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Hults Bruk vs Gränsfors Bruk Axe: Which is Better?

Hults Bruk vs Gränsfors Bruk Axe

Hults Bruk vs Gränsfors Bruk Axe

Axes are the quintessential heirloom, but most axes today cannot go a few years without breaking. If you want an axe that will serve you for several years, consider buying a premium model. Premium axes are typically made by hand, which makes each piece unique. Their heads feature high carbon steel or 5160 alloy steel construction for a sharper edge and are built to last.

Additionally, their handles are made from American Hickory, which has excellent grain orientation and density. The handles are conditioned through hand sanding and oiling to ensure they remain in perfect condition for the longest time. Finally, they come with a leather sheath to ensure the head stays in good condition while not in use.

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The Top Ax Manufacturers in the World

When it comes to premium axe construction, you will be hard-pressed to find companies that do it better than Hults Bruk and Gransfors Bruk. Products from these Swedish axe makers are highly sought-after around the globe by professionals and homeowners. However, this begs the question, Which brand is superior?

Hults Bruk Axes: Overview

Hults Bruk Aneby

A Brief History

Also known as Hultafors, Hults Bruk was founded in 1697, making it the oldest forge in Sweden. For centuries, however, the forge primarily focused on producing nails and iron bars. It would not be until the 1870s that the company would start manufacturing axes.

The decision to make axes came during the great Swedish forestry boom. The boom saw logging operations skyrocket in the vast northern forests. At its peak, more than 400,000 people were employed as loggers, and they all needed axes. For Hults Bruk, making the transition to axe manufacturing was a no-brainer.

How Hults Bruk Axes Are Made

At Hults Bruk forges, blacksmiths work in pairs to mold raw steel into perfect heads. Everything is done by hand. The head is struck to enhance its density to ensure maximum durability.

Additionally, the steel is tempered to give it an extremely sharp cutting edge that can go for extended periods without requiring sharpening. Thanks to its enhanced density, the blade of a Hults Bruk’s axe can be sharpened regularly without experiencing a dip in quality.

About the Handle

All of their axes are attached to a premium American Hickory handle. Each handle is crafted to suit the specific needs of the axe and is designed to allow you better leverage and grip. When complete, the handle is hand-fitted to its head.

Premium vs Standard

Hults Bruk axes come in two categories: premium and standard. While the standard axes might not be built from the same materials as the premium ones, they still feature an excellent and affordable build. The premium line is ideal for professionals.

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Gransfors Bruk Axes: Overview

Gransfors Bruk Large Splitting Axe Collar Guard Model 442

A Brief History

Founded in 1868 by Johan Petterson, the Gransfors Bruk forge initially manufactured scythes. The axe company was officially founded in 1902 by Johan’s brother, Anders Pettersson.

The company quickly made a name for itself. By the 1960s, they were manufacturing more than 200,000 axes per year. Unfortunately, their prosperity would be short-lived, and the company had to file for bankruptcy in 1985. This resulted from many factors, including the emergence of new technologies (chainsaws), poor corporate management, and increasing competition.

How Gransfors Bruk Axes Are Made

Following its bankruptcy, Svedbro Smide purchased the company. Under new management, Gransfors Bruk went through a strategic shift. They started prioritizing quality over quantity. They went from mass production to pairing traditional craftsmanship with modern improvements in design.

By doing so, Gransfors Bruk carved out a niche in the market for premium axes. Today, Gransfors Bruk is arguably the most well-known axe brand and a favorite for professionals.

Hults Bruk vs. Gransfors Bruk: Product Comparisons

Compact Hatchets

Hults Bruk Jonaker Hatchet

Compact hatchets are some of the smallest types of axes available. They are designed to delimb, carve, or split small pieces of wood for kindling. Thanks to their lightweight nature and compact design, you can also use them in food preparation, such as chopping up meat and vegetables. Compact hatchets, however, are not ideal for anything else.

Hults Bruk has the Jonaker, while Gransfors Bruk has the hand hatchet. Besides the hand hatchet having a slightly longer cutting edge, these products are virtually identical.

Larger Hatchets

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch

Both Hults Bruk and Gransfors have larger hatchets. However, Gransfors offers you three models vs. Hults Bruk’s two.

The Gransfors hatchets come in lengths of 13.5, 14.5, and 18.5 inches. They have a steel collar that protects the handle, allowing you to apply more force without worrying about damaging it. Hults Bruk has the 16-inch Almike and the 15-inch Tarnaby. Apart from their lack of a steel collar, they resemble the 14.5-inch Gransfors Bruk Outdoor Axe. Nonetheless, the latter does appear to be superior.

