Ochsenkopf Broad Hatchet ( Ox Head )
Bit Profile: Single Bevel Right Side
Weight: 35.2 oz. ( 998 grams)
Blade length: 5.5″ (139.7 mm)
Length: 15.75″ (400 mm)
Price: $100 USD (2013)
Back in 2013, after years of making do without a hewing axe, I decided to try this model from Ox Head. There are basically two options on the market, the inexpensive Kent pattern, or the European styles such as those offered by Gransfors Bruk, Biber, and a few others that are very high-priced.
After a little search today, it looks like the right hand version of this axe may no longer be sold in the US. You might be able to special order it or get it from Europe.
The build quality of this axe is pretty nice. The fit and finish is as good as any other high-end axe on the market. The head itself is well finished and the surfaces are all smooth. The handle is attached with one longitudinal wooden wedge and two round steel wedges.
The head is mounted straight but the handle is offset as you would expect from a hewing axe. It is not as dramatic as some of the old ones around, but sufficient for keeping your hand out of the way of the the wood you are hewing. This is something Gransfors has not done on one of their broad axes I have seen.
The axe came with a painted head and handle with a light coat of varnish over the entire axe. It also has a nail claw for pulling nails, that seems out of place. This tool is designed for hewing wood not driving and pulling nails, so the addition of the claw for me is unnecessary, which meant it needed to go.
The first order of business was to cut off the nail claw on my metal-cutting bandsaw. I was not sure how the claw would cut since it should have been hardened, but it cut without any trouble.
After the Ox had been de-clawed, I trued up the pole of the axe. One side was a little higher than the other and need to be flattened to square it up.
I didn’t take any pictures of reworking the handle, but you can get the idea from the comparison picture below. I thinned it down quite a bit and gave it my standard finish with homemade walnut stain and BLO(boiled linseed oil).
With these modifications this is a pretty sweet axe for hewing. It is simple to put a razors edge on it and it stays sharp even with a lot of use meaning this axe is made with quality steel and has been properly heat-treated. The axe is very controllable and removes wood with ease.
I feel comfortable giving my recommendation for this axe if someone needs a quality hewing axe at a reasonable price. As always, I welcome your comments and questions.