Fiskars X11 – In Depth Review
Fiskars is a brand that people associate with a level of quality that other mass-production toolmakers can’t seem to reach. From knives to axes, this Finnish company produces tools that are affordable and effective, tough workhorses. This is a review of the Fiskars X11 splitting axe. It’s a handy little splitting axe best suited to splitting small logs and secondary tasks, such as clearing branches, or working in tight conditions. Read on to find out the details!
The Fiskars X11 17-Inch Splitting Axe
The Fiskars X11 is able to split small logs with ease, even if you’re using just one hand. The handle is big enough to grip it comfortably with both hands, though, and give some force to your swing. It promises maximum performance with its innovative blade geometry and weight distribution. It has a couple of other features as well, like a low-friction coating that helps the axe bit power through the wood without getting stuck in it.
The X11 is a good solution to those looking for a secondary axe to perform several quick jobs. It’s suitable in making tinder and splitting small to medium-sized logs. With each swing, you can get more than one-strike splits with less effort.
Features and Benefits
- Protective Sheath
The sheath that comes with the X11 is made of a nice, hard plastic protective case. It’s also bright orange, so it’s easy to spot if you happen to misplace it somewhere at home – or worse, in the bush! I’ve had that happen with axes in earthy colors more times than I’d care to admit…
- Axehead Design
The performance of an axe largely depends on the material and design of the axehead and blade. The head of the X11 is made of hardened forged steel. The edge is designed with an improved bevel convex geometry making it simpler to remove the blade from the wood. The axehead is also coated in a low-friction coating to prevent the axe head from getting stuck in the wood.
- Almost Indestructible
Fiskars X11 features a FiberComp (an advanced fiberglass composite) handle which absorbs the shock from splitting wood very well. The handle is lightweight so it eases out the strain from your arm when in use. Fiskars claims that ounce for ounce, FiberComp is stronger than steel. I don’t know about that, but it certainly feels very durable. I made a few intentional overstrikes on purpose, giving the log a good whack with the handle each time, and there was barely a mark on it, and no sign of damage.
The axe head is fused into the handle, which means it won’t come loose and fly off. I appreciate this and know that many other axe users do, too.
- Non-Slip Grip Handle
The handle of the Fiskars X11 includes a textured non-slip grip at the base of the handle. This prevents the axe from slipping out of your hands when in use. It reduces the micro-strains on your hand muscles when gripping the axe handle for long periods of time. Personally, I could take it or leave it, but I suppose it’s good to have, especially if you’re working in the rain or in an otherwise wet environment.
- Length: 17 Inches, Weight: 2.2 lbs
Just 17 inches long, the X11 is convenient to bring on camping or backpacking trips. And at 2.2 lbs, you can use the axe with one hand without any trouble. It’s heftier than a small hatchet and provides more striking power, too, so it’s great if you plan on doing a fair amount of work or if you’re going to be chopping or splitting something more substantial than small pieces of wood. Trail-clearing, felling small trees, splitting wood for kindling – this axe will do it all, which makes it a good all-around choice, in my opinion.
- Good Balance And Power-To-Weight Ratio
The X11 has its heavier axe head mounted on a lightweight handle. The design of the weight distribution gives you a good swing speed and balance with it. Fiskars are big on ergonomic and effective designs – they aim to provide as much power for as little weight and effort as possible.
- Lifetime Warranty
Fiskars is so confident with the quality of the X11 that it offers a lifetime warranty coverage. If you find any defects on the product after purchase, you can get it replaced. Contact them or fill out the online warranty web page, and they’ll send you a new axe after reviewing your claim.
In case the Fiskars X11 doesn’t catch your fancy, here are a few interesting alternatives, both larger and smaller.
- Council Tool 2lb Hudson Bay Axe with 18 inch Handle and Sheath
Council Tool is a renowned name in American axe-making tradition (and it’s still made in the USA!). What I like about this axe is its fine hickory handle and slightly longer bit when compared to the X11. It is just an inch longer than the Fiskars and has great construction. This includes both a wooden wedge as well as a round metal wedge in the eye of the axe to keep the axehead on as tight and snug as possible. To top it off, this made-in-the-US tool is only slightly more expensive than the Fiskars X11. Check it out!
- Gransfors Bruks Small Splitting Axe
The Gransfors Bruks small splitting axe is a step up in quality and workmanship. It features a 3-lb axe head and a 23-inch wooden handle. Below its head, you’ll find a steel collar to offer protection against overstrikes.
This axe costs more than others but it goes through wood like a hot knife through butter. Clean, beautiful chops. It comes with a handbook to teach you the different methods of splitting, stacking, and proper axe care. It works two-handed but you can work it one-handed if you like. Truly a great all-around small axe.
- Hults Bruk Gran Splitting Axe
The Hults Bruk Gran splitting axe is another great alternative for its size and durability. It weighs 3.2 lbs, and comes with a leather protective sheath that’s adorned with some nice Swedish decorative elements. Hults Bruk is rightly famous for the quality of its axes, with over 300 years of unbroken experience in forging them. A work of art as much as it is a tool, much like their closest rivals, Gransfors Bruks.
The Fiskars X11 is a good lower-budget axe – a real workhorse. The axehead’s profile is a bit wider than some might like, but since it is designed as a splitting axe, that isn’t a big problem – you can chop just fine with it, too. The handle is tough, durable fiberglass – very hard to break. You don’t need to worry about the axehead coming off and dropping on your head as you’re about to execute a mighty swing. All in all this is a great axe for splitting smaller rounds of wood and lopping limbs off of trees. It’s on the small side, so if you’re planning on splitting some monster logs or 20-inch rounds, you should look into something heftier. But for lighter work and smaller wood, I think you’ll be very pleased with the amount of oomph it has for the money! Check it out here on Amazon!