Fighters: Hatchets & Such

Suppliers, with links, if possible.

Kydex cover would be nice.

Pack carry lashing tips would also be appreciated.

A proper tool has both an edge and a striking face, no?

What you tried and discarded, with reasons.


59 thoughts on “Fighters: Hatchets & Such”

  1. See eBay for “Multi Use Tool Hatchet Hammer Crow Bar”
    Attach same to appropriate length shaft
    Utilize with extreme prejudice

  2. Save your money and buy a Gronfurs Bruks. I like the small forest axe, hand forged, razor sharp high carbon steel. Vikings have experience with what works. “A cleaved head no longer plots” – Norse Proverb

      1. Same here. As a log home builder/woodworker I have lots of axes/hatchets/broadaxes and sharp cutting instruments, I can shave with all of them, and the Granfors is an amazing well made tool. As a woods tool, so is a cheaper Estwing.
        But sadly, doesn’t have the sex appeal the Rambo crowd is looking for.

        1. Estwing. The all steel, made in America “camping axe” with the leather wrapped handle is a modern day work of metallurgical magic. The small axes – both the double bit, and the single bit with the ‘pointy thing’ on the back end – again, leather wrapped handles, solid American steel… all come with nylon covers/belt carriers. For grins and giggles, add the Estwing claw hammer – sorry, no cover or carry provision; just a fuckin’ claw hammer (ymmv) about 28 oz and again one piece of steel with a leather wrapped handle – and for around $200; you have tools you will likely use. And so will your great grandkids.
          And weapons you should pray you never have to use.

          1. Yep, Estwing will do well. We have new and old vintage hand me downs and the old ones are still going strong.

            Have some of the older Cold Steel tomahawks, the Vietnam model is light but for older persons like myself, probably not worth it. What these will do is allow the PRACTICED user to develop speed. Myself – I’d rather spend time going for my third back-up handgun …

    1. I enjoy picking these up at Bob Ward’s and giving my arm Honer’s Mange.

    2. Apparently they now are corporate shills for Agenda 2030……Used to like in Denmark, have Swedish friends, revere most things Viking…….but jumping on the Agenda bandwagon is a leap I wont do. Maybe the older models or years ago they didnt play like that. Glad you got one before the turned globalist.

      I know nothing

  3. Biber Classic axes and such are the best I’ve used. They come extremely well sharpened with leather blade covers.
    Their smaller hatchets are a joy to use on firewood while camping, weigh very little and can be carried in a ruck easily.
    The quality of the steel is paramount; you don’t want to be sharpening your blade in the wilderness every 10 strokes. I sharpen my Biber camping hatchet once a year, and use it all the time.

  4. We use a Gerber hatchet, it’s fairly affordable at around $50 or less, and I’ve been impressed with the edge and chopping efficiency. It’s got a hollow polymer handle, not the grippiest but it seems very strong. It is very lightweight, on mine it dosen’t have a sheath exactly, more of an edge cover piece, so I don’t have any external way to pack it but it barely fits nicely in the pack. One of our group, he got a Kobalt full size ax that we used camping last year and chopped up a good size standing dead birch with ease. We have a couple of SOG mini tomahawks, really useless for any kind of serious chopping but a wicked weapon with a spiked and blade end, fun to throw.

    1. Second on this. Ferber makes a great axe. I have the small and large.
      I have used a few hand axes.
      The bare bones basic handles are the most comfortable.
      And lightweight is important.

      That being said, the Estwing Hammer/Axe is a beast. But I don’t know if it’s made anymore. Mine was stolen, but it worked great.

      Was a little heavy though.

      1. They had some Estwing at the Homeless Despot the last time I was there. Which was recent I’m there all the time. They’re very nice, I’d like to try one someday.

      2. Just picked one up the other day at Home Depot, $35. Have not used it yet, but plan on hitting the mountains in the next short while. It looks like it will work fine, quality? Its an Estwing, swung a 28 oz framer for years, she still works fine, so I dont need to be sold on quality. We will see how she holds an edge tho.

        It is a beast, got the short one, was not convinced the long one with 2 piece handle was bulletproof. I also think it will need a better sheath. Will see about that.

  5. Are hatchets really valuable? For what?
    Machetes fill the bill better for me. Even the cheap stamped sheet metal machetes are effective as weapons and for clearing brush. A Cold Steel machete gilds the lily, if you don’t mind dropping a few extra bucks.

