At a minimum, every homestead needs a few axes. Even those who practice homesteading in the city will most likely encounter a situation where they need the power of an axe.
Here on our homestead, the axe is one of our favorite tools. It is used to clear trails, split firewood and take down small trees.
It’s best to have at least two types of axes: a smaller one like a hatchet and a larger, more traditional sized axe. What length and weight you choose will ultimately depend on what you need to cut and your skill and ability to use an axe.
A recent addition here was the Helko Rheinland Hatchet which is part of Helko’s traditional line. In looking for a hatchet, the Rheinland fit the bill in terms of balance, quality and price.
I go straight for the metal wedge which is the component that provides additional securement of the handle. Why is this? The location of that metal wedge tells me a lot about the person who made the axe (or hatchet in this case). It tells me whether they cared enough to properly center the metal wedge in order to produce a more quality product. It also tells me how much they concern themselves with craftsmanship. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen wedges so off center, I put the tool down and told myself I ain’t buying that brand.
In the case of the Rheinland Hatchet, the metal wedge, which was circular, was well-centered – this was a good start to the review.
Now, when it came to chopping power, this hatchet performed excellently. I used it to chop into a dead standing tree and it did a great job. Although hatchets aren’t really designed for chopping down trees, I wanted to put it to the test to see how robust it was. Plus, you never know when you might be a in a survival situation where you only have a hatchet to process wood.
When chopping into thicker wood, the hatchet dug deep and cleared out the wood chips. Initially, I didn’t think it would be that good on larger wood but I was pleasantly surprised.
In splitting smaller logs, this hatchet was a great performer. Overall, it split wood very efficiently.
The shape of the blade portion of the head had a longer beard which helped in carving work. Although the hatchet wasn’t necessarily the sharpest thing right out of the box, it could easily be sharpened with a sharpening stone. Regardless, it performed decent enough in carving exercises.
The decorative leather handle guard shown on my Helko is sold separately. Although I’m not sure how much a smaller axe like a hatchet needs a leather guard, it did provide excellent grip for carving.
Regarding the wood handle, Helko makes some of the best I’ve ever seen. It’s perfectly contoured and silky smooth. Better yet, it’s sourced from good ol’ American hickory.
A huge plus about this hatchet is the price point. Compared to the more popular Gransfors Bruk models, Helko has a more affordable lineup. In my personal opinion, I think Helko is one of the better values out there in terms of price and quality.
Another nice thing about Helko is their sheaths. They are very simple and provide enough protection for the axe (or hatchet). In watching reviews for Gransfors Bruk models, it seemed many folks didn’t like the sheath their axe came with. Although Helko sells a more expensive sheath, you should be fine with what comes standard.
In the end, the Rheinland Hatchet was a very good purchase. Hopefully, in the future we have the opportunity to review another fine Helko product.
Rheinland Hatchet Specifications:
Head weight: 1.25 pounds
Total weight: 2 pounds
Handle length: 14 inches.
Bit length: 4 inches.
Chops well into wood.
Price is better than a Gransfors Bruk.
Could be a little sharper out of the box.