Hans Karlsson Klensmide AB
Snickaryxa Axe (Sloyd or Carpenters Axe)
Weight: 24.5 oz (695 grams)
Blade length: 4″ (100mm)
Overall length: 14″ (356mm)
Price: $172.50 USD (Dec. 2012)
If there is one word to explain this axe, one word that I rarely use for a tool, it would be outstanding. Now I know this may not seem ground breaking to you, but to me that really means a lot. You see, I am very picky about the quality of bought items, and tools are one thing that I really demand perfection from when it comes to quality, ergonomics, and lack of flaws.
Now, if I were to use more than one word to express myself, what would I say? Well, here are a few that should give you some idea of how I feel: outstanding, sharp, superb, well designed, high quality, beautiful fit & finish, enjoyable, accurate, ergonomic, and comfortable. This is a great tool. Seriously, I mean it. Am I done ranting, you ask? No, not yet!!!!
Out of the box this thing is sharp. Very sharp as a matter of fact. A little test on my arm and it shaves as good as a store bought razor. The blade is flat ground which makes sharpening to this degree easy. This is not something you see very often and it means that this axe cuts very well and with minimum effort. Normally, axes have a convex grind which is fine for felling but not great for a carving axe. This is especially true when used with seasoned wood. Kudos here to Hans.
The shape of the axe head is superb as well. It is pleasing to the eye and the curve of the cutting edge is just right for accurate placement of your hits when chopping. This axe just seems to hit right where I aim without any adjustments to my swing. In a way it seems to be an extension of my arm and works effortlessly. The cutout on the bottom allows you to easily choke up on the handle for more delicate chopping. The axe head is small enough to allow you to grip over the eye of the axe and use it for shaving. This axe is very well thought out and designed.
The handle is nicely shaped and left with radial rings from the shaping process which gives it a good feel when chopping. It also provides a little bit of traction to increase grip and keep it from slipping out of your hand in hot humid conditions. There is also a little antlered creature branded into the handle toward the knob. This is a neat little feature that is obviously non-functional, but shows that the maker cares about his tools and has pride in his work.
Preliminary tests of this axe included carving a seasoned spoon blank and shaping some green walnut. In both cases the axe cut very well and did not require any sharpening. It held an edge well and did sharpen easily at the end of the cutting session. Note that the edge was still sharp when I touched it up, I just lightly hit it with a fine diamond stone to see how it would sharpen.
Overall, I am very impressed with this axe. It has just the right combination of size, weight, and proper design, which makes it a great carving tool. The weight is light enough to be used for extended sessions without wearing you out, and it is light enough to do precision work. Compared to the Gransfors Bruks Swedish Carving axe, the Hans Karlsson axe is lighter and easier to cut more accurately with. Later I will do a side by side review, but at this point I am giving the nod to the Hans Karlsson Sloyd Axe.
Take care and ask any questions you might have. I will be happy to give you and honest opinion.