I've been using my Fiskars Brush Axe here lately, and so it occurred to me that I should do a post about it. I received the brush axe for Christmas last year, but hadn't used it a whole lot until these past few days. I've been clearing an area overgrown with briars, and have found the brush axe to be a big help with this task.
My first experience with a brush axe was a couple of years ago, when my boss loaned me so I could try it out when initially clearing the land. This was, what I've also seen described as a surveyor's brush axe, which had a long wooden handle. I used it for a few days, but couldn't decide if I wanted to buy one or not. As I was looking for items to put on my Christmas list last year, however, I started researching them again. When I ran across the Fiskars brush axe, I decided it might be a good compromise.
The Fiskars brush axe is a short handled tool, that is used one-handed. I liked this design better than the longer handled version that required two hands to use. The Fiskars brush axe is described as being a combination of a hatchet and a machete. The biggest difference is the shape of the blade, which has a curved end. I have never used a good, sharp, machete, so can't really say how they compare. I do know, however, that the curve of the brush axe blades is very useful for hooking materials once they've been cut, so they can be pulled within reach.
My only complaint is that the blade was not sharp when the item arrived. I suspect that this is normal, since handling a sharp blade can be dangerous. I have no experience with sharpening blades, however, so am not sure what I would have done if I hadn't been able to get my dad to sharpen it for me. I suppose I would have had to figure out how to sharpen it myself. I keep the brush axe in the plastic case it came in when storing it, both to protect the blade and to prevent someone from getting cut on it.
The Fiskars brush axe is one of those tools that isn't going to be necessary for everyone. I really only use it for cutting briars and vines. I've used it enough over the past few days to justify the expense, but this will not be the case for everyone, especially since a pair of pruners could do the same job, although maybe just a bit more slowly.