Channel Your Inner Lumberjack
It’s often said that firewood warms you twice – first, when you split it and again when you burn it. Most men have forgotten about the first part. We blame it on too much shrink-wrapped firewood at the gas station and all the sterile gas fireplaces these days. If, like us, you still like to get your hands dirty, the Gränsfors Bruks Large Splitting Axe is the tool for you
Gränsfors Bruks is a small company in Hälsingland, Sweden that’s been forging axes, mauls, and hatchets for over a century. They forge every tool by hand and engrave the maker’s initials onto the axe. Mine has a small “RA” stamped near the business end. That’s for Rune Andersson, professional blacksmith. When was the last time you had such a direct connection with the person who built one of your tools?
The axe is an elegant brute to behold. It has a 27-inch hickory handle with circular grooves at the end for extra grip and a three and a half pound steel head that sleeps inside a grain-leather sheath when not at work. While Gränsfors Bruks makes a smaller version, this beast is designed for splitting wood rounds, those cross-sections of trees left behind after a tree is felled. The concave end of the wedge can power through rounds as wide as two feet diameter with one well-placed blow.
Wielding the splitting axe takes practice and some care, especially if you intend to keep both your feet. However, once you refine your technique, you’ll be demolishing rounds like a seasoned lumberjack. There’s something about splitting wood that taps into the primal core of a man. Maybe it’s our fire-building instinct; maybe it’s the anachronistic beauty of simple, hard work done with a hand-forged tool. Whatever it is, don’t be surprised if your beard grows a little faster and you start wearing more checked flannel, should you choose to hoist this beast.
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