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Gransfors Bruks Ray Mears Wilderness Axe

Gransfors Bruks

Gransfors Bruks Ray Mears Wilderness Axe


Weight: 1400 g         81 reviews
The Gransfors Bruks 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:

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...

To read the full interview, please visit the Woodlore Blog.

  • 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

  Under UK law, this item can only be sold to persons over 18 years of age. Please note that Woodlore will need to verify your age before your order can be dispatched.

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  Delivery in 1-2 days within the United Kingdom
  UK Orders placed before 2PM GMT will be dispatched the same working day
  Overseas delivery times will vary depending on the destination

Please note that our offices are closed at weekends, so any orders placed after 2PM GMT on a Friday will not be dispatched until the following Monday.

Orders with a total value over £300.00 will be dispatched free via a next day delivery service within the UK at no extra cost.

Please note that in some instances, orders for heavy items may take an extra day to arrive.

  Overseas deliveries
For overseas deliveries, please refer to the following estimated delivery times:

  • Europe: 3 - 5 working days
  • Rest of the world: 5 - 7 working days


A full refund or exchange will be given provided that the items have not been worn or used, and are returned to us within 30 days of purchase, together with all relative labels and packaging. You are responsible for the cost of returning items.

Please ensure that you include a copy of your invoice, along with an explanation of why you have returned your goods. If you wish to return your goods for any reason, please do so to the following address:

Woodlore Limited
PO Box 3
East Sussex
TN19 7ZE
United Kingdom

Product Reviews

Gransfors Bruks Ray Mears Wilderness Axe is rated 5/5 based on 81 customer reviews.

All of our product reviews are from customers with verified purchases.

Overall Rating:


  1 of 81

  The item arrived in great shape and came razor sharp. It shaved my arm right out of the box. The weight seemed a little light before use and it balanced quite well in the hand. The hickory handle was hafted perfectly and the grain was straight as an arrow, oriented the way it should be. In fact, I would consider the haft a super premium handle. The length of the haft appears short out of the box but after using it to cut saplings, I feel the length is perfect. The handle never got in the way trimming the finger sized saplings while clearing a path to my sons deer hunting tree stand. Grabbing the saplings a foot off the ground and choking up close to the axe head, it sliced through the saplings with no effort. There was no need to swing the axe to sever the saplings as the sharpness rivaled a good strong knife. We had high winds last week and as a result, I had a rather large willow limb on the ground in the yard. I grabbed the wilderness axe and thought I'd try it out on some larger limbs about the size of a large man's arm. Swinging the axe onto the willow limb was a surprise. I swung too hard and it blew right through the limb effortlessly. A lighter controlled swing sliced through with better results. With my limited exposure to this axe, I think it's a winner. I like the length, weight, sharpness, and the choice handle. I feel that the leather sheath could be more robust.  

  Steve J Drake
13th November, 2018

Rated: 5/5

  2 of 81

  What an outstanding bit of kit, this axe hits the sweet spot perfectly between the Small Forest Axe and the Scandinavian Forest Axe. Also the head is different to any other Gransfors I've used or owned, it's a stand-alone profile all on its own, the more pronounced wedge shape is great for splitting but not so much that it doesn't bite into the wood when felling or bucking, the perfect all-rounder. The only down side is the mask it is too flimsy for such a beast and split through after a week, the customer service from Woodlore is second to none.  

  Ken Ferguson
13th November, 2018

Rated: 4/5

  3 of 81

  What an upgrade from the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe! I even prefer it over the Scandinavian Axe. I have owned Gransfors Bruks Axes for years and have always thought something was missing. Don't get me wrong, they are wonderfully crafted and I enjoy using them. Come to find out 'it is all about the right balance of head weight and handle length' as you describe. I immediately felt the heavier weight and when I first used it I was sold. Now I could use all of my efforts into accuracy because the added mass of the head did all of the work. In my humble opinion a safer design, at least for me. On a side note, your soft packaging is not adequate. The leather cover was cut through at the toe, but no damage to the bit that I could see. I like your partnership with Gransfors Bruks enough that I ordered another one of your axes. We'll see how this one survives the skip over the pond. Keep up the good work!  

