Hatchets are an indispensable tool in any home. Familiarization with the various types of hatches and safe handling procedure will ensure that you get the most out of your new tool.
If you love warming your house using kindling or out camping or on an adventure, you are probably aware that kindling runs out relatively quickly. So, it is always best to prepare a large bucketful all at once rather than have only enough for a single fire.
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However, not just any ax can split wood, and we will show you the best hatchet for splitting kindling.
Our article will explore how to use a hatchet to split kindle, the art of safe kindling, features to look for and the differences between an ax and a hatchet. We will also recommend the top 5 hatchets for splitting wood in the market.
- 1 Features to Look for in a Kindling Tool
- 2 Top 5 Best Hatchets for Splitting Kindling
- 3 Safe Way to Split Kindling
- 4 Are Hatchets and Axes the Same Thing
- 5 Are Hatchets Supposed to Be Sharp?
- 6 FAQs:
- 7 Why Choose Us?
Features to Look for in a Kindling Tool
Before we look at the features you ought to consider when choosing a hatchet, let us look at a brief history of and legend of hatchets.
A hatchet is a type of a short ax, which has been around for years. The term hatchet comes from old French Hachette and a diminutive form of hache, “axe” of German origin.
Unlike a regular ax, however, a hatchet is shorter, has a sharp blade on one side and a hammer on the other and is used using a single hand.
Hatchets can serve an array of purposes including splitting kindle, hewing, throwing, hammering, doubling up like a pocket knife, among other uses.
For best productivity and use, however, you need to buy a hatchet with the right features that suit your needs, and in the section below, we shed light on the important factors you need to consider when choosing a hatchet.
The first thing you should consider is the material used to make the splitter. The choice of material will determine the longevity of your hatchet. Ideally, the best material for your splitter is the indestructible cast iron or metal.
These materials are strong, and sturdy, and will guarantee you excellent services for an extended period. For maximum durability, choose the splitters with a rust-resistant coating.
Longevity aside, the choice of material also contributes to the maintenance, particularly sharpening. For instance, if the material is too harsh, you will have a hard time sharpening it. On the other hand, soft materials lose their sharpness easily and wear out fast.
However, keep in mind that high-quality materials are a tad more expensive than your regular material. Moreover, regardless of the material you use, its longevity and resourcefulness will largely depend on how you maintain your ax.
The Weight of the Head
Hatchets works using one hand, so they should not be too heavy for use. However, they should not be too light, either.
When choosing the ideal ax head weight, aim for one that falls between lightweight and heavy. It should be comfortable to aim, cut kindle with it, and use it comfortably without fatigue.
The ideal length of the hatchet should be preferably between 14 and 20 inches long. This length is short enough for better control and long enough to absorb the vibration and keep you safe in case of a kickback.
Besides control, this length provides you with a compact hatchet, which is more comfortable for you to carry around and safely store when not in use. Look for hatchets with handles that have a design that provide you with a better grip for improved comfort when kindling.
Easy to Use
Though most designs are simple and modest, there are others which need time to set up before every use. Buy a splitter which is functional already, and one that does not require you to spend too much time and effort to split the wood.
Safety is an essential aspect of any splitter. In most cases, kindling splitters are usually safe since they have no moving blade to injure your hands.
However, you should ensure that the edge of the splitter is at the right place and have a stable base to prevent any accidents from occurring.
Moreover, since you will be carrying the ax around and storing it when not in use, look for one that comes with a protective sheath. A sheath is essential in keeping the blade safe and away from dirt and dust, rust free, as well as preventing injuries when not in use.
Choosing the best kindling tool is a tough task. However, if you are careful, you can make the right choices always.
Top 5 Best Hatchets for Splitting Kindling
Now let’s look at the best five hatchets for kindling.
|Estwing Sportsman's Axe||Husqvarna 13" Wooden Hatchet||Gerber 14-Inch Hatchet||BladeMate Survival Hatchet||Schrade SCAXE5|
|Overall length 14 inch||Overall length 15 inch||Overall length 14 inch||16-inch Length||Overall length 6.4 inch|
|3.25-Inch Cutting Edge||3.75 inches Cutting Edge||2.6- Inch Cutting Edge||4.5- Inch Cutting Edge||3.1- Inch Cutting Edge|
|1.7 pounds||1.25 pounds||1.4 pounds||1.4 pounds||1.56 pounds|
|Steel handle||Hickory handle||Glass-filled Nylon||Stainless Steel||SK5 Carbon Steel|
|Full Tang||Not Full Tang||Not Full Tang||Full Tang||Full Tang|
Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
The Estwing hatchets are a true classic having been in circulation since the 1920`s with only a few adjustments.
The E24A boast of superb features including the full tang steel and the attractive leather grip. Though Estwing does not disclose the type of steel and describes it as “tool steel,” it holds up well and offers decent performance.
Though beauty is not an important factor with a power tool, we must commend the E24A. The first thing you will notice with this tool is its striking beauty. The stacked leather handle finishing plus the thick lacquer polish on this American made full-tang steel hatchet gives you an attractive and gorgeous tool.
