Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chopping with a Ray Mears Wilderness Axe

I decided to bring my latest addition (or should I say "addiction" ?) with me on a recent photo shoot/gear test outing - a Ray Mears Wilderness Axe, made by Gransfors Bruks in Sweden. I've been dying to try one of these since they came out a couple of years ago. So right before I left to cover SHOT Show back in January, I placed my order for one at the Woodlore website.

Photo credit: raymears.com

The axe took a few weeks to get here from the UK, but thankfully made it safe and sound. Unfortunately, I was so busy after I got back from covering SHOT Show, that I had to let it sit and collect dust for a few months until I could break away from other commitments to give it a try.

I've been dying to try it out and I just couldn't take it anymore! So yesterday, while I was testing some other gear, I grabbed the Wilderness Axe and took it along so I could finally do some chopping with it.

I was able to find both a dead Douglas Fir and a dead Ponderosa Pine while I was meandering through the forest, so I gave the axe a whirl.

On the Douglas Fir, the Wilderness Axe chopped a nice, clean v-notch with relative ease:

I then bucked a dead Ponderosa Pine tree in half with it. The Wilderness Axe chopped through it like a breeze:

The Wilderness Axe has a much heavier head than the Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest, so this really improves chopping performance over the Scandi Axe. Definitely a good first impression, and I was finally able to get my Wilderness Axe chopping "fix" filled!

About the author
Jason Schwartz is the founder and senior editor of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft. He is a former Red Cross certified Wilderness & Remote First Aid Instructor, and has taught bushcraft and wilderness survival techniques to the Boy Scouts of America, interned with the US Forest Service, and studied wilderness survival, forestry and wildland firefighting at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville, Colorado. Jason has also written for magazines such as The New Pioneer and Backpacker, including writing the "Tinder Finder" portion of Backpacker's "Complete Guide to Fire," which won a 2015 National Magazine Award (NMA). Email him at rockymountainbushcraft @ hotmail.com (without spaces)

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