    1. Yes, hatchets are valuable. They combine the capabilities of a very good edged weapon/survival tool that can be used to build, slaughter (game and such), fight (presuming one has worked the techniques necessary – and I don’t mean throwing, but you could do that, I guess), make other useful implements, such as pegs, stakes, and shelters, as well as serve as a good hammer if necessary (that’s why I like the ‘pipe hawk’ as the ‘pipe’ is a solid hammer head). Machetes are good, but they can’t do everything a hawk can do. Survival knives are good, but they can’t do what a hawk can do. If it were a choice and I was allowed two edged weapons/tools, I’d take a Leatherman MUTT and a Pipe Hawk. Everything I need to do I could do with those two. Except dig a meaningful hole. That’s why I’d have a small e-tool, like the Cold Steel ‘Spetznas’ shovel (which is also a great edged weapon. So, I guess that’d be three.

    2. If that is your fancy there is only one to buy — TRAMONTINA. I have both the cane and bush variety. Over a decade old and still going. The cold steel hold a better edge.

      Little trick to make the cane machete more useful. I have hex shaped cutouts for 1/4, 1/2, 5/8ths in the body of the blade.

  6. I like this idea a lot.

    It reminds me of the scene in “The Patriot” where Mel Gibson carves up a squad of Redcoats with a tomahawk… lots of blood, screaming and pain–just what ANTIFA goons need to experience.

  7. Ah I forgot suppliers, everything I mentioned is mass market and is available at places like Academy and Cableas. I got mine at the old Gander mtn. The Kobalt is a house brand at Lowes. One more thing another good wood processing tool my bro has is a chainsaw, not a powered one but a length of saw chain with handles on each end. He took down a decent dead tree with that a couple years back. I haven’t been able to find this, I would like one.

  8. Kydex sheaths ?

    Endless Mountain Supply, Inc
    Dave Pickel
    well-made, durable, any color you’d like, and wide WIDE range of models
    Solid product Solid guy

    OhioDude / multiple time satisfied customer

  9. Have several, personal fav, is the RMJ Tactical.well balanced, head to handle weight is outstanding., we’ve got,a,few,more, like Gerber, and a couple others.

    Rather then the common,machete, I prefer the Kukri, have a couple,hand made units, balance is superior, like the weight in the tip/head. I’ve carried,Kukri’s since 1983.


      1. I think I got the one from Cold Steel some years ago…

        Not bad at all. Of course the Hults Bruks and Gransfor Bruk axes get much greater use.

      2. I find them at Cabela’s, Bass Pro, Academy, Scheels, Sportsman’s Warehouse. Brands are Cold Steel, a few others. Kukri is a bit different from a tomahicani.

        Hatchets and tomahicanis do NOT chop like chopping wood, use a slicing motion. One cut cuts nothing, several cuts cuts once.

      3. Cold steel makes an exceptionally good ” larger ” Kukri. The steel is hard, and holds an edge. A great tool, for fighting, and utility work. Fighting with a Kukri is way different then a regular fighting knife. More a ambush tool, the burkas would use em for literally cutting se try’s heads off, or bury them thru the top of the head, splitting the skull like a cocanut. Either way flips the switch. Not much of a thrusting tool.

        INDY Knives made me a special unit, a bit larger, the balance is exceptional. Balance for any fighting knife is critical.

        Indy knives and I were specking a blended metal Kukri, name slips my mind. When the metal is, molded, like 7 different metals.

        I’ve given their knives exceptional knives as gifts to,all my nieces and nephews. All made in the old ways. Ancient safari swords were made this way.

        The art is centuries old, the blades stunningly beautiful, tough as rocks.

        Have a look , Imdy Knives. I’ve mentioned em here before. His 100.00 knifes are 500.00 everywhere else. A solid Christian man, just wants to make an honest living, not gouge his clients.

        I need to order a dozen more for myself. His Dirk/Daggers are very handy, was carrying one on my duty belly my last couple years in law enforcement. We were to the point we were being taught how to ground fight with knives.

        More a grappling style, but the double edged Dirks were swift, sharp as a razor, and ooooo so balanced. He builds bitchen sheathes to go with his knives.

        Have a look, think you guys will recognize the values of his products, the utility of same.


        I’ve got a friend who comes here who use to teach for Ernie Emerson.

        He’s off fishing right now. Pete if your interested I’ll ask him to put something together for the boys. It’s ” Lance” ex jar head BlackWater, and a maritime warrior. Terrific resource.

        Knows his way around the ring with knives.
        Let me know. Actually his in Dthe W’s turf right now. Up high fishing. I’m fucking melons!.


  10. I have a Cold Steel ‘Pipe Hawk’ that I modified by JB Welding the head, and then lightly scoring the shaft to hold 550 cord in place after wrapping very, very tightly. Sharpened the edge up some, but not too much. Cost me less than $30 when I bought it (maybe 6 or more years ago….) and is still going strong. I’ve used it in camp and carry it in the side pocket of my ruck with the head on the top, blade facing the rear. Has a cordura cover. Works good enough, though I did Campdry the hell out of it to increase life and wear.

    Here’s the post I originally put up in ’14. It works for me; others’ mileage may vary.

  11. I have a rifleman hawk from cold steel and put it on the war hammer handle. It makes a excellent mayaking\camping ax. Long enough to work trees, short enough to be portable. A hawk as a combat tool is a specific skill that is worth the effort to develop, and combined with the utility in camp it come in handy. I have a leather blade cover, and carry it strapped blade rearward, and head up on the left side of my ruck.

  12. I’ve been happy with the Cold Steel shovel as a multi usetool.

    The RMJ Tactical has a few tomahawks that are expensive but apparently good breaching tools. I have no personal experience but a MSG I know is a huge fan.

    I’m a fan of a good machete but it’s no substitute for an axe or hatchet. For axes Gransfors Bruk axes are great but expensive. I have their hunters axe but the flat poll on their small forest axe would make it more useful.

    If this were a part of your earlier 15 fighters series I’d suggest maybe 8 Cold Steel shovels, 2 small forest axes, 3 machetes and 2 tomahawks similar to the RMJ to double as breaching tools. Maybe add a few sven saws for added utility.

  13. Don’t forget Ol’ Reliable…

    Estwing 22 oz. solid framing hammer.

    Any hammer will do, have them laying in easy reach everywhere, but the big Estwing does it in style and comfort.

  14. Hatchets and small axes are good tools to have on hand. Especially is the support vehicle.

    I’ve used this type for many years :

    Husqvarna axes have good steel and good blade geometry. They are spendy compared to most. Granfors are nicer and more expensive yet.

    We also have Council Tools boys axes and felling axes, 2.5 and 3.5 head weight respectively. Both are good steel. Both required significant effort to properly shape the cheeks for efficient cutting.

    If you’re not willing to put some work into shaping the bit, then Husqvarna is a better value.

    A small hatchet will carry well slipped between the pack body and an outside pocket of an Alice type pack. As will a larger knife or small machete. All are useful from time to time. So is a small set of 12” bolt cutters- heavy but no substitute for them when needed.

    Every support vehicle should have a sharp axe, a D handled shovel (with at least a 24” handle), and some sort of 4 to 8 pound hammer. A real shovel, not an entrenching tool.

    A much more useful entrenching tool is this little $10 gem.

    That’s a little far afield on the “and such” portion. Might have strayed a bit into breaching tools.

  15. Don’t know if you heard, but I hear good knife manufacturers
    are adding depleted uranium to the steel. Good stuff…

  16. Longer handles can make the tomahicani unmanageable, shorter handles may be better for some people. Do NOT chop, slice and cut angular and circular motions. Not kidding. Chinese Hatchet men and American Indians used slicing and cutting movements and used a “chop” only to split a skull or to sever a wrist, split the sternum or detach ribs.

  17. I have a lightweight ‘hawk forged for me by a friend. We followed Horace Kephart’s general design (thin, slightly bearded head, about 3/4 pound with a 12″ handle) and arrived at something pretty handy. I’ve used it for many years and gone through two heads and six or so handles. 😉

    It’s described generally here:

    For those unfamiliar with Kephart, Camping and Woodcraft remains one of the better innawoods guides, despite being over a century old.

