Council Tools Hudson Bay 28” (plenty of pics).

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Kaw-liga, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. Kaw-liga

    Kaw-liga Member

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    Hey gang, this is part review and part shout out to our own @FortyTwoBlades . I have been wanting to incorporate a lightweight axe into my pack for a while. My search is over. I've got this Council Tools Hudson Bay axe to share with you. It's made entirely in the USA, has a hardened tool steel head (type not listed by Council), and a hickory handle.

    My only experience with axes are distant memories of my old man dumping a truck bed of green oak in the back yard and charging me with splitting and stacking it in the summer heat of south GA. Those were the good old days. :confused: With that said, please be forgiving if I misspeak any axe lingo. This is my first rodeo.

    So I did some homework. Soon I was swamped with more info on grain orientation and axe anatomy than I knew what to do with. I wanted something which did not break the bank and came ready to use. I was beginning to feel as though I'd have to spend between $150 to $200 just to get a tool that was going to work well and last.

    Baryonyx Knife Co. had a number of axes listed that were within the budget I had in mind, and offered to thin and reprofile the blade of the axe for a small fee. Now, I've been taking my pocket knives to a stone since I was a young teen, but I wouldn't have the slightest clue as to how thick or thin the edge of an axe should be. This was $5 well spent IMO.

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    Here's the refined edge. It was even, polished, and very sharp by my sandards. This was right before I got down to business on some recently scavenged fatwood stumps. Up to this point all I had done was shave a few arm hairs off and lightly sand and apply boiled linseed oil to the hickory handle.

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    Included was a nice mask which covers the entire head of the axe and has two 1.5" slots cut into the back to run a strap through. It has a Council Tools logo stamped into the black leather.

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    The niceley polished edge made easy work of a preliminary feather stick. I was able to choke up on the head and get my hand securely around the handle. The lightweight axe worked like a knife. Some of you know that I'm not a big guy. I mean, they let me ride all the rollercoasters at theme parks, but Paul Bunyan I am not. I was pleasantly surprised with how agile it was in my hands.

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    This was the result of my very first swing. I did this and all the other cuts from a kneeling position. I did not manipulate or pose anything in this shot, other than take my gloves off (see the camping stove thread from a few weeks ago where I almost cut a digit off with a hatchet, lesson learned). It was light enough to be directable and not wear me out. I could probably stand a good bit of practice to work on my form. But I really enjoyed myself and was a little bummed when I ran out of stumps.

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    Here's another one that cleaved straight through on a single swing. This was a stringy fatwood root which was extremely saturated with sap. Again, I didn't doctor the picture up other than to unglove and snap a pic.

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    Here's a feather stick that I carved up after everything was split. The first one is in the background. It made nice, paper-thin curls and was just as easy to work after going through a pile of fatwood.

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    Here are the minor rolls and knicks that came from my work. They came out easily with the BYXCO Arctic Fox puck. I have had a life-long appreciation of how well high carbon steel responds to a stone. This is only the second time I've sharpened an axe, but the mechanics and fundamentals aren't much different from touching up a knife. I'm sure there's plenty for me to learn, but I take my time and do deliberate, consistent strokes.

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    Here's the result after working coarse to fine, then a few minutes on a strop. Field care seems easy breezy.

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    It slid nicely into the compression straps on either side of my ruck. It was a little clumsy to remove but it was a solid pisition to carry it in. I may end up looking for a way to attach it to my webbing.

    To sum up my feelings, I couldn't be happier. I paid $58.97 (which included having a proper edge put on) and $22 for USPS Priority Mail shipping. I also had the puck and a Manticore file in the package as well. It was boxed up very nicely with everything neatly secured and wrapped. Great care was taken to ensure that it would be safe in the hands of the USPS.

    I can't thank @FortyTwoBlades enough for fielding my questions here on the forum, making a few recommendations, being discriminate with the products he sells, and tuning this thing up for me. After my experience I can say that we are fortunate to have him here with us. He's a stand up guy with a wealth of knowledge that he gives freely.

    Thanks for reading!
     
    Grey Falcon, Clown, McKROB and 5 others like this.
  2. Zeek

    Zeek Member

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    Good stuff @Kaw-liga ... niiccceeee review!!!
     
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  3. Kaw-liga

    Kaw-liga Member

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    Thanks brother. Always great to hear from ya!
     
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  4. Strigidae

    Strigidae Moderator Staff Member

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    Very nice!!! Does that length of axe ever bother you out in the woods? As far as maneuverability and packing?
     
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  5. Kaw-liga

    Kaw-liga Member

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    Hey Strig,

    Thanks for checking in on this. I appreciate you taking the time to read my review. Overall length was my #1 apprehension when I was shopping for an axe, more specifically: how well will it carry? I've tried a few hatchets in the past and wanted something I could swing with a little more authority. But to be honest with you, I haven't carried this one for any considerable length (time or distance). I carried it as seen in that last pic for a short hike. It was clumsy to pull out of the straps. My ruck had to be set down, it helped to loosen the compression, and I had to manuever the handle around my bed roll. I walked roughly a half mile round trip through an area that I'm familiar with (a quarter mile out then turned around and came back home). I've got a decent trail blazed, so I wasn't ducking and squeezing through much in the way of brush. To give you a better answer I'd need to go through some thicker terrain. This is something I want to do for my own knowledge/benefit but did not have time for. I've picked up some new gear recently that makes sense in theory but it remains to be seen if any of it will be necessary or practical for me to carry. I will definitely let you know when I get the chance.

    I've been playing with my pack and the axe like a Rubix Cube trying to get it in a secure spot that's not in the way. It's got me scratching my head, man. This configuration works for now but I'm always looking for something better.
     
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  6. Strigidae

    Strigidae Moderator Staff Member

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    I get you and look forward to more information and experiences. Axes and where to put them or what length has been a quandary for me too.
     
    shaneadams90 and Kaw-liga like this.

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