeply into the log.
Raised spines run along each side of the blade creating a triangle shape on each side of the cutting surface. These spines create a wedge effect as the axe goes through the wood, splitting it apart.
Normally I use my Fiskars X27 in the woods to bust up the large rounds to make them easier to load into a pickup truck and eventually split with a hydraulic wood splitter.
Since the splitting takes place in the woods, I typically don't use a splitting block with my Fiskars. Yes, it's hard on the blades edge, but it works for me in the middle of the woods and saves my back from lifting the large rounds. Plus the 36 inch handle keeps my feet safely away from the head of the axe.
Since the Sarek is 6 inches shorter than the Fiskars and I was going to be splitting the rounds into firewood sized pieces instead of just busting them in half, I knew a splitting block was going to be a necessity. Plus, in order to fully test out the Sarek I wanted to split approximately 1 full cord of firewood, which is 128 cubic feet.
The splitting block raises the wood off the ground so the axe handle is horizontal to the wood when it makes contact during the downward stroke as opposed to a glancing blow. Plus the splitting bock keeps your axe from digging into the ground and damaging the edge.
Do you want to build the perfect splitting bock? Take a large round of wood, cut it as flat as possible and screw a tire to the top of it!
By cutting it as level as possible it makes it easier to set the wood on top to be split without it tipping over.
The tire serves two purposes.....first it helps keep the wood in an upright position before and after you split it. If you've ever split firewood before you know how frustrating it can be when you have an uneven piece of wood fall over before you get a chance to split it.
With the tire, you can simply prop it up on the inside ledge and you're done!
Also the tire keeps the wood contained after you split it. No more splitting the wood once, then setting it back up to split again and again.
Once you use a tire and splitting block you'll never go back to splitting wood without one again.
When splitting with the Sarek Hults Bruk splitting axe I loved the feel of the natural hickory handle. It's solid, with no wiggle around the head of the axe.
Also the balance of the axe felt great in my hand. When splitting, the weight of the head basically glides its way though the wood. I didn't feel like I needed to exhaust myself by swinging super hard. I basically just let the axe do its work......and it did an awesome job!
I'll be honest, before I used the Sarek I swore I'd never use another splitting axe other than the Fiskars X27. Now that I've given the Hults Bruk Sarek a try, I'm definitely a fan.
The Fiskars will always be my choice when splitting large rounds without the splitting block due to its length, but the handmade natural feel of the Hults Bruk splitting axe is very impressive and something you should definitely consider when looking for an axe that will last a lifetime.