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Fiskar's Brush Axe

Posted by CliffStamp 
Fiskar's Brush Axe
November 19, 2012 06:18PM
This is a billhook by another name :



Basic specifications :

- blade is 0.11" thick, 2.25" wide
- weight is 490 grams
- edge is 0.020" thick, 22 degrees per side
- hollow primary grind, 0.3" inch wide
- approximately 10 degrees per side

I picked this up after seeing this video :





and seeing it in a local Canadian Tire.

I have had it now for nine months and used it off and on for all manner of work on light to heavy vegetation. The raw penetration is high, easily exceeding an axe of its size/weight due to the thinner blade, but unless the wood is very easy to cut (white pine) or can be cut in 1-3 hits binding would be significant enough to make the axe be more functional in the long term (less fatigue).

High points :

-inexpensive
-hook is very versatile for lifting/moving
-raw cutting/chopping power is very high
-fairly high durability
-handle ignores weathering, abrasion, cutting and even moderate to high impacts
-comes with a case
-local warranty service

Low points :

-does not come sharp (will not cut light vegetation, grasses and such)
-handle will get slick very easily
-curvature may be a problem for some to sharpen
-maybe a problem with the steel in this one
-case is very bulky
-tip limits a lot of knife like work

In regards to the sharpening/sharpness. It easily gets to the stage where it slices newsprint on a coarse stone, however moving beyond that to a higher polish does not seem to be productive, the edge tends to break down and smooth out even on waterstones and there is a fairly instant large loss of aggression. This one is kept usually at a 1000 grit finish. However I spoke to Jeremy and he doesn't have that problem on his - so it is likely this one is just problematic. This also may improve in time as it is sharpened but I have only seen slight improvement to date.

This is a blade which benefits much more from speed rather than power so it is very nice for people who like fast swings without a lot of follow through. It would not be suitable for people who like the feel and swing of axes but much more for machete users. This brings up the obvious question as to get this vs a simple traditional machete. This has the advantages of :

-primary grind for ease of sharpening
-the hook for enhanced cutting and lifting and moving and digging
-a large handle for a greater range of balance/heft adjustment

The main downside is that the hook prevents finer work. While not overly common for many introduced to machetes, they are commonly used by natives for a large amount of work including fish and meat work, this would be very awkward on the brush axe with the tip. It is also more awkward to carry, traditionally bill hooks are often carried in simple wooden scabbards hung from the hip, machetes are much easier to sheath.

Review : [www.cliffstamp.com]
Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
November 19, 2012 10:44PM
I haven't done it myself, but I think putting an edge on the spine of a thin billhook like this would transform it into a much more versatile tool. Not every large blade has to be baton capable, and while you can baton with a machete the thinness of the stock makes machetes poor batoning blades anyway.

Think of all the multi-grind possibilities of a double edged Fiskars Brush Axe Cliff spinning smiley sticking its tongue out
Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
November 20, 2012 09:19AM
Don't know about this one, but I have noticed steel on Fiskars axes seemed quite soft and would roll easily, even with fairly obtuse bevel.
Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
November 20, 2012 09:50AM
Quote
bubo
Don't know about this one, but I have noticed steel on Fiskars axes seemed quite soft and would roll easily, even with fairly obtuse bevel.

That doesn't sound like my Fiskars X7 at all. In fact I'd say it's too hard. Mine will chip before it will roll.
Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
November 20, 2012 04:57PM
There are billhooks that are sharpened on the back it is a very common feature and it adds versatility as a chopping tool. One edge is usually straight and thicker than the main edge so it will excel at completely different tasks. Similar to double sided axes you can a lot more cutting ability and versatility in trade off for lack of hammering surface.
Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
November 20, 2012 05:20PM
Quote
CliffStamp
There are billhooks that are sharpened on the back it is a very common feature and it adds versatility as a chopping tool. One edge is usually straight and thicker than the main edge so it will excel at completely different tasks. Similar to double sided axes you can a lot more cutting ability and versatility in trade off for lack of hammering surface.

You're talking about something like this?...


Yes, I have seen these with the extra raised, and sharpened metal. If you sharpened both sides of the Fiskar Brush Axe though, you would have a nice long cutting blade with an upswept tip. That would solve most of your cutting duty issues, no?
Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
November 20, 2012 05:37PM
It does, but I use the unsharpened section of the spine as a striking surface/hammer all the time for brush and demo work.
Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
April 10, 2013 05:37PM
Quote
Chum
I haven't done it myself, but I think putting an edge on the spine of a thin billhook like this would transform it into a much more versatile tool.

What you want is a Yorkshire pattern billhook:

Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
October 10, 2013 04:43PM
I have a small stream at the back of my house today I used my brush axe to clean the dead fall out. Most of the cutting was dry hard red fallen elm. Wrist size to maybe 6" diameter. I was really impressed with the abuse this thing took with no issues. All the chopping was the dreaded unsupported kind. I can report the axe suffered no half moon failures. At one point while chopping a branch near a concrete block I shattered the block with the hook. It blunted the point a bit but not serious.
The only issue I see is the amount of vibration coming through the handle. At times it was quite uncomfortable.
Later I took it to a jobsite I wanted to get cleaned up just for giggles I chopped up a length of copper pipe, a bunch of vinyl siding, and used the spine of the blade to bust a bunch more cinder blocks. (I found I could get more in the wheel barrow if they were broken!). Parts of the blade now reflect light but a few swipes with the file and it will be ready to go.

As a side note this would definitely be one of the first zombie weapons I would reach for.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/10/2013 04:44PM by Mark a.
Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
October 10, 2013 04:55PM
Quote
Mark a
The only issue I see is the amount of vibration coming through the handle. At times it was quite uncomfortable.

I think McCullen mentioned this as well when he made a video on the Fiskars Brushaxe. Too bad, but this kind of ruins it for me.


Chumgeyser on Youtube
E-nep throwing Brotherhood. Charter Member
Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
March 09, 2015 07:48AM
Chum, the Gerber version I got recently has no notable vibration and the same blade, though it appears to also have less usable handle length. I have thinned out the edge a bit over the stock profile though, that could have an influence on vibration too.

Cliff, has the steel improved in subsequent sharpenings? My Gerber seems to have the same issue with the steel, I haven't seen much of an improvement after 4 sharpenings.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/2015 07:51AM by Ryan Nafe.
Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
March 09, 2015 08:26AM
I would have a hard time telling. I tend to use this for rougher work and I rarely bring it to beyond a medium polish. I use it mainly for close ground weeding so it hits dirt and such a lot. I don't think what I noticed is as I noted in the above the expected behavior as Jeremy had no issues in sharpening his and in general that kind of behavior is a serious fault usually when it exists so is kind of rare.
Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
March 09, 2015 08:58AM
Ok, thanks for the update. Hopefully I still haven't reached the decent steel, but I suppose I'll find out soon enough. I do not intended to use mine for that heavy of work (don't really have anything like that to do), so hopefully the edge retention will improve, though at this point it is still a functional tool, so it could be worse.
Re: Fiskar's Brush Axe
October 02, 2015 06:56PM
This did improve over time. 8-10 full sharpenings later, it now easily takes an apex from a soft Arkansas stone that will smoothly dry shave with no irritation, and easily slice newsprint as far away from the point of hold that the paper allows. Burnt steel seems to be the culprit here, not some flaw in the steel itself, such as a mistake in the heat treatment.
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