Saturday, November 15, 2014

REVIEW: The Council Tool Boy's Axe - US Forest Service edition, is back!

Ok readers, here's a deal you won't want to pass up. As some of you may recall, Council Tool released a limited number of US Forest Service edition (FSS) Boy's Axes last year (check out our review here). 

For the money, this was just about the best axe on the market if you were looking for a full-sized, traditional Boy's Axe. The reason being is that these axes were spec'd by the US Forest Service, and included improvements over Council's Standard Boy's Axe such as an upgraded handle, plastic wedge (more stable and durable than Council's crack-prone aluminum wedges), better edge profile, as well as special attention to the alignment and handle grain.

Since there were only about 50-100 of these axes available at the time, they flew off the shelves and sold out in less than a week after we posted our review.

For those who weren't able to grab one of these excellent axes last time, the FSS Boy's Axe is back, this time, sporting a Velvicut handle!

The Axe

The return of the FSS Axe can be attributed to the Omaha Knife. They convinced Council to do another run of the FSS Axes.

In negotiating this deal, Omaha requested better handles, taking note of the issues Council had with some of their original FSS Axe handles, many of which did not seem to be within Forest Service specs (sideways handle grains, poor alignment, etc).

The result is that new FSS Axes now come with Council Tool's premium Velvicut line handles. Council Tool's Velvicut handles are some of the best axe handles on the market, so this is a huge score for fans of the FSS.


Omaha decided to give buyers a bunch of options when buying the new FSS Axe. In order to to keep the cost of the axe down, the handles are left unfinished. For $59.00, you get a basic FSS Axe with Velvicut handle and factory edge (Forest Service requests their axes to be unsharpened, so they can be customized for the job and environment).

The basic handle has been sanded at the factory and is ready to use, but is not as smooth or has as perfect grain direction as a regular Velvicut Axe. For an additional $10, you can get a hand-picked handle with a smoother finish and better grain direction. (EDITED: The Velvicut handles on the FSS Axe are in fact standard Velvicut handles and fully sanded. The only difference is that they are not coated in Linseed Oil at the factory.)

Our test unit was a "hand picked" model, and had near perfect alignment and grain direction/tightness:

Another excellent option is Omaha's free sharpening. For no charge, Omaha will sharpen your FSS Axe with a mirror polished, razor-sharp edge. I was frankly surprised at how sharp my test sample was, easily cutting through paper like my sharpest Mora knives. Omaha assured me that this is how all FSS Axes with the optional sharpening will come. 


The FSS Axes do not come equipped with sheaths. However, Omaha has a couple of options if you want to order it with a sheath. The cheaper option is a universal Council Tool buckle-style leather sheath, shown below:

At $16, the sheath is not on par with a custom-fitted sheath like on Gransfors Bruks axes, but seems very well made and durable. The only issue I had was that the strap didn't have enough holes to adjust it tight to the FSS's head. I had to punch a hole in the strap to get it to fit right. If you don't have a leather hole puncher, just lay the strap on a 2x4 and drive a small to medium sized nail through it to punch a hole.

For $25, Omaha will sell you a Velvicut leather sheath, which is the same sheath used on Council's Velvicut "Bad Axe" Boy's Axe and a perfect fit on the FSS:


I was curious to see how the FSS Axe felt with the new Velvicut handle, and also wanted to know how well it would chop with Omaha's sharpening job. After using it to buck this large pine log in half, I have to say that the handle felt fantastic, and the razor sharp edge cut deep and threw big chips in the process. Great job Omaha!


As I stated in our original review of the Council Tool FSS Axe, this is simply the best full-sized, traditional Boy's Axe on the market for the money. Even though it is a little more expensive than last time ($59 vs $45), when you factor in getting an upgraded Grade "A" Velvicut Hickory handle, plus Omaha's outstanding free sharpening, it's an even better deal than before.

Even if you add one of the optional sheaths, the FSS Axe is still a whopping $56 to $65 dollars cheaper than Council Tool's Velvicut "Bad Axe" Boy's Axe. That's what I call an outstanding deal. I don't know if Omaha will be able to get more of these after this batch runs out, so you may want to grab one ASAP.

5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

The Council Tool Boy's Axe Forest Service edition is available exclusively from Omaha Knife

No comments:

Post a Comment