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The Ray Mears Wilderness Axe is an exclusive collaboration between Ray Mears and the Swedish company Gransfors Bruks. After years of designing, testing and refining, Ray and the Woodlore team are extremely excited to unveil this unique signature model; in Ray's words, it's the 'Small Forest Axe Plus'.
While many Gransfors axes are forged en masse in large presses, the Wilderness Axe is produced in small quantities by Gransfors' experienced blacksmith, who work by hand with a traditional hammer press. Thanks to the use of this press from the 1940's, the production looks the same as it would have done back then.
Upon its release in December 2010, Ray sat down with us for an interview on this new axe, answering questions on its design, purpose and benefits over other models available today. An excerpt of this is shown below; to read the full interview, please visit the Ray Mears Wilderness Axe Interview on the Woodlore Blog.
What were your main goals when you set out to design this axe?
A good axe needs a combination of many features, but most importantly, it needs the right weight balanced with the right length of handle. There will
always be a compromise between a small, portable hatchet and a large axe more suitable for felling; the Small Forest Axe is great, but it is lacking in weight and length for good splitting and chopping. I wanted an axe that was a little bit longer, better to swing with two hands, with a heavier head.
So what is it that makes the head of this axe so special?
It’s been designed to give real bite. The weight of the head combined with its size makes it a little more potent to use - you can split wood with it one minute and then use it for carving the next.
And what's different about the handle?
The length is different, which is critical to the functionality of the axe. The handle is long enough, and the head heavy enough, so that the head is doing all the work. This means that your muscles can instead focus on guiding the axe, making it a much safer axe to use. The length of the helve, in balance with the weight of the head, is designed to give perfect balance. It’s a mix between the Gransfors Scandinavian Axe and the Small Forest Axe, but there is real magic in it; anyone who uses it will see and feel the magic quality of weight and length - it makes it a very special axe.
What would you say are the ideal uses of this axe?
Anything you have to be able to do in the woods – felling trees, chopping dead trees that have blocked a portage trail, splitting, carving, fashioning a canoe paddle - but it does require expertise to use it well and these things take a long time to learn...
NOT AVAILBLE TO ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 18
- Ray Mears Bushcraft logo on handle
- Head weight: 0.8 kg
- Total weight: 1.4 kg
- 60 cm hickory handle
- Protective leather sheath included
- 20-year guarantee
For information on Caring for your Axe and How to Sharpen an Axe, please visit our Bushcraft Tips and Advice pages.
To the best of our knowledge, all kit specifications are accurate, although these can vary at times. We aim to dispatch all orders by the next working day.
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