Thursday, December 30, 2010

Council Tool Jersey Classic Axe Review – Part 3 by bmatt, an American Bushcrafter in Finland

Today in the News:  We have passed 10,000 total hits since we started the blog in October.  Thanks to all that have stopped by and a special thanks to all that have clicked "follow" in the upper left hand corner.  Just to give you guys a sneak peek as to what is coming up, we have subjects like "The Simplest Bush Stove", "Solving the Mystery", "Charcloth, It Isn't a Fashion Statement" and "Peanut Can Stove to Peanut Stove Cooker".  I'll also be doing some gear reviews of things I got for Christmas.  If you would like to be a guest writer, have a link you would like to share, or want to yell at me like the crazy man in the grocery store (please write in all caps, as this will let me know you are yelling), please email me at .

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Council Tool Jersey Classic Axe Review – Part 3 - by bmatt, an American Bushcrafter in Finland

This weekend, I finally got a chance to get out into the woods with my new axe to do some field testing. The result: It well exceeded my expectations and is a long-term keeper.

A few days before I tested the Jersey Classic axe, I decided to paint the phantom bevels because I could not get the patina dark enough to match the rest of the bevels. I think it came out pretty good. I also weighed the axe, which came in right at 5 lbs.
I started my testing with bucking. The tree I chose was a spruce that blew down in a tornado a few years back and was well seasoned. It was also completely frozen! As you can see in one of the pictures, the temperature was about -17*C/1.5*F. The part of the tree I bucked measured 8" in diameter. I had bucked part of this tree previously, but when I got there this time, 8 – 10" of snow had to be cleared away first, as you can see. Let me stop for a second to say that this was the first time since probably my teenage years that I have swung a full-sized axe, so it took a bit of getting used to (I’m more used to a 3/4 axe). It took about 50 chops to get through the spruce. I know that’s more than it needed to be, and I ended up bucking another section of the log half-way through in 20 chops, so I’d put my current skill level with this axe at 20 chops on each side for this particular situation. For good measure, I bucked another piece almost completely through. This axe is really accurate! The slight head misalignment proved to be a non-issue.

 Next up was limbing. Most of the 1 – 2" limbs were sliced off in one swing. While cutting off the last limb, I heard a noise that made me cringe: "tink". It was the blade kissing a rock. Tsk-tsk-tsk. I thought there was only snow underneath the tree, but unfortunately this was not the case. To my absolute delight, the metal deformed instead of chipping…and at -17*C/1.5*F! This was impressive. I’m sure many axes would have chipped. When I got home later, I spent a minute or two with a file, and it’s good to go now. But I couldn’t fix it out in the woods, and since this was real-life testing, I pressed on anyway.

 I proceeded to split one of the bucked log sections next. This went really quickly, and I had six pieces of split wood from a total of 10 swings.

Finally, I decided to fell a small dead tree. The tree I picked was a 3.5" dead frozen pine. I didn’t go with a larger tree because I was running out of daylight, couldn’t find a larger dead tree and didn’t want to fell a larger live tree without the landowner’s permission. Suffice it to say, the axe made short work of the pine. 3 – 4 chops on each side and it was down.

This axe exceeded my expectations in several ways. The great tempering job shows me what went into making it. This means that I still now own an axe instead of an axe-like thing with a chunk taken out of the bit. It really impressed me how this axe is capable of splitting. It is light-years ahead of even a 3/4 axe. Also, I found that working with the axe wasn’t fatiguing, as I thought it might be. It cut cleanly and quickly and was easy to handle. It also held a good edge and could cut paper, albeit a bit roughly, when I got home. It’s great to know that you can still get a quality axe made in America today.

(Editor's Note:  MONEY SHOT!)

I decided to throw in some landscape pictures as well. Hope you like them.


Finland looks like my kind of place.  Thanks to bmatt for sharing this series with us!

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike, Oscar, Hotel.....out.


  1. You would'nt happen to need someone to look after that thing would you? I'd be more than willing to help! :D. Great work though, looks like you have a real winner there.

  2. Hey TWT, thanks for the offer, but I think I'll keep the axe in it's secret hiding place for now. Don't want it to wander off. ;) :D

    I'm really happy that this axe turned out to be a winner, and I'm very glad to support an American company in the process.

    I have some larger-scale projects in mind for 2011, so don't be surprised if you see this axe here again. :)


  3. Greetings from rain soaked Southern California.

    I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to :-)

    May God bless you and your family in 2011 ~Ron

    And always remember... Smiles don't have to be saved for a rainy day. It's good to waste them :-)