Images of hickory handles and tempered steel are the usual fare when selecting an axe – and they have been for centuries. New twists on the common theme have come and gone; fibreglass handles, stainless steel blades – you name it, it’s been tried before. But, you will need to brace yourself for the paradigm shift in chopping technology with the new Fiskars X15 axe.
I’m always willing to try new products and having had this one forwarded to me by Fiskars promotional guys I was eager to head out on the annual wood collection a little earlier this year.
Admittedly I was a little concerned that this axe wasn’t going to handle the rigours of cutting through Western Australian Jarrah (a wood almost as hard as rock) – especially as it only weighed a little more than 1.5 kgs. I envisaged that being a product from Finland the X15 would struggle to chop through anything other than dry pine – I was wrong.
The next doubt that ran through my mind was whether this axe was going to have enough leverage. At a smidge under 600mm from point to point, it hardly offers a guy of my height (6′ 2″ in the old scale) many options to really take a swing. In the end I let go of my left-hand position and swung the X15 solely in my right: the result was pin-point accuracy with an amazingly deft whack. Plus, it had taken very little effort compared to my standard axe.
So, in reviewing Fiskars X15 Axe (from their Next Generation Axe range) here are the pros of cons;
Fiskars X15 Axe: The Good
- Beautifully balanced – the centre of gravity on this axe is uncompromising. The harmony between the metal head and fibercomp handle is astounding. The axe falls gracefully yet handles surprising well.
- Enclosed head design – most axes come in two parts; a handle, and a metal axe head both joined together by an axe wedge. Over time, and with constant use, this wedge can slip and make the axe dangerous to use allowing the head and handle to separate. With the X15’s “enclosed head” design it ensures that these two components can’t part ways ensuring its safe usage.
- Splinter-proof/Shock-proof handle – I’ve used many wooden and fibreglass axes over the years. No matter how smooth the hickory handle I’ve always ended up with splinters from a wooden handle and jarred forearms from a fibreglass handle.Fiskars X15 axe, with its FibreComp™ handle, has none of these problems. It’s smooth enough to let your hands run freely up and down it and offers enough give that even the hardest “whack” won’t send shockwaves through your torso.
- Rust-proof head – the metal head has been covered with a PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) coating. In layman’s terms, it’s like teflon for your axe head, reducing friction with every strike and protecting your axe head from rust. Nice touch!
Fiskars X15 Axe: The Bad
- Small & Lightweight – chopping wood emits images of tall lumberjacks with shirt-ripping, biceps. If you’re going to buy a Fiskars X15 axe then you’re going to have be confident with your own manhood – or hand it over to your wife but beware that she’ll have chopped more than you with less effort.
- Short handle – this may force you to change how you chop wood, especially if you’re over 6ft tall. The length of the handle means that using two hands will feel extremely awkward but it’s light, durable design will allow you to work just as well with one arm.
As standard issue each X15 axe comes with its own plastic sheath to keep the blade protected when not in use. This will not only protect the axe head but also anything in which it comes in contact – very helpful if you don’t want your vehicle’s interior to be carved up on the route home.
And, if your blade ever does become dull then you can sharpen it with the Fiskars 7861 Axe Sharpener. This nifty device will ensure that the angle of your blade is kept perfectly honed.