Moreover, when it comes to performance, the E24A does not skimp either. The ax has plenty of performance-oriented features to ensure you have optimal productivity. Some of the notable features on the tool include;
- Full Tang: Unlike other hatchets, this one comes from a single mold, and not in pieces, making it sturdier than any other hatchet. This tool is virtually indestructible.
On the flipside, however, full-tang handles transmit shock from the striking and splitting to your hand, and given that the material is steel, the shock is excessive.
- Genuine Stacked Leather Grip: The quality leather handle used on this tool promotes extra comfort and a sturdier grip. With this handle, the hatchet stays firmly in your hands without slipping.
The tool comes with an ergonomic handle, which is wide at the bottom of the handle to prevent slippage when using and boost your grip and comfort levels
- Solid Steel Construction: The steel used in the creation of this power tool render it indestructible. It does not bend or break.
Aside from longevity, the steel construction makes the cutting edge hold its sharpness well and only requires minimal dressing during regular use.
Other features of this tool include a snug black nylon sheath that offers an effective mode of carrying the tool while promoting its durability.
Because the hatchet uses a full-tang piece of steel, it can provide a slightly thinner cutting edge that widens out to a blunt end, therefore, making the tool ideal for splitting.
One of the major complaints of the hatchet is the vibration or rather shock. However, since it is likely that the ax usage is for a shorter period, the effects are minute. Additionally, the leather sheath helps in absorbing the shock.
Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet
Pure and simple, the Husqvarna hatchet is a beast that will make you feel like a superman because you will be cutting in much more in-depth than you would with other hatchets.
From the length, weight and its orientation, this hatchet easily outperforms other mid-priced hatchets. Most importantly though, the Husqvarna hatchet packs plenty of chopping power, and nothing comes close, performance wise to this tool.
Unlike our first product, the E24A, this one does not have the grandeur or splendor the mirror-like finish: it still has some grind marks on the ax edge. However, does this affect the performance? Absolutely no. We are not in a beauty contest here, but rather a chopping contest.
Aesthetics aside, this ax packs plenty of features, which we shall look shortly.
- Head design: This wooden hatchet comes with an excellent head design. The overall shape and geometry boost the performance of the tool.
The cheeks of the head have an excellent curvature, the bit is thin, and the ax edge is significant, providing you with a balanced head that can perform an array of tasks.
Though there are complaints that the grind of the bit does not seem to get polished, and that you can still see the grind marks, this does not affect the performance of the hatchet.
What`s more? Though it is not a full-tang, the head of the hatchet comes conjoined to the handle using a wooden wedge and a circular metal pin that guarantees safety.
- Hatchet handle: For a firmer and no-slip striking/splitting experience, the tool has a good grain on the handle. The handle is also ergonomic, at the very least for comfortable use.
- The sheath: Blade protection is necessary with the cutting tools. The leather sheath on the Husqvarna tool keeps your blade protected always.
The only drawback of this tool is probably the weight. If you are going for an adventure trail or massive hike over a short period, the hatchet will bog you down.
Gerber 14-Inch Hatchet
The most significant challenge of writing this review is probably overcoming any bias towards the composite handle and the green carrying sheath.
The 14-inch Gerber hatchet sports a jazzy new high-viz lime green paint job and combines light heft and an ultra-sharp blade to provide you with unbeatable edge retention. The portable and lightness of the hatchet make it a suitable candidate for splitting medium-sized and smaller logs.
Like all the tools on our best hatchet for splitting kindle, the Gerber 14’ hatchet packs a lot of performance-driven features, which we shall look shortly.
- Forged steel head: for a smooth and efficient cutting experience, the tool features a forged steel head that rarely bogs down during cutting while allowing you to penetrate your wood crisply.
Moreover, the steel is a low-maintenance feature as it only requires a few and quick tune-up to maintain its sharpness.
What`s more? Steel is known for its durability, and this tool will serve you for an extended period without the need for replacement.
- PTFE coated blade: Aside from improving the aesthetics, the PTFE coating on the blade helps in reducing friction between the wood and the blade. Reduction of friction not only allows easy slicing of wood, but it also promotes clean cut, while reducing the energy you will need to remove the blade from the wood it sticks.
- Composite handle: the composite handle on this tool serves two purposes. First, it acts as a shock absorber. It absorbs the vibrations from the splitting and striking, therefore reducing the hand strain.
Secondly, it provides a no-slip and firm grip; the hatchet cannot slip from your hands when working.
Other notable features on this ax are the slim sheath that ensures safe storage of the tool as well as promotes the portability/transportability.
What many users like about the tool is that it comes with a slim and modest profile that provides the convenience of use, as well as that of storage.
BladeMate Survival Hatchet
Survival hatchets must be reliable and require little to no maintenance, and this is what the BladeMate offers.
This full tang stainless steel blade is perfect for clearing brush or warding off zombie attacks.
Let us look at what the ax has to offer;
- Razor sharp blade: The good thing about the 4.5 inches blade of this tool is that it can hold its sharpness for a long time without the need of sharpening. Yes, while you can carry a wet stone with you for sharpening, no one wants to add extra weight for a long trail hike.
