is this $39 Bahco axe cast iron or counterfeit?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Squidly-Diddly, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 1,717
    Likes: 120, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 304
    Location: SF bay

    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Or both?

    Bought online from respectable UK based retailer of good quality tools.

    Sure doesn't say "Made in Sweden" anywhere on the axe or in the ad.

    Is it cast iron and is that now good for axes???

    Kinda looks cast with porous surface and flash as shown in pic....48

    Cutting edge also noticeably lop sided as shown in pic, one side is more than twice the other at the edge .....59

    Does pic.....40 show two mold inlet circles on the top of the axe head?

    What gives?


    I've seen some pretty good looking counterfeit Channel Locks, Vise Grips etc at Flea Markets. But this axe just looks "funny".http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bahco-HFGPS-0-7-400FG-Fibreglass-Hatchet-/300767501262

    Also seems very unbalanced. I'm a hammer swinging carpenter, not a axe-man, so either I know what a balanced club is, or I don't know squat and axes are a whole new ball game. But other axes in stores seem much more balanced and natural. This one seems very head heavy and I'm thinking of putting a 36" sledge handle (1.5" oval) on it and cutting it down to about 22".

    Reason I got it was for general bush-craft and wanted a fiberglass handle for wet conditions (maybe some Huck Finn rafts, etc) and hammer head. Now I'm thinking of getting a 1lb regular hatchet instead.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 477, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    That's cast alright, but all of it's issues can be sorted out with a grinder and a stone. The edge was likely done very quickly and they don't care how neat or straight it might be. It just needs to be well ground and sharpened. As for balance, you can add or subtract weight as needed. If you need weight, drill a hole and fill it with lead, until the balance seems right. The best heads will be forged, not cast.
     
  3. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 1,717
    Likes: 120, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 304
    Location: SF bay

    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Thx, I was thinking of cutting a few big holes in the blade to lighten the head, bearing in mind it will weaken things.

    Some are saying a good cast head CAN be good and that its easy to control the hardness etc.

    Some youtube review of a diff model of Bahco axe said it was the worst temper he'd ever seen. :(

    I gotta start doing more research and less Drunk Shopping online.

    Maybe this cast axe is good for something, and I just gotta figure out WTF they designed it to be good for. Bought it because I like the way it looked, online, without knowing anything about axes. Also seen guys using Tactical Tomhawks to grapple rock holds and wanted that blade shape BUT a hammer instead of a spike on other side.

    Now I'm being told welding a hammer end on a TT should be easy. The "California Framer" style hammers were originally hammer-axes with blade cut off and claws welded on by amateurs.
     
  4. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
    Posts: 1,270
    Likes: 25, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 271
    Location: Hampshire UK

    SukiSolo Senior Member

    The best axe heads are forged so that may well be a 'fake'...;)

    For serious work, firewood splitting, and bush craft the range from Granfors Bruk (Swedish) is very hard to beat. These are machine/hand forged and have a 20 year warranty on the head. I have a couple of them, excellent tools and worth every penny. Generally the Bahco stuff is good quality, and the steel well chosen, I'd be amazed if they chose to cast an axe head though, drop forge it, maybe.

    http://www.gransforsbruk.com/en/
     
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 477, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    For casual use anything will do with some refinement, mostly in the edge. I've never seen a multi purpose tool that did all their tasks as well as a dedicated single purpose tool, with the possible exception of the my paint can opener, which is simply a little hook, to pry up paint can lids, but also has a bottle opener on the other end. It does both roles very well.

    If the edge is sharpened right, it'll cut well, assuming the metal can hold this edge. If not, you probably can treat it so it's better than when purchased. For this type of edge, you need to decide what you'll do with it. If you're just going to chop or split stuff, a wedge shape with a slight rounded bevel edge, is all you want, but this blade shape creates a lot of friction when forced deep.

