Author Topic: Wetterlings axe question  (Read 6125 times)

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Offline Moe M.

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Wetterlings axe question
« on: June 21, 2012, 07:25:59 AM »

  About a year ago while looking through my basement for an old Northlund hudsons bay axe head that got misplaced I found an old rusty and bunged up axe head that at first looked like an old Boy Scout hatchet,  because of the rust the mark on the axe looked like a Boy Scout insignia.
  I didn't find the Northlund, so I decided to clean up the BSA head and put a new handle on it,  after cleaning up the bunged up pall and reviving the cutting edge I worked the rust off the whole head,  I found that it was actually in great shape,  a closer inspection of the mark on the blade showed that it was actually a Wetterlings makers mark with the SAW enclosed in a border, the A being slightly higher than the other two letters in the standard Wetterlings form.
  Also under the makers mark is stamped Sweden and below that is stamped drop forged,  judging from how long the axe has been laying hidden on the shelf I'd have to say it's at least thirty five years old, and likely belonged to my father.
 My question is about the shape of the head,  the head measures 2-5/16" across the hammer end,  5-1/2" from the hammer end to the cutting edge, and the cutting edge measures 3-3/8",  as for weight, I'm thinking it's a bit heavy for the 14-1/2" handle I put on it,  I'd say closer to 1-3/4 lbs.
 All Wetterlings axes that I've seen have the V shaped hump where the handle slips into the head,  this one has not,  it's made in the shape of most comtemporary axes that one finds in a hardware store today,  with the outside edges being about the same shape save for a little more curve to the bottom edge where the handle enters the head.
 Have any of you axe guys run into an old Wetterlings made without their signature hump at the handle end ?

 As an aside,  after installing the new handle and hefting it,  I think I'd have been better off putting a longer 20" or even 26" handle on it,  which I may still do.
 I have a Collins hatchet with a 1-1/4 lb. head and 14" handle and find a considerable difference in the weight between the two,  with the Wetterlings being heavier though not much bigger in size.

  Sorry about no pictures, but I'm not able at this time.
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Offline OutdoorEnvy

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Re: Wetterlings axe question
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2012, 07:37:41 AM »
I've seen some with that headshape.  Wetterlings, Gransfors Bruks, and Hultafors used to make them like that until Gransfors changed their design and then Wetterlings and hults Bruk copied them.  Wetterlings still makes a boy scout hatchet that is more the American traditional boy scout hatchet design.  I'm dying to find a Granfors Bruks in a tradtional boys axe pattern.  They're out there just rare.  But it would be sweet to find. 

That's an awesome score though on the hatchet.  Plus it has family history too.  That's one cool too my friend.   

Also if you go to ebay and just search for "Sweden hatchet"  or "Sweden axe"  you'll find lots of old ones my the big name swedish makers.
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Wetterlings axe question
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2012, 08:16:45 AM »
I've seen some with that headshape.  Wetterlings, Gransfors Bruks, and Hultafors used to make them like that until Gransfors changed their design and then Wetterlings and hults Bruk copied them.  Wetterlings still makes a boy scout hatchet that is more the American traditional boy scout hatchet design.  I'm dying to find a Granfors Bruks in a tradtional boys axe pattern.  They're out there just rare.  But it would be sweet to find. 

That's an awesome score though on the hatchet.  Plus it has family history too.  That's one cool too my friend.   

Also if you go to ebay and just search for "Sweden hatchet"  or "Sweden axe"  you'll find lots of old ones my the big name swedish makers.

  Thanks for the reply,  While I was sure it had to be a Wetterlings,  The question of whether it might be a lower end model did come to mind,  I should take the time to write to Wetterlings/GB and ask them if they have any idea about it's age,  or when the transition in shape took place.
  Also,  I'm seriously considering cutting off the new handle I put on it last year and getting a new Wetterlings 20" or boy's axe handle to replace it, Woods Trekker might have one around,  or I guess I could order one right from Wetterlings.
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Offline OutdoorEnvy

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Re: Wetterlings axe question
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2012, 08:31:21 AM »
I think those swedish company's started doing the designs we see today in the early 90's. 

