Knife review : cKc Hatchet

Knives :

This review consists of :


The cKc hatchet is an interesting offering by Kyley Harris of cKc knives which was intended to compete as a wood processing tool alongside the high end traditional wood hafted hatchets and offer higher utility as a cutting tool due to the flat stock which produces a much thinner bit.

Harris has quite a number of videos on YouTube on his channel starting from the development of the hatchet, the grind, light use, kitchen use and an fairly comprehensive comparison against a Wetterlings in the video on the right which is one of the better of the traditional wood hafted hatchets.

Performance from a hatchet depends on user skill, strength and wood type so it isn't trivial to generalize but the video on the right and the other video's on Kyley's channel paint a picture of a very decent hatchet.


Basic specifications :

Some specifics on the grind :

Initial Impressions

Initial impressions :

Stock testing : main

The hatchet came used but still decently sharp and after some work responded very well to a 4000 grit waterstone and easily took a fine shaving sharpness. A few numbers on sharpness :

and cutting ability :

For some perspective, those rope numbers are comparable with some of the better cutting knives seen.


Materials cut :

Compared to the Fiskars Sportsman Axe with a slimmed down edge to a similar edge angle the cutting ability was comparable on both small axes on all of the above materials outside of the pop bottles. The very thick blade on the Fiskars was extremely difficult to put through the bottle and it had to be used in a slicing motion which is very difficult to control whereas the cKc hatchet could still easily push cut through the wide plastic with excellent control and safety.

Using the cKc medium hatchet on some demo work it tended not to be overly effective on taking apart wood as noted in the picture in the right. Basically :

In general that it was simply faster to chop/cut through the material. In comparison an Annihilator, a hammer/pry/wrecking bar which weighs just under 4 lbs make such tasks rather trivial. Of course that it can't chop, cut, carve or slice overly well.

After attending a forestry trade show and getting some seedlings the cKc hatchet was used to make a small hole to plant the root bulb The spike easily works in the ground, doesn't matter if it is rocky or not. The spike is very robust and thus there is no issue in wrenching the hatchet to the side to open up the hole and allow the bulb to be planted easily. Now of course this can be done easily with a knife, just stab it in and do the same, but it will pretty heavily blunt the top and leading edge.

The hatchet of course is more than just the spike and it readily splits a piece of strapping, points it and then easily pounds it into the ground. The versatility really shines in such work as it works as a digging spike, hammer, axe and carving knife. Of course for transplanting larger trees then actual gardening tools would want to be used to make the much larger holes for the bigger root bulbs, but again the range of work for which the cKc hatchet is able to work well has shown to be quite large.


Now of course the cKc medium hatchet is a lot more awkward than an actual kitchen knife simply due to size and weight but it could steel peel and make the horizontal cuts necessary for fine dices on onions and for low volume work there really was no significant issue. In regards to direct force comparisons slicing the small onions (3" diameter) :

In percentage this is about double but straight addition it is only 2 lbs. That is not enough to notice during the cutting, again assuming it is only a small amount of food to be cut/prepared.

Something more interesting came up cutting some sweet peppers as the hatchet was easier to use to make the cuts. The Everyday Essentials required more force to complete the cuts through the exterior skin (cutting skin side down). At first it was thought that it may be because the hatchet was sharper as it was recently sharpened and the Everyday Essentials was about five weeks being used as the main and only knife in the kitchen with the initial edge.

However looking at the mechanics in a bit more detail, the cKc hatchet has a full edge sweep (as does every axe aside from dedicated carpentry axes which can be square edges) and so doing draw cuts only a small section of the edge was hitting the cutting board and thus the pressure was very high. In comparison the edge on the Everyday Essentials is very flat, as it has very little belly and so the pressure was low unless the force used was very high.


As a basic check on carving/shaping the cKc medium hatchet was used to take a piece of deadfall spruce and make a few beetles or small clubs. These are useful for splitting wood or any other time you want a hammer but do not want to use steel. The main concern here was that the birch was a bit rotted but since there was a lot of it at least one decent mallet should be able to be made. To start the process the small stick was cut to a few lengths with a small buck saw. Of course the hatchet could easily buck the wood but it is wasteful as you lose basically the thickness of the wood in length each time you have to make a cut.

The main concerns starting out was :

Working through the sticks, there was that much rot that only one really decent mallet could be made with one other small one only useful for light work and one pretty rough shaped one. In general throughout the cutting :

The Fiskar's Sportman was used as well and while it is much lighter and has a lower fatigue rate on the precision chopping, over all for this small volume of work this wasn't a factor and the other higher abilities of the cKc medium hatchet easily made it the superior choice.


Ergonomics : there are a few concerns with comfort in use. The most obvious being a high grip around the haft to allow maximum force to be used in the cut when carving. The problems are :

Using this grip does allow maximum force to be put into the cut, but it was near impossible to use it for any length of time with a heavy padded glove. Of course cord wraps, leather over wraps, etc. can fill out the haft and make a more ergonomic grip.

Shifting the grip down under the hump removes the main contact point but still leaves the grip around a fairly thin haft. All of the carving and light cutting work was done with this grip and it was not problematic enough to cause anything aside from minor discomfort but it does give a pretty significant leverage disadvantage.

In some detail using a a piece of pine (0.5"x1" ) and making 2" points with heavy force (75-100 lbs). The following were the required number of slices :

Note the Fiskar's was reground as noted previously and with the regrind it is close to the Mora, respectful performance considering it is an axe. The cKc hatchet actually has a thinner edge profile than the Fiskar's and even the Mora but as you are cutting so far in front and out past your grip you have a severe leverage and torque disadvantage and thus it can not compete.

Security : the handle security was a high point. It was easily in a class about the Fiskar's which is useless to the point of being dangerous when wet. A rough sanding on the micarta left it with a high tack on the grip and that combined with the shallow curvature (high width to thickness ratio) made it very stable in handle. It never wanted to roll or twist and was easily usable even when wet.

Durability : the durability is very high as the grip is steel and micarta. Outside of extreme impacts of conditions such as it being shot or exposed to strong acids, it is pretty much invulnerable.

Miscellaneous :

Edge Retention

As a basic check on edge retention, through 1000 slices through pine :

Without strict measurement on thread or similar it would be difficult to even know that it was used.

This of course would be expected and it not an indication of high performance as any tempered steel which could not do that is either not hardened at all or has very serious problems with the hardening. However it is a decent first place to start and also gives a decent idea of cutting ability and comfort, both of which are solid with this tool.

As a harder check on the edge, the hatchet was used to cut up some fresh beef bones. Now all bones vary in density, even in the same type of animal so variance can be expected. The bone cutting in the video was also done so as to minimize stress on the blade using the following conditions :

Now while it may seem that a powerful cut would make it harder on the edge, the real problem comes when the cuts are only partial and the chop ends with the edge in the bone and shaking/vibrating as it stops. Even with this in mind the durability show in the video is among the best seen as there is no visible effect on the edge at all from the bone.


Overview :

Comments and references

Maker Webpage : cKc Knives , and YT Homepage.

Comments can be emailed to cliffstamp[REMOVE] or by posting to the following thread :

and/or the YouTube Playlist.

Most of the pictures in the above are in the PhotoBucket album.

Last updated : Sun, 22 Apr 2012 21:47:33 Newfoundland Daylight Time
Originally written: Tue, 27 Mar 2012 21:49:55 Newfoundland Daylight Time