Pierre asked What is the best fixed blade and or best folding pocket knife for around $100? Just got into looking into different steels for knives and noticed the hudge difference in them.
Hardcore Hardware Australia’s LFT01 Tomahawk is now available in a striking, all desert brown color scheme. Nothing about Gransfors Bruks is inexpensive and that includes the various aftermarket items that you might want to go with your axe. The lack of quality options leaves the savy axe user to seek out and rehabilitate old US made axes.
LeValley Outdoors offers a staggering variety of axes that have been cleaned, inspected, re-profiled, sharpened, and properly hung on a new handle that is hand finished with linseed oil and beeswax.
The axes range quite a bit in price based on their condition and desirability but all them come ready to work with a fresh edge and handle.
If you are in the market for an axe that is actually worth a darn, check out LeValley Outdoors. Some people are surprised to find that there are still people forging fine axes, one at a time, the old fashioned way, right here in the USA. They offer two unique services, one free and one premium, that solve a lot of the problems associated with buying knife, machetes, and axes online. What if you wanted an Estwing Tomahawk but you knew from your research that the bit is sharpened at an angle that is more appropriate for an entry tool than a survival tool meant to work wood.
Now let’s say you want a Tramontina machete which are known for being a great value as a survival tool but also known for needing a fair amount of work before they are truly ready to use.
Thankfully, there are still plenty of high quality vintage axe heads left from a time when America knew how to make them and there are still people who appreciate them. He would like to expand his operation so he has started a crowd funding campaign with a pretty modest goal of just $1700. Helm Enterprises is turning out some incredible custom tomahawks at prices that are very competitive.
Helm Enterprises offers two different spiked tomahawk configurations – one with a pry spike and one with a combat spike. There are two features of Helm Enterprises tomahawks that I really appreciate and both have to the do with the handle slabs. Welcome to Japan’s Aokigahara Forest, a charming 14 square mile stretch at the northwest base of scenic Mt.
No one really knows for sure why this beautiful tract of land attracts so many wishing to end their existence.
Despite the uncertain reasoning, there’s no doubt that the woods have become over the decades (centuries?) THE place to go in Japan to end it all.


The Suicide Prevention Association has filled the area with signs that say things like, “Your life is a precious gift from your parents.
The ‘Element’ is designed as a high quality, lightweight but fully equipped foldable survival knife.
Most of the axe masks that you find are very well crafted and beautiful to look at but very expensive.
A typical hardware store axe has a poor quality metal head that is sand cast into a single, inefficient shape with a poor heat treat and a handle that promotes blisters rather than preventing them. However, not everyone has the time, know-how, desire, or work bench space to rehab their own axes. They have hatchets with several lengths of handles, boy’s axes, full size single bit axes, cruiser size double bits, full size double bits, and other useful patterns like Pulaskis and broad axes.
Vintage unmarked axes are often the best deals on the market because they were usually made by a manufacturer that you would recognize but came with a paper label that has worn off or were made without a mark to be sold in a large department store. It has a bit shape that is very reminiscent of a carpenters axe with its more straight cutting edge and undercut bit for fine work.
The first is the 7 point hand inspection that everything they sell goes through before they put into stock. The service is available on most items that they sell and each Special Grade is unique to the item, designed to improve it in some key area.
The $4 Special Grade option will see that the scales are ground flush with the tang, the edge is convexed, the point is ground sharp, and the spine is squared for use as a striker.
I can’t tell you how glad I am to come across a retailer like this especially for axe buying.
I can tell you exactly what you will find – axes made with poor quality steel that is too soft to hold a proper edge, too thick through the cheeks to ever cut well, lacking a finished edge, on a handle that is either soul-less fiberglass or bottom of the barrel hickory with terrible grain structure. Most importantly, there are still people who know how to sharpen and hang them (to hang an axe is to fit a new handle), restoring them to usefulness.
There are some VERY nice benefits available to backers including lifetime sharpening and hanging of any wood handled tool (very valuable), a restored axe along with lifetime sharpening and hanging, a day of forestry training from Jeremy, and more.
They offer tomahawks in a variety of lengths and configurations but one that caught my eye recently is called the War Chief. An average of 100 bodies a year are found in the woods, along with all sorts of odd things left behind by those who have ventured there with harikari intentions, although most of the deaths discovered are caused by hanging or drug overdose. A very solid knife including a G-10 handle and cut from a very high quality steel, making the knife extremely strong and virtually impervious to the elements. I bought the bear grylls ultimate knife, its a great knife minus the steel… Very soft and loses sharpness fast… What would be a comparable knife outside of gerber with a greater steel?
There really isn’t much that these axes get right which leads many people to look overseas for their axes.


Thankfully there are people like Jon LeValley of LeValley Outdoors who are doing their best to restore these old, used axes to usefulness. They have axes from many of the great American makers like Collins, Kelly, Plumb, True Temper, Norlund, and more along with some very nice European makers.
It is possible to purchase a top quality tool for half of what you might pay for a new European import. That $4 corrects every short coming with the Tramontina machetes and adds some additional functionality. Now if I could just convince them to pick up some additional axe lines and start offering a Kydex sheath making service at the point of purchase, I might never shop any where else! They have a full line of knives, sharpening and maintenance products, the manliest hand made soaps you have ever seen (I’m not kidding), and more. It is available in a variety of lengths but the 12″ version that they recently shared on their site looks extremely practical. The quiet forest is filled with gorgeous trees and several icy caverns which are quite a tourist attraction. In a documentary about the forest that follows a local geologist, Azusa Hayano, who works regularly in the forest, he finds a doll nailed to a tree, suicide notes written on wooden boards, and a number of dead bodies in various states of decay. Manufacturers like Wetterlings and Gransfors Bruks make wonderful tools but they are often expensive, they may not be well suited to American hard woods, and their available patterns are somewhat limited.
They have already checked that their axes are hung straight, have proper grain alignment, etc.
His restored axes come ready to work and they often sell at prices similar to what you might pay for a hardware store axe. It is believed that Ubasute was performed there in the 19th century, the act of bringing the infirm and elderly to a remote location to die, but this may be apocryphal.
They offer an axe mask for the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe that is molded from kydex and costs only $15. These axes have already served as tools to a previous generation and with a little care they can serve the next generation. Regardless, many still believe it is haunted by the angry spirits of those who were allegedly left there. This perk is a tremendous value for a vintage axe that will be of better quality than anything you can buy at a big box hardware store right now. If an item has flaws that could present a functional issue, they are returned and never even make it into stock.



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