    For deep cutting, you need to "reprofile" the blade. Essentially you'll remove material well behind the cutting edge, hollowing it out, which can also help with balance. The idea here is to have an edge that cuts, but as the wood piles up on the sides of the blade, it passes the cutting edge and loses contact (ramps away) with the blade in the hollow "cheeks", so you can drive it deeper, with the same force as a wedge shaped blade. We can get real technical about ramps and desirable cutting angles and the like, but for general use, a modest convex cutting edge, that's sharp and a reasonable hollow behind it will serve, unless you're looking to swing this puppy all day and need some special attention to save your elbow and sharpening chores.
     
  6. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
    Posts: 1,270
    Likes: 25, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 271
    Location: Hampshire UK

    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Looking more closely at your axe head, I'd say it is a splitting maul type. The square back end of the head is to pound a splitting froe or wedge. Not many axes are designed to do this, but yours is a firewood chopper....which also explains the extra weight. You will probably find the Swedish shape (section) is light convex at blade edge, to a good concave then convex again or sharp cutoff to flat. This is significantly sweeter to use than continously convex forms. Also look for a steel protective collar on wooden or plastic shafts as this protects the underside of the head a lot and will allow the handle to last many years longer than otherwise.

    As I split about half a UK garage size of timber each year, a good splitting maul is essential - a bit more than just casual use...;) FWIW the weight of the maul I use is 2.5Kg and it will chop pretty decent size stuff.
     
  7. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 5,704
    Likes: 306, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2489

    hoytedow Senior Member

  8. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 1,717
    Likes: 120, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 304
    Location: SF bay

    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Ad says for "light use" and I was hoping for everything except splitting firewood. I want an axe that also works good for fine cuts for bush-craft. One thing I like about this axe is I can wrap my fingers around the head and choke up for fine control and/or tap the back with a hammer, stone or stick and use it as a chisel.

    Blade is convex all the way to black paint, then short concave then straight widening Vee back to handle/head.

    I sent Bahco a link to this thread but no reply yet. I hope its not another case of someone buying the company name and slapping it on a lots of worthless low quality Chinese junk to people who still believe in the brand. But the Chinese seem to be able to make pretty good steel stuff at a good price, like clones of Rem 870 shotguns and other firearms.
     
  9. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 5,704
    Likes: 306, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2489

    hoytedow Senior Member

  10. Barry
    Joined: Mar 2002
    Posts: 1,352
    Likes: 181, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 158

    Barry Senior Member

    Looking at the piece, it is most surely cast.
    Rough surface, probably sand cast but not always. Sometimes molds will have a rough texture so that if there is an imperfection in the casting the rough surface of the mould will hide it.
    Iron is an element while steel is mainly iron with less than 2% carbon by weight and is alloyed with other elements to achieve certain characteristices
    Cast iron has carbon content higher than 2% but is brittle,(except malleable) and hard to machine.
    Cast iron is cheap and easy to cast.

    A couple of ways to identify what the material the axe is made of is to hold it to a grinder and compare the type of spark that comes off it. You can google Spark Test for Steel and print out the different types of spark for various steels/iron

    Another way to identify the material is a simple sound test. Tap the axe with another piece of steel and if the axe rings for a long time, it is most likely steel.

    You would have read books about the timber jacks chopping trees in the woods and an oft repeated expression is "the ringing of axes in the woods" which signified cast steel or forged steel axe heads. If you are in a hardware store, and find an Oxhead Axe, hit it with another tool and you will hear the ring as compared to a cheaper offshore cast iron axe.

    You can heat treat steel with a carbon content above about .4 % and up.

    Forging by hand or machine, done while the material is hot and often heated in a carburizing flame/furnace increases the amount of carbon plus the working increases its toughness. Think Samurai sword. The blade is hammered thin, folded over, re-hammered many times to make a blade with extreme toughness and the ability to hold an edge


    Re post 7, heating a file that has been made into a knife. This does not make the edge harder but rather takes a rather high carbon content steel file and tempering it to make it more resistant to brittle breaks.
     

  11. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
    Posts: 1,270
    Likes: 25, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 271
    Location: Hampshire UK

    SukiSolo Senior Member

Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.