I have had a fun time over the last few months working with the Condor Woodworker Axe, both out in the woods and in my own backyard processing firewood and getting ready for the winter ahead. As most people who know me will tell you, I am a big fan of axes and hatchets and never head out too far into the wild without one of my hatchets with me.
While a lot of people like to use their knives for batoning and other chopping and hacking chores around camp, I’ve just never been a big fan of processing wood like this. Naturally I’ve done it before and if I don’t have a hatchet around, my knife is going to get a good workout. Given the choice though, I love to lean on a hatchet for heavier chores.
Axes and hatchets range in price from about $5.00 to several hundreds of dollars. I’ve had my fair share of cheap hatchets and like the old saying goes; you get what you pay for… While I would love to run out and buy a top of the line Gränsfors or a Wetterling, I just can’t afford one without selling a kidney and subjecting myself to some voluntary drug testing. A while back while I was looking for a middle of the road hatchet, I came across Condor and have been extremely fond of their products ever since.
I’ve gone into depth before on Condor as a company and how they have worked so hard on pleasing the public by addressing known flaws and greatly improving their product line over time (especially in the last two years) Doing a much better job at machining their steel and making the smart move to have Joe Flowers design a fair amount of their lineup has really paid off for them. Quality control is a big deal at Condor and it shows as time rolls along.
My first impression of the new Woodworker axe was good as I pulled it out of the box. As expected, the edge decent, but I still wanted to give it a few licks with my file. Out of the box, most Condor products are sharp enough to take into the field for general use, but you wouldn’t want to try shaving with any of them without a little touchup first. After a few passes with the small tooth file, the edge was razor sharp and looked great!
The head of the Woodworker is made out of 1045 high carbon steel. This is nice as it allows for easy sharpening, along with decent edge retention over time. On its first trip into the woods, I used the Woodworker to process a fair amount of dry wood that I found and the sharp head did a great job. By the end of the trip, the edge was ever so slightly worn, but hardly noticeable. The axe head comes in at 1.5 pounds and boasts Condors own “classic finish”. I’m a big fan of this finish as it shows off the heavy machining work that went into the making of the blade from top to bottom.
As with all Condor axes, you get a full grain leather sheath that not only looks great, but is well build and should last the life of the axe.
When you buy a Condor axe, you can be assured that you’re going to get a beautiful American Hickory handle, something that may come as a surprise when you think about the cost. The Woodworker comes with a great looking 18 inch handle with little to no curve at all. The base of the handle has a hole for those of you who like at add a lanyard to your tools.
My first full outing with the axe took me into the local national forest where I have a nice spot secluded away for camping and working with gear. Since it was going to be a full weekend, I brought along another hatchet since I was unsure how the Woodworker would do and going back would be a major pain in the neck. Throughout the two full days out, I used the Woodworker to process kindling and de-limb several larger branches. The axe cut through everything like warm butter for the most part. As for chopping through larger logs, I found the Woodworker may not be the best choice for the job. While it’s capable of chopping through a medium sized log or branch, it didn’t seem to have the bite that other choppers have. This didn’t discourage me very much because I believe this particular axe was made more for smaller jobs. This is evident by the way the axe’s shape and how you can choke up on the head with your hand for more precision tasks.
In all, I am quite pleased with the Condor Woodworker Axe and can recommend it to anyone interested in a quality, dependable (and well-priced) axe for smaller jobs and more precision woodcraft. Another great thing about this axe is the full lifetime warranty that comes with it, thanks to Condor. You can find the Woodworker axe online for around $43.99 plus shipping. I think it’s worth every cent and look forward to several more years of great use.
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