Stihl is widely known for its chainsaws and forestry tools. However, their axes tend to be lesser known. They tend to be more of a mid range tool. Both in terms of quality and price. The downside is that most dealers don’t carry their axes at all but can get them in if asked.
In this review, I will cover the Stihl Forestry Hatchet and compare it to the similarly sized Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe.
Like any budget friendly axes the Stihl Forestry Hatchet does not come with a sheath. It’s done in order to keep the price down and value up. A sheath can always be bought or made to suit the purpose.
The handle is a full 15.5″ which gives the light 600g head a lot more leverage and power than a small hatchet. However, it’s still short enough to not be awkward when used for detail work.
The head of this model is 600g and made in Italy. Probably by Rinaldi.
The Bit Profile
As seen above, the Stihl Forestry Hatchet has a very slim bit. Similar to the Gransfors Small Forest Axe but slightly thicker near the eye. It also has considerably more blade space which lends itself well to carving and bushcraft tasks.
When tested with a file I found the bit to be moderately hard. Similar to the hardness of classic American and French axes. But not as soft as modern Council Tool bits.
I hate to say it but the handle is what you’d expect for the price. Compared to the Gransfors you can see how thick it is. You can also see the large amount of run out that ends directly in the middle of the handle. Keep in mind it is a short handle so it’s not overly critical but it does serve to illustrate the quality of hickory being used. The only saving grace is the grain orientation which is decent.
Finally, we get to the palm swell. Here I’ll give them some bonus points. The palm swell is functional but blocky.
We all know that you “get what you pay for.” I was honestly a little disappointed that the head came loose after only half a dozen swings. You can see above the gap from the poorly press fit head. To add to my frustration they use those infamous barrel wedges. So getting the head off was a pain, to say the least. But I digress.
For $39 CAD it has potential. Think of it more as a kit axe. Something you’ll have to slim down, rehang and sharpen. But in the end, you’ll have good steel and a hatchet you can use hard without worrying.