While searching for the best axe handles, you have to be quite sure of their quality. It should be able to serve you well for many years. That’s why you need to look out for who makes the best axe handles?
Coming to think of the question, there are various factors you need to consider. First, what makes the good quality axe handles? Is it wood, fiberglass, or steel? And from where should you buy it? Finding the answer to the above questions will help you make a better decision.
So, the article aims to provide the answers to your queries so that you can find the best axe handles suited for your job.
Wood vs Fiberglass vs Steel: Which Is Better?
People generally find themselves in a dilemma whether they should buy a wood handle, fiberglass handle, or steel handle? Each comes with its unique features. This section will describe each type of handle along with its pros and cons so that you can decide which type suits you the best.
Wood Axe Handles
Originally, axe handles are made of wood. Most axe enthusiasts prefer to buy hickory or ash handles because they provide a great feel and look in their hands. Moreover, wood handles have an excellent ability to absorb shocks.
Among the other two axe handles choices, wood is the cheapest. Also, It doesn’t feel whippy in the hot season or unpleasant to hold in cold temperatures.
Wood axe handles come in different choices, such as Carpinus Betulus, Walnut, Birch, and Ash. But nothing is strong and durable than hickory handles.
Hickory Wood Axe Handle
Who makes the best axe handles? Hickory handles can be your answer because of their high-quality. It is flexible and stronger in comparison to hard maple and White Oak. Also, most farmers use Husqvarna axes and use them like woodcutter axes.
You can find hickory trees in Assam (India), China, Mexico, Canada, and United States. Why hickory is the best material, let’s find out.
- Environment friendly and Easy to replace
- More Economical Choice
- Best for Stress reduction and comfort
- Renewable and Sustainable Resource
High-quality axes like Hults Bruk, Gransfer Bruk are made with wood. That’s why wooden handles are most sought after because of their ease of use, grip, and balance.
- Traditional look
- Can be modified according to the needs
- Sensitive the extreme temperatures
Fiberglass Axe Handles
If the wood has any competitor in the market, it is fiberglass. The fiberglass is more potent and capable of taking frequent abuse compared to traditional wood handles. They are highly durable and also have excellent shock-absorbing properties.
The fiberglass is not prone to wear even in extreme environmental conditions. On the other hand, wood can soak up anything they come in contact with, shrink and also swell up. That’s why fiberglass is used in windmills, aircraft, automobiles, boats, and sports goods due to its durability.
Companies such as Fiskars produce the best fiberglass axe handle with appealing designs. Because of the exceptional strength, fiberglass axe handles are used for abusive and challenging work like splitting rounds of wood or chopping roots. It can even chop tough door hinges.
- Less sensitive to environmental conditions
- Excellent shock absorption capability
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Extremely strong and durable
- Cannot replace the handle
Steel Axe Handles
Steel is, as you all know, an alloy of carbon and iron. Upon extracting the iron ore from the ground, it is heated under extreme temperature in order to remove the impurities. After that, carbon is added to make the steel.
Steel Axe handles are the rarest among the three. However, steel is most durable than the other two materials because the axe is made of one metal piece. In these handles, the head of the axe is welded onto the handle.
Popular axe brands like Estwing produce the best quality steel axe handles. The handles are also induced with shock reduction grips. However, if you buy a steel axe handle without any grip, consider using it with leather gloves for protection.
In addition, Steel axe handles are also quite heavy but some designs like hatchets, camping axes and tomahawks boasts hollow steel handle to reduce the weight.
- Highly durable
- Heavier and massive than wooden and fiberglass handles
Who Makes the Best Axe Handles: Top 3 Choices
If you buy an axe handle from a local market store, the handles are effective but have some downsides that define their low-quality. Such as the non-smooth finish, they are prone to crack, and they are not durable.
Instead of spending money on low-quality axe handles, buy from the leading and reliable brands to enjoy the service and quality. Let’s discuss the three brands in detail.
House Handle Company
Since 1964, House Handle Company is manufacturing handles for a wide array of hand tools which includes axes. The father-son duo, William House and Kenny House, started the business. The family still owns it, and it has manufactured millions handles over the last forty years.
The company owns a handle grading system that defines its product quality. If you happen to purchase the handle, look for AA-grade handles. They are made with robust oak or hickory wood which are free from flaws.
If you have some special requests, you can pay some additional dollars and get your request obeyed. The special request includes Octagon, No lacquer, and handpicked handles. The handpicked option is the best as it will guarantee the excellent quality of the handle with great design and grain alignment.
The Swedish axe and handle manufacturer Gransfors Bruk was established in the year 1902. By the year 1960, they manufactured more than 2 lakh axes. Furthermore, the company has established itself as Mercedes in the category of axes for the last twenty years.