Gransfors has the biggest axe in this category with their 18.5-inch Hunter’s Axe. The axe head weighs 1.5 lbs. and comes with a soft, rounded poll for dressing game, making it a true hunter’s axe. Despite being put in the hatchet category, the Gransfors Hunter’s Axe can chop down small trees and split larger pieces of wood. Its length allows you to use it with either one or both hands, enhancing its versatility tremendously.

Backpacking Axes

Hults Bruk Salen Hatchet

When you are in the backcountry, you might need something that packs more punch than a hatchet. You might have to remove large tree limbs, chop down small trees for shelter, or split firewood, which you cannot do efficiently with a hand hatchet.

Hults Bruk and Gransfors have several axes for this category. Gransfors Bruk makes the Small Forest axe. It’s 19.25 inches long, has a 1.5-pound axe head, and a 3.25-inch cutting edge. Regarding handling and performance, the Small Forest axe is a real piece of work. It is perfectly aligned to allow for effortless swings.

Hults Bruk has a variety of products in this category. There is the 20-inch Aneby that comes with a 1.75-pound axe head with a 3.5-inch cutting length. Next is the Akka, whose head is similar to that of the Forest Axe but with a 24-inch handle. Finally, there is the Salen, whose proportions are almost identical to that of the Small Forest axe, with the only difference being its head, which is 0.25 pounds heavier.

Special Considerations

When it comes down to it, the Small Forest axe by Gransfors is the most well-rounded in this category. However, if you want a little more pop in your strikes, you should consider the Hults Bruk Akka, whose extra length gives you more felling power. When it comes to splitting wood, however, the Hults Bruk Salen is the most well-equipped axe in this category, thanks to its heftier axe head.

Felling Axes

Swedish tree-felling axes fall into two categories: the large and heavy axes for American hardwoods and the smaller and lighter axes for Scandinavian softwoods.

Gransfors Bruks Scandinavian Forest Axe 25 Inch 430

Scandinavian Felling Axes

In this category, Gransfors has the 25-inch Scandinavian Forest axe. It comes with a 2-pound head with a 3.5-inch cutting edge to easily dig into the Scandinavian softwoods.

Hults Bruk has three products in this category: the Kalix, Kisa, and Torneo. The Kalix is the heftiest of the three. It is 28 inches long and has a 2.25-pound axe head with a 3.75-inch cutting edge.

American Felling Axes

Axes designed for felling American hardwoods have heavier axe heads and longer handles to allow them to generate the brute force necessary for handling such trees.

Both companies have a 32-inch American Felling axe, but the Hults Bruk’s axe head is slightly heavier and longer.

Splitting Axes

Hults Bruk Gran Splitting Axe

Splitting axes are superb at splitting logs but cannot do much else. Their wide profiles and blunt edges make them unsuitable for felling trees. They split wood through blunt force rather than surgical precision, which prevents them from getting stuck.

Gransfors has two axes in this category. Both come with a 3.5-pound axe head, but one is 31 inches, and the other is 20. They both come with a steel collar guard to protect the handle against overstrikes.

Hults Bruk also has two axes in this category: the Bjork and the Gran. The Bjork is the larger of the two. It measures 30 inches and features a 3.5-pound axe head. On the other hand, the Gran measures 20 inches and comes with a 2-pound axe head.

Side-by-Side Comparison

To see the differences, let’s compare Hults Bruk’s Premium Felling Axe and the Gränsfors Bruk American Felling Axe side-by-side.

Hults Bruk Premium Felling Axe
  • Weighs: Five pounds
  • Head weight: 3.5 pounds
  • 32-inch American hickory handle
  • Hand-forged Swedish steel
  • Leather sheath
  • Price in low $100s
Gränsfors Bruk American Felling Axe
  • Weighs 5.3 pounds
  • Head weight: 3.3 pounds
  • 35-inch American hickory handle
  • Hand-forged Swedish high carbon steel
  • Leather sheath
  • Leather sheath

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As mentioned, both Hults Bruk and Gransfors Bruk are renowned for their premium quality axes. However, in our comparisons, we found Gransfors’ offerings to be slightly better in quality. It does not come as a surprise, therefore, that Gransfors’ axes cost more. Both axe brands are designed primarily for professionals. However, if you are interested in the best, we recommend the Gransfors Bruk line.

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