- Fortified blade: The pragmatism of the blade offers protection by its fortification, making the blade rust-free, even in the harshest environment.
- Ergonomic handle: The ergonomic handle of the hatchet promotes ease of use while adding to the comfort of the user.
The BladeMate Survival Hatchet design is with the survivalist in mind. Regardless of where you live, or what kind of survival you plan on doing, the Survival Hatchet is a must-have tool.
The SCAXE5 is a small but mighty hatchet produced by the highly revered Taylor Brands, LLC. The hatchet comes with a small and straightforward profile, ideal for carrying, and ideal for emergency situations where the large ax is unavailable or inconvenient.
Let us look at some of the impressive features of this tool:
- Full tang: this ax is a full-tang tool forged out of one solid piece of SK5 carbon steel. The nature of it means that it is sturdy and does not have weakness points.
- SK high carbon steel: For the ultimate strength, carbon steel is the constructing the tool. This material renders the tool virtually indestructible and robust.
What is more? The carbon steel comes with a layer of black finish that reduces the reflectivity and help in preventing scratches.
- Razor sharp blade: The blade on the Schrade which has a deep saber grind on the cutting surface chops through wood and even sheet metal cleanly.
However, given its short stature, the tool is not useful on tough materials that require farther range.
It is well-worth noting that the Schrade SCAXE5 is a perfect emergency tool, as well as a handy tool for smashing, digging, hammering, and it is still powerful enough for use in excavation and breaching.
Though it is not ideal for tasks such as breaking down a sturdy wall or door, it`s a perfect choice for camping or outdoor trips. Do not let the small size fool you: it`s a formidable tool that doubles up as a weapon but in a compact package.
Safe Way to Split Kindling
Dry kindling is necessary for building a fire. That said, however, splitting fine kindling from a more significant piece of wood is dangerous.
Far too many people use the quickly-move-your-hand-out-of-the-way method of splitting fine kindling. By far, this is not the safest method, as we have seen plenty of accidents resulting from this action: a single slip of a sharp hatchet can result in significant injury.
In the section below, we shall look at three effective and safe methods of generating dry kindling without having to worry about chopping or injuring our hands. 
Here are the methods.
The Sissy stick method:
The stick method uses the same principle as the traditional method. However, rather than using one of your hands to hold the piece of wood, this method employs a length of wood of around 12 inches. The wood doubles up as your hand by holding the hand away from the wood piece getting split.
The stick balances the wood during cutting by a hatchet and keeps holding the hand away at a safe distance. Though it`s slower than the traditional method, it is much safer.
Heavy ax with a short handle
The dangers of using a regular hatchet, say, a 1-pound one to split fine kindle is that you must drive it fast, and with much force, and most importantly, is that the head or rather a blade needs to strike the piece of wood accurately. The impeccable striking of wood is often a challenge to many.
To counter this challenge, you can opt to use a heavy hatchet, say 4 or 5 pound one. This weight will allow you to achieve the same or better results as the former but with a slower speed and a higher accuracy.
However, for productive use, the edge needs to be reasonably sharp, and the hatchet should have an extremely short handle.
Using a froe
This method is a combination of the above two techniques.
Here, you will need to place a froe on the log and strike it with a wooden mallet. After each split, wriggle the froe to ensure that the fracture goes right through the wood.
Make a series of parallel split across the log, before turning it 90 degrees for the second series of splits.
Are Hatchets and Axes the Same Thing
Hatches and axes are wood chopping tools that have been around for centuries. If you are not keen enough, you might confuse a hatchet and an ax.
It is not surprising that owing to their similarities, many people often think of these two tools as interchangeable.
However, there is a stark difference between the two, both regarding appearance and functions. 
Let us look at the differences between the two:
|Ax||Type of ax|
|Wider head||Narrow head|
|Curvy or angle forward-looking shaft||Slight Angulation of shaft|
|Straight handle||Hammer-head handle|
|Operated using both hands||Operated using a single hand|
Are Hatchets Supposed to Be Sharp?
If you are an inexperienced and occasional user who is more prone to accidents, then you may fail to appreciate the importance of a sharp and keen edge.
However, if you are a pro, who is a regular at performing a DIY task, you know that a sharp hatchet allows for an effortless, enjoyable and efficient work.
So, yes, if you are looking for a hassle-free task, and shorten your working time, having a sharp hatchet is necessary.
Q: What is seasoned wood?
A: Seasoned wood refers to wood that has dried sufficiently to burn well
Q: Why is my hatchet not penetrating wood as it is supposed to?
A: There are several reasons behind this. The first one is whether your cutting edge is sharp. Second is whether there are chips on the edge of the blade as this changes the way the hatchet performs.
Q: What is the best material for hatchet handle
A: Each element has its strength and drawbacks, and the choice of material boils down to personal preferences. Common handle materials include wood, metal, and fiberglass.
Now that you have the knowledge of finding and know which the best hatchet for splitting kindling is, you do not have to spend much money on fuel. Moreover, if you use the ax carefully and maintain it well by keeping it sharp all the time, it will serve you for a long time to come.
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