The company doesn’t use a high grading system, but all the axe handles are made with a wax finish and all-white hickory.
The longest surviving axe handle manufacturing company, Tennessee Hickory, runs the business for the last ninety years. The company is based initially in Tennessee River Valley.
As you know, hickory is the best wood to make axe handles; the company has specialized in producing hickory axe handles as striking tools. Moreover, they only use hickory in their handles.
Besides, the Appalachian Harwood Manufacturers, Inc. find the company’s forestry practices as sustainable.
If you buy the axe handle from the company, go for AW or AAW grades. You will get the best construction and quality materials in these grades. The AW and AWW grades are all-white hickory and come with a wax finish which is better than lacquer finish.
How to Find the Best Axe Handles?
Now, you know who makes the best axe handles, it’s time to discuss how you can find the best axe handles.
If you are searching for an axe to cut felling trees, split medium or small logs, or clear bushes and trails, wooden axe handles are the best option. Fiberglass handles are great to use for doing challenging work in extreme weather conditions. Moreover, they are lightweight and don’t require more maintenance.
On the other hand, steel handles are only better when they come with shock absorption properties.
Type of Tree
Again and again, you have seen hickory is mentioned as the best wood for the handle. However, you can find some alternatives as ash and oak. Other material choices like steel and fiberglass are also there, but wood is more environmentally friendly and comfortable on hands.
The next crucial thing to consider is the grain alignment. The grains run parallel to the axehead in a reliable axe handle. To check if the grain is correctly aligned, put the handle’s head side on the ground and look straight towards the end. If the grains run backward and forward, it is perfectly aligned.
You will also find the natural curves of the lines because of the tree growth. The grain should run parallel, but it doesn’t mean to be straight.
The axe handles are generally made with what is known as the second growth. Outside the dark-colored internal core, you will find a second ring on a hickory tree. If you find all-white handles, they are usually the second growth handles.
People usually prefer longer handles as they enable you to swing it with additional force. However, longer handles require more force which sometimes is uncontrollable and can be risky. So, if you want to find a sweet spot between accuracy and force, shorter handles provide the sufficient control required for powerful cutting.
You will generally find axe handles in two length types as boy’s axe and felling or full-sized axe. The boy’s axe offers a sufficient length of 28 inches suitable for home use or wood camping. On the other hand, the felling axe has a standard length of 36 inches which provides both control and force.
Straight or Curved Handle
Axe handles are either straight or curved. If you swing with a curved handle, it gives you a more consistent feel. If you are looking for single-bitted felling axes, they usually have curved handles.
In contrast, the double-bitted axe has straight handles. If these axes don’t have straight handles, you cannot flip the axe and use it for your job.
Red Flags in Axe Handles You Need to Look Out For
While looking for who makes the best axe handles, you need to be very observant of certain red flags.
Finish and Paint
Lacquered, stained, or painted axe handles look appealing to the eyes, but they may have certain defects which are not visible. The manufacturers apply lacquer of paint to make the axe handle stand out in design and appearance where you won’t be able to tell the defects.
The problem is that lacquer and paint are tough on the hands when are using the axe as a striking tool. It will rub on your skin which can result in blisters and hotspots. That’s why it is advisable that you use axe handles with either wax finish or no finish.
Splits and Knots
Before buying the handle, ensure that it does not come with any knots. Look and observe carefully down and up the handle. The presence of knots can make the handle susceptible to breakage and weaker.
Also, if you find a split on the handle, do not buy it as it won’t be able to withstand tough use.
You can identify the strength of the handle by looking at the color combination. The blended color of the handle means that it is not made from pure second growth but rather from any tree’s core.
Also, the dark spots on the handle are the indication of the weak wood, and it will form a split after some time. Apart from that, lighter color streaks on the handle are not a cause of concern.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do You Have Curved Axe Handles?
Apart from being stylish, curved handles help improve the handle grip. Besides, they provide excellent balance so that you can generate more power as you strike.
How to Measure The Length of The Axe Handle?
You can measure the length from the axe’s top edge to the knob situated at the bottom. However, the axe handle comes at a standard length of 36 inches.
Can You Use Oak Instead of Hickory in tthe Axe Handle?
Yes, you can replace hickory with oak only if the gain orientation of the wood is perfect. Additionally, there should be no defects like splits and knots in the handle.
It is not difficult to identify who makes the best axe handles; it depends on the quality, durability, and personal preference. Each axe handle type has its unique attributes along with some disadvantages. You need to plan out for what purpose you need the axe handle and choose your material.
Also, we have discussed the top three axe handle manufacturers to help you make a purchase right away.