Yeah if you take the handle off you could weigh the head and then know the exact size handle you want to get.  I know Wetterlings had a 2lb. head in that shape and the measurements seem awfully close to yours.  A 22 or 24" handle might be perfect for that size.     
Proverbs 27:17    "As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend"
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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Wetterlings axe question
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2012, 08:50:58 AM »
I think those swedish company's started doing the designs we see today in the early 90's. 

Yeah if you take the handle off you could weigh the head and then know the exact size handle you want to get.  I know Wetterlings had a 2lb. head in that shape and the measurements seem awfully close to yours.  A 22 or 24" handle might be perfect for that size.   

  I agree with you,  I should have weighed the head before I ever started to restore it,  but like a lot of things in my life I often get into a rush and get ahead of myself,  though I don't think it's a two pounder,  I think it's more a 1-3/4 lb. head, but that's still too heavy for a 14" hatchet.
 I've just PM'ed Wood Trekker to see if he has any handles left in the 20" ~ 26" range.

  Thanks again.
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Offline Dano

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Re: Wetterlings axe question
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2012, 08:54:54 AM »
I had an old Scout Manual (lost it years ago during a move) but I believe it recommended roughly 1 pound of head weight to 1 foot of handle length as a rough beginning.  A lot of it becomes personal preference, experience and individual height/weight/strength to fine tune from there.

As you already know, if the handle is too long OR short you can't develop the power for the head to cut right.

I wish I still had that manual every time I see a thread like this because it broke the head weights down in pounds/ounces and handle lengths to feet/inches.  If not in a manual, it was at least in Scout publication.  I can't find it online, but have talked to other older folks in Scouting and a few have remembered reading it too.

Offline Jeffzx9

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Re: Wetterlings axe question
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2012, 09:18:58 AM »

 
 Have any of you axe guys run into an old Wetterlings made without their signature hump at the handle end ?


Wow, that sounds like a very pleasant surprise find!  FWIW, I like to refer to the old Kelly catalog for pattern terminology.  I think the basic pattern for most Wetterlings (except for their splitters and carpenter models) is a "Rockaway."  I'm guessing the different patterns probably have variations by manufacturers over the years.  Don't worry; there won't be a quiz....  :)

Post up a pic when you get 'er the way you like it.
Stay tuned.....

Offline Wood Trekker

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Re: Wetterlings axe question
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2012, 10:00:29 AM »
Like others have said, in the early 1990s GB started making the pattern that we see today from all the Swedish manufacturers. Hultafors/Hults Bruk and Wetterlings followed soon.

Wetterlings actually sold the old patterns until very recently. They had them on their website till about a year or so ago.

Hultafors still makes axes in that pattern, their Agdor line.

From what I understand, they are made in the exact same way as the new pattern axes, except that the old ones had their sides ground and painted. Both the old and new designs are made on the same production line with the same tools. The whole "handmade" thing is a marketing tool. Both the old and new axes are made on an open die drop forge.

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Offline Moe M.

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Re: Wetterlings axe question
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2012, 11:25:26 AM »
Like others have said, in the early 1990s GB started making the pattern that we see today from all the Swedish manufacturers. Hultafors/Hults Bruk and Wetterlings followed soon.

Wetterlings actually sold the old patterns until very recently. They had them on their website till about a year or so ago.

Hultafors still makes axes in that pattern, their Agdor line.

From what I understand, they are made in the exact same way as the new pattern axes, except that the old ones had their sides ground and painted. Both the old and new designs are made on the same production line with the same tools. The whole "handmade" thing is a marketing tool. Both the old and new axes are made on an open die drop forge.

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  Thanks Wood,  that's the other thing that had me scratching my head about this axe,  I'd always been told that SAW and GB's were all hand forged,  leading one to assume that they were hammered out by smiths on an anvil by hand,  so when I read drop forged it kind of threw me a curve.

  As for it's age,  I can only guess by how long it's been sitting there,  I've owned the house for the last 28 years,  my dad built in in the mid '60's and he was a pack rat, and there are still a few boxes of old tools down there that I haven't explored yet.
  This hatchet had a handle on it that was about 15"' long and was dry rotted and split,  and the head had signs of paint on it.
In youth we learn,   with age we understand.