  18. FWIW,
    Been restoring old cutting tools for decades, from pre- civil war broadaxes to modern logging axes, can’t count how many wooden handles I’ve replaced. As much as I like wooden handles, in a survival situation you won’t find many wood handles laying around to fit your broken axe or tomahawk. (Buddy of mine was chopping up an elk in the dark a few yrs ago, tweeked the wood handle of his axe and broke it, left it there that night, came home and in the morning bought a long Estwing at the hardware store before riding back out to finish his elk quartering) Best deal on the market is the Estwing line, solid steel all the way down, and the newer long axe has a 2 piece tubular steel handle (not as nice as the old 1 piece ones) they hold an edge well and won’t break when needed.
    Stop buying into the gimmick tomahawk /war axe craze and buy yourself a good working man’s axe that will get used 99% of the time for work chores and not some imaginary head chopping berserker spree.
    I’ve used Filipino bolos at survival school in Subic Bay, own a Cold Steel $80 Kuhkri and love it for light chores, spent years with tomahawks while doing my mtn man stuff, but nothing beats a quality light axe for everyday carry, and some heavier ones in the vehicles when it’s time to chop your way out.
    Also keep a few old 4-6′ logging saws sharpened for when the gas runs out. (and that’s a whole nother subject too)

    1. I’m about to be working on 5 acres of mountain property and I’m needing some tools I’ve never had a serious need for (always keep an ax in the truck but only needed it a couple times).

      Estwing seems to be a good first all purpose ax, then?

      Also, as someone who seems to know a lot about log cabin/timber framing- are there any good schools/workshops that you could recommend for that? I’m loving this forestry stuff!

  19. Personally I really like the Molly Hatchet.

    We’re traveling down the road….yeah we’re flirtin with disaster……

    Got a Gerber combo in my pack has a small
    survival knife in the handle as a backup to my bush craft knife.

  20. I’ve bought 2 in the last year, an Estwing Carpenters hatchet and a Rig Builders hatchet. Both are better on the hammer tasking than any tactical unit I’ve used.

  21. 16″ Eastwing campers hatchet is heavy ( if you go by viking standards) but bulletproof. You will need to reprofile the head as it’s thick. I was gifted a bruks small hatchet and while it is a thing of beauty I would take the Eastwing everyday due to it being indestructible. I would also suggest you read the Ax Book, great reference. Remember 80% of the time a hatchet is used for bushcraft so while the tactical hawks are cool ( I have the Eastwing model) they are not as practical.

  22. I’m pleased to see focus here, again. And agree with most said here. Perhaps the best advice, is what 0321 suggested, stay away from wooden handles, or at least have extra handles in your spares, bin.

    John, my Col friend turned me onto the RMJ, and yes they are expensive. He ran the multi nation SF forces section is Kandahar AB, his last go around.

    I had wanted to purchase a tool for my then son in law, wanted to get him a solid 1911. John reminded me that my SIL was a leg, of sorts, combat controller officer, at the time running/ managing USAF,,,,, JTACS, imbedded with SF, and navy spec warfare.

    I asked him what he would suggest, he recommended the Hawks, said most of his guys were and international units, were running them, the majority were the RMJ units. Told me, that the Muslims were, for some reason terrified of the guys carrying the Hawks.

    So I ordered a couple. Again expensive , but well balanced, I gifted my SIL with one, kept the other. ” For me, ” the balance of a hawk is everything, tip heavy is good, but the ability to flick it directionally or spin the hawk in my hand is critical.

    A leash is a must and a above average holster is also critical.

    rMJs strengths are simply this they are a solid one piece metal unit, so no heads dropping or wooden handle to split. I suppose one could break the metal handle, I’ve just not heard of that before, and I’ve absolutely destroyed a car door, and hood, with this unit. The aft section is akin to a pick blade, with a slight curve.

    Gotta pay attention to angles when removing either end after burying them in stuff. Discovered that perhaps the easiest way is to roll the buried end up and over the top, like leverage, to unstick the blade or pick tip.

    Hope this helps.


  23. Personally I carry a cold steel pipe hawk with a leather sheath I made myself. Do like DTG and lick the head down. Good tool, and it’s not going to break the bank. A good catpenter’s hatchet would also be a good choice.

    I also have a Schrade SCHF 36 for general field work. 1/4″ steel made into a knife, holds a decent edge, and is less than 40$. Sheath is shit though – so make your own.

    I also carry a laplander saw.

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