I've noticed a few people asking about this axe recently on the green woodworking forums, so I thought it was about time I wrote a little review. I should probably start with a bit of background on the axe. If you don't already know about Robin Wood, then you should. He is one of the leading figures in green woodworking and traditional crafts in the UK. Primarily he is a bowl turner, but he has also been influential in the popularisation of spoon carving. For three years he has been the co-organiser of Spoonfest. When running spoon carving courses he lamented the fact that he couldn't recommend a suitable axe to his students that was the right side of fifty pounds. Probably the cheapest option at the time that would be ready to use off the shelf was the Gransfors Bruks Wildlife hatchet, which currently retails at about £65, a big outlay for someone who is just beginning. This led to him designing and manufacturing his own carving axe.
|The axe comes incredibly sharp, but unfortunately doesn't come with a mask|
At 500g in weight it is perfect for spoon carving, especially for those who aren't used to wielding an axe or don't do it that often. The light weight also means that you can be very precise with it. When I first tested it out I started carving a spoon out of some relatively hard apple. I ended up carving the entire spoon (except the bowl) using just the axe. It's not the prettiest spoon I've ever made, but it does show what you can do with a well tuned axe.
|A pretty ugly spoon, but all done with the axe|
The edge comes very sharp with a flat bevel that is polished to a mirror finish. It bites really well and the head can be held in the hand to make planing or knife cuts.
The handle is made of Hickory and has a lovely textured finish, similar to that found on the tools made by Svante Djarv, the idea being that it provides extra grip. I've personally never had a problem with a non-textured handle being slippy, but it definitely looks cooler like this.
|The Svante Djarv Little Viking axe with similar textured handle|
|Similar shaped head from a Car boot sale|
You can buy the axe directly from Robin Wood or from Woodland Craft Supplies.