Tackling Carpentry with the Husqvarna Carpenter’s Axe

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Written By Michael Culligan

With over 12 years of experience in Oregon's forestry industry, I have established myself as a skilled and knowledgeable lumber professional. As a passionate competitor in local timbersports events, I have consistently ranked among the top lumberjacks in my area. I take great pride in meticulously maintaining an extensive collection of restored vintage axes. I personally test every axe I review by using it to fell and chop up oak firewood on my land.

REVIEWED BY SPencer Durrant
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The 19-inch Husqvarna Carpenter’s axe is a popular axe among outdoorsmen and carpenters alike. Made in Sweden by the same company that makes the highly-regarded Hults Bruk axes, Husqvarna’s axes are also high-quality axes at around half the price or less than Hults Bruk axes go for. Is this axe any good though? Read this Husqvarna Carpenter’s axe review to find out!

If you don’t have time, then the short answer is yes, this axe is great value for the money. Made in a forge that has hundreds of years of experience producing axes, with excellent materials (forged Swedish steel and straight-grained American hickory handles) backing up a classic, tried-and-tested woodworker’s axe design, the Husqvarna Carpenter’s axe will serve you well for a long time. Chopping wood and doing rough carpentry (such as hewing logs, shaping stakes, carving spoons or bowls, and more) is a breeze with this tool.

Husqvarna Wooden Carpenter's Axe
  • 20-inch American Hickory Handle
  • 2.2-Pound Steel Axehead
  • Made in Sweden
  • Ideal for Woodworking

Husqvarna Carpenter’s axe review

  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Handle length: 19 inches
  • Axe head material: Swedish steel
  • Handle material: American hickory

Axe head

Needless to say, the axe head is the main component of Husqvarna Carpenter’s Axe. And it’s a great axe head, especially for the price.

In terms of materials, the axe head of Husqvarna’s axe is made from Swedish steel. This kind of steel is common in axes from Scandinavia and Sweden specifically. Unfortunately, Husqvarna doesn’t provide us with any info on what kind of steel that exactly is. This is the case with other manufacturers as well. But we do know that Husqvarna axes are produced by Hultafors group, the same company that owns and makes Hults Bruk axes and their European versions (Hultafors axes).

The bit profile in this axe is narrow, as it is for any good carpenter’s axe which is meant for relatively fine work such as hewing logs and other precise tasks. This is actually a good thing because it allows the Carpenter’s axe to be an good overall woodcutting instrument – it’s got a sharp bite, so you can chop small trees down and limb them quickly. At the same time, the bit is narrow enough to allow you to cut and do some detailing work, which justifies the name of this axe.

The cutting edge in this axe is pretty standard. It has a slightly curved edge shape, which does two things: provides more cutting length and improves cutting penetration because contact with the wood is going to be made in a small area.

Of course, there is a certain limit to what this axe’s head can allow you. The Carpenter’s Axe is a pretty lightweight axe, so it will be able to deal with no more than small tree felling. On the other hand, jobs like splitting kindling, shaping stakes, roughing out spoons or bowls, as well as hewing should be a piece of cake for it.

What should also be noted is that Husqvarna ships this axe with a leather edge cover. The cover is made nice and thick, and it fits the axe head perfectly. For the mid-range price of this axe, it’s really nice to have such a quality sheath.

Husqvarna Carpenter's axe

Axe handle

Next comes the handle of the Carpenter’s Axe. In terms of comfort, we can definitely say that the handle of this axe is great.

It has a curved shape to it, first off, which makes gripping it easier. Secondly, it has a rather pronounced shoulder below the axe head, which provides you with a holding point when operating the axe with a single hand.

Those who are used to gripping the axe by the axe head may or may not find the shoulder weird. But we think that this axe really benefits from the shoulder, given that its buyers are most likely going to use it with one hand. After all, this is a light axe, and for doing carpentry jobs, you’d need to hold it with one hand to achieve accuracy.

The end knob seems rather meaty as well. It makes for a good gripping point whether holding this axe with one or both hands. In addition, the end knob has a hole in it, through which you could thread a strap.

The handle of this axe is 19 inches long.

The handle is easy to hold with one hand, which is the thing you’d want when doing rough or fine work in carpentry jobs.

On the other hand, the shorter handle decreases the leverage of the axe and thus the force you can deliver. This is something that limits this axe’s use to lighter jobs. I don’t know about you, but I don’t do much, if any, serious felling when out in the bush or on a trail. For a backpacking axe low weight (the Husqvarna weighs 2.2 pounds) is a benefit, not a drawback. It still has more than enough heft and handle length to get some serious swings in, more than with smaller (12-16 inch) axes and hatchets.

The handle, as with all good classic wooden axes, is made from American hickory. Looking at the grain, it is nice and straight and has more than enough density to perform the tasks that this axe is designed for and well-suited to.

This means that the handle is strong enough to take the impact when striking a tree or a log. Handles with badly-oriented grains (i.e. perpendicular grains) are weaker and have a higher risk of cracking or breaking entirely when cutting wood. A straight grain means less damage from overstrikes, too (that’s when you miss with the edge entirely and strike the handle on the wood.)

And what also surprised us is that the handle doesn’t have any varnish on it. A number of axe-makers put varnish on at this price point. If you didn’t know, varnish makes the handle slippery. When using the axe in gloves or with wet hands, for example, it’s more likely that the axe will slip out of your grip and either mess up your swing or, worse, go flying in some direction. Instead of a varnish, the handle has been treated with some kind of oil, which is how wood handles should be treated. If you don’t like it, though, it’s easy enough to sand it down and either use it naked or replace with your own coating.

Overall performance

What can we say about the performance of Husqvarna Carpenter Axe? Well, it can perform the jobs it is designed for out of the box since it comes already sharpened. Smaller trees are no match for this axe, not to mention that it’s going to perform general carpentry jobs excellently.

In fact, this axe stays relatively sharp for a while. The Swedish steel is capable of keeping the cutting edge in a good shape after days of cutting. But, needless to say, it isn’t going to stay sharp forever, so you need to sharpen it from time to time with a sharpener.

Conclusion – a great all-round woodworking and bushcrafting tool

For the price, the Carpenter’s axe from Husqvarna has a sturdy build, as well as an axe head that cuts great, stays sharp, and is forged from high-quality Swedish steel. This might be why so many seasoned outdoorsmen, woodworkers, and homesteaders have such a high opinion of it. Here’s one review by a regular axe user and woodworker: