In this article I’m going to review the Hults Bruk Aneby medium-sized axe. With a handle that is 20 inches long and an axehead that is produced by world-famous Swedish axemaker Hults Bruk (also known as Hultafors in Europe), this high-end axe is probably one of the best for bushcrafting and other outdoors life.
The cutting ability of the steel and the balancing of the axehead and handle is amazing – it cuts much better and swings much easier than cheaper, mass-produced axes. You can feel it from the moment you pick it up. That makes working with it a joy – you won’t wear yourself out nearly as much and you’ll get more done in a much shorter time than with other, lower-quality axes. Read on for the full review!
Hults Bruk Aneby Axehead and Handle
These are the two most important parts of any axe, and here, as with the rest of their tools, Hults Bruk excel. With the axehead weighing 2 pounds, the whole axes comes in at just about 2.75 pounds. It has a 3-½” cutting edge, great for concentrated chopping. The axehead of the Aneby is made from Ovako C55 (analogous to 1055) steel mixed with silicon, manganese and vanadium.
All the Swedish axemakers, to my knowledge, use this high-quality steel from Ovako in Smedjebacken and Boxholm in Sweden. The steel has excellent temper and, being a high-carbon mix, takes an edge easily. The good thing is that because of the excellent forging technique it also holds an edge for a long time – you can use the axe many times without having to sharpen it at all, and it comes razor-sharp straight out of the box. There might be a burr or two that you can easily take off with a leather strop or sharpening stone. The edge has a mirror polish and the axehead a very fine finish. It fits perfectly onto the handle, with no movement or looseness whatsoever. What’s nice about the Aneby for hunters is that the poll of the axehead (the back) is rounded to help in skinning an animal that you’ve bagged, if you choose to use it that way.
There is the standard wooden wedge along with a round metal safety wedge that provides extra stability and secures the handle to the axehead by pushing the wood out towards the metal and making them fit together as snug as can be. The grain orientation of the American hickory handle is excellent – straight and with no knots or other points of weakness. The handle comes with a light oil finish, no varnish or other crap, and you can sand it off and treat it with whatever you like – whether it’s BLO (boiled linseed oil) or whatever other type of handle treatment you like.
The handle has a slight curve, which doesn’t detract from the handling at all in my opinion, and the base of the handle has an eye drilled through it so that you can hang it up or thread something through it.
Hults Bruk Aneby balance and handling
When you pick this axe up for the first time, you’ll understand why Hults Bruk has such a good reputation among axe enthusiasts and professionals alike. The axe is perfectly balanced, making it feel lighter than it is and easier to use and swing than other axes that are the same weight and size. And this is important if you’re going to be using the axe when out in the bush, in the dark, in bad weather or when you’re tired from a long day outdoors – a well-balanced axe makes bad swings less likely, it gives chops more bite and gives you more control over the tool in general.
The Aneby comes with a fine leather sheath, too.
The sheath the Aneby comes with is one of the great perks of an axe at this price range. It’s not flimsy synthetic material, nor is it a cheap mass-produced leather sheath from somewhere in China. No, the Hults Bruk sheath is made of thick, sturdy leather with metal rivets holding it firmly together. The quality of the sheath absolutely matches the build quality of the axe itself and the two fit together perfectly.
Final verdict on the Hults Bruk Aneby
The Aneby is, without a doubt, a legacy tool – the craftsmanship and quality of materials that go into this axe mean that, with just a little care, you’ll be able to hand this axe down to the next generations. It’ll serve you well until then, though, because it’s made out of high-carbon steel that will take and hold a mean edge. The two-pound axehead ensures that the Aneby will have enough heft to do a lot of the more common work in the bush – chopping down small trees, cutting off tree branches, splitting small logs and rounds of wood for firewood, shaping pieces of wood for things such as stakes, and so on. But it’s still light enough to be used with one hand, and the 20-inch handle is long enough to allow you to use it comfortably with both hands for extra power in your swing.
The leather sheath will help protect the axehead and edge from moisture and other threats and annoyances and will last you as long as the axe itself or longer. The only pain point of this axe is that it’s pricey – you can buy three Husqvarna axes for the price of the Aneby. But the construction and material quality of those axes will be lower. If you need a reliable tool that will excel at almost any task in the great outdoors, then then Hults Bruk Aneby is a serious contender for best medium size axe that you can get for the money.
Thanks for reading!