Woodlore — School of Wilderness Bushcraft

Gransfors Bruks Ray Mears Wilderness Axe

Gransfors Bruks

Gransfors Bruks Ray Mears Wilderness Axe

Brand: Gransfors Bruks
Weight: 1400 g         55 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.


1-2 Day Delivery possible

  Delivery in 1-2 days (within 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 on weekends, so any orders placed after 2PM GMT on 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.

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 14 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 55 customer reviews.

Overall Rating:

  1 of 55

  For its size this axe is an absolute beast! Head weight and handle length work together, allowing the axe to chop with a bare minimum of exertion from the user. Choking up on the handle allows one to handle finer tasks. A must have for the serious bush crafter.  

  Darrell Smith
15th May, 2017

Rated: 5/5

  2 of 55

  Excellent piece of kit, razor sharp out if the box. Looking forward to giving it some serious use.  

10th April, 2017

Rated: 5/5

  3 of 55

  I ordered this axe and only had it a week when a buddy borrowed and refused to return it he liked it so much. He placed a Benchmade knife in front of me in trade and said 'I'm keeping the axe' Shortly after, I ordered another for myself then other coworkers began ordering this axe for themselves. Mr. Mears obviously knows that a light axe is more work to use and that a heavy axe is less work to use but harder to carry. With this in mind he found the sweet spot (for a bushcraft axe) when he designed this axe. This axe isn't specific to doing any one thing quite well, it actually does many things well for its size. It is a very handy and well-made axe. Splitting rounds of firewood will take a few more strokes but nonetheless it will get the job done while still being light and maneuverable enough for fine one handed work yet still being easy to carry. This axe fits the bill perfectly between a felling axe and a hatchet. As always the service at Woodlore is top notch and their people were very patient with me when I mistakenly thought my order was lost. (don't panic folks, it takes time to ship items overseas and through customs) these folks are honest and reputable.  

2nd April, 2017

Rated: 5/5

  4 of 55

  Great product, great service! Will recommend this company to all of my friends.  

  Kevin R Burroughs
15th March, 2017

Rated: 5/5

  5 of 55

  Initial impressions, just unwrapped. I was stoked to receive this axe and was anticipating close to perfection. The top of the head on the one side has a chamfer ground along the top edge the other side is not ground. This gives the head a look of being warped to the side. The handle has a small gap top and bottom on the cheek side of the head. The axe has a nice feel to it and I am looking forward to using it. I have the GB SF axe and the Outdoors axe and would say the handle fit and first impression was much better with these GB axes. I may be too nit picky, but with the increased cost of the wilderness axe I did not go wow when I unwrapped the package. The axe head cover is sized very tight and has to be forced on. I will be looking for a replacement. The buying process and shipping was all good. After using the wilderness axe on several winter missions over the last several months I would like to update my review. The chopping capability is excellent for an axe of this weight. Balance and feel are also excellent. Splitting is a big step better than the SFA and an equivalently sized wetterlings large hunter. I would like to change my rating from a 3 to a 4.5. It would be a 5 except for the issues noted on the original review. This axe performs much better than one would think for its weight and length. The head geometry functions better than it looks like it would. This will be my go to axe for everything except light weight backpacking.  

  Herb Butters
4th March, 2017

Rated: 4/5

  6 of 55

  I considered the purchase of this axe long and hard, since I already own the small forest axe. I can say without a doubt this purchase is worth every penny. The added handle length and head weight give this axe quite a bit more oomph while splitting and chopping wood, without making it too cumbersome for a backpack. The fit and finish are what you expect from Gransfors Bruks. My only complaint is about the shipping of the axe, as my axe arrived with a damaged sheath clearly caused by rough handling by the postal service, other than that, perfect.  

20th January, 2017

Rated: 5/5

  7 of 55

  I would like to express my gratitude by for taking care of my purchase, the Ray Mears Wildeness Axe. Your company is 2nd to none, first class, and I will be a future repeat customer in the New Year, and will definately be recommending you to all my friends. Great products and great service thank you once again.  

  Dino Anagnostakos
27th December, 2016

Rated: 5/5

  8 of 55

  Awesome customer service, thank you. I received the item in time to give at Christmas as a gift.  

  Jerry Grassetti
23rd December, 2016

Rated: 5/5

  9 of 55

  I thought long and hard about purchasing this axe vs the Small Forest or Scandinavian Forest. In the end I went for the Wilderness axe, not solely due to the reviews but due to the specifications. A weightier head than the small Forrest axe and a shorter profile than the Scandinavian Forrest axe. Based on the measurements and on comparison to previous axes I have owned, this axe seemed a to be a winner. I have used it for medium duration off track bush walking - 2 nights or longer - for basic shelter frames/camp construction but mainly firewood gathering and processing. I don't use it for fine carving but definitely for feather sticks to make kindling. I'll start with postage: to Brisbane Australia the axe arrived within a week, which is outstanding. First impressions: overall quality is also outstanding. Sharpness, fit of handle, grain orientation and density of handle are all better than any axe I have used or seen. I'm not sure whether the Woodlore folks get to hand pick the handles or whether I was just lucky but again, the physical qualities of the axe are close to perfect. Side by side against a friend's Scandinavian Forrest axe the poll is quite a lot more substantial and the head is a bit broader around the eye and cheek, it tapers a bit more steeply into a nice narrow bitey toe. I'm not sure whether this is a consistent difference but that was the only comparison I could make with another GB axe. I initially found the weight to be a little too much for comfortable single handed use but after a month of regular use, it feels like an extension of my body and it instils confidence. Two handed use is excellent. It has great balance and the bite is deep. For those who use axes regularly, it will feel balanced and very predictable. Also balances surprisingly well when choked for feathering or finer work - the heavier head seems to offset the longer handle. For my intended purposes, I couldn't be happier. For felling moderate dead standing timber, splitting firewood and general camp use it has served me better than any axe I have owned. If it's a basic camp axe you are after, perhaps the small Forresr axe would be better. For a survival or broad spectrum bushcraft axe, this is the winner. Overall one of the better online purchasing experiences I have ever had, my heartfelt thanks to Woodlore.  

  Daniel, Brisbane Australia
18th December, 2016

Rated: 5/5

  10 of 55

  There is little left to be said about the Ray Mears Wilderness Axe that has not already been heard. I purchased this axe with the intention of it being an heirloom to my children, and on to theirs. I have every confidence that it will stand that duty with honour.  

  James Singleton
8th December, 2016

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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