14th October, 2018

Rated: 5/5

Woodlore's Reply - 5th November, 2018
Dear Liffy, thank you for your review. I am sorry to hear that the axe sheath arrived with you in a damaged condition. Please feel free to contact us by email and we shall arrange for a replacement sheath to be dispatched to you.

  4 of 81

  I own three GB axes, all of which are used on an almost daily basis. This axe did not disappoint. It both chops and splits very effectively. It comes sharp enough to make fire sticks with ease. It is significantly heavier than my SFA and both axes have their advantages. To sum it up, this is a great axe and I am very happy with my purchase. As usual, the service from Woodlore was fantastic. Thank you.  

14th October, 2018

Rated: 5/5

  5 of 81

  This is a lovely axe, as you would expect with all Gransfors Bruks axes. Very well finished, and the edge (which came very sharp as expected) has held up nicely, I don’t think it will need more than honing for a good while yet. Used mainly for splitting so far (which is why I went for this over the small forest axe), but has a nice balance for carving as well. A good all-rounder. Amazing service from Woodlore, delivered within 24 hours. Finding this site has been great. Very nice selection of stock, and great to deal with.  

  Dominic Campbell
12th October, 2018

Rated: 5/5

  6 of 81

  I am so pleased with the Wilderness Axe. I have been splitting wood my entire life and am also an avid hiker/camper. I was looking for something bigger to compliment my GB Wildlife Hatchet and was looking at the Small Forest Axe and the Scandinavian Axe. It came within a week despite the fact that I live in the USA, and the fit and finish is top notch. I put it to immediate use and am so happy with my choice. It has the perfect weight and handle length and fits perfectly in my pack.  

  Robert Sandt
18th September, 2018

Rated: 5/5

  7 of 81

  Overall I was a bit disappointed with the fit and finish of this axe. The fit of the head has a gap between the wood and front portion of the head on both top and bottom. The handle appears to be straight most of the way until you get to the palm swell, the swell is twisted about 45 degrees. For a company that takes so much pride in how their products are hand made and use such high quality standard, this is a bit disappointing. I would have returned it if I had time to receive a replacement. Unfortunately I had a camp trip scheduled and needed to use what was sent. Hard to believe this passed quality control at GB and RM.  

17th September, 2018

Rated: 3/5

Woodlore's Reply - 18th September, 2018
We are sorry to hear that you are disappointed with your Gransfors axe. Due to the nature of how the axes are made there can be some minor cosmetic flaws but please feel free to contact us by email and we will try to resolve this matter for you.

  8 of 81

  I received the axe very quickly. It was taken straight to a Viking event to use for fire wood prep which it excelled in. I also used it for some carving and axing out bowl blanks. Fantastic axe which is weighted very well and comes very sharp.  

  Jonathan Arey
9th September, 2018

Rated: 5/5

  9 of 81

  A great general purpose axe with that extra little bit of clout being a little bit heavier, however the shaft on mine is a little thin for my liking as I find I have to grip very hard when using the axe one handed, this is not a major problem but after I have been using it for a while one handed I begin to feel the strain a little, using a glove would help but then not ideal as I don’t feel I have the same control. Had I handled this axe in a shop before I purchased it would I have gone for something different? I’m not sure. Fortunately I have other axes that are very good for one handed work.  

11th August, 2018

Rated: 4/5

  10 of 81

  This is a wonderfully balanced axe. I’m glad I had it shipped all the way to the US. It has a shorter more manageable shaft but the heavy thick head splits well.  

13th June, 2018

Rated: 5/5

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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions on this item can be found here. If you have a question about this product, please contact us.

Does this axe come supplied with a leather sheath?

Yes, all axes by Gransfors Bruks come fitted with a leather sheath.

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