Most helpful positive review
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2009
Having used axes for a few seasons I've become particular to things I like and don't like about such tools, and this axe is my favorite so far. It is lighter than expected and I've come to realize that either hardware store 3.5 pound axes are heavier than 3.5 pounds or this one is actually lighter than its declared weight. Regardless, this axe is light and the profile is unexpectedly thin. At first this really turned me off because I equated bigger with better, and I had the sense that a smallish axe was rip off because it meant less steel hence less cost to manufacture. At sixty bucks and a little more I was expecting an axe of formidable size.
Begrudgingly, I gave the edge a touch up with coarse and medium whetstones then took this axe out to the woodlot determined to try it despite my disappointment. I tried it and it was a revelation. Fast, light, and thin, this axe can still cut pretty good sized rounds down to size. But what makes this axe so cool is just how many straight clean splits the user makes while wielding it. Again and again I brought the S&N head down square to the rounds and achieved that strangely gratifying "clean split" of the wood. I liked the lighter, smaller blade so much I've even been thinking of grinding down the poll to make it lighter still - I have not done this... yet.
I recommend this axe. I have used it for one entire season and I heat only with wood. That's a lot of chopping. The S&N 3.5 is my go to axe when it's splitting time. If you care for tools and like good ones, you'll like this one. Also, if the handle comes loose or breaks, Snow and Nealley will fix your axe for free. (This is something that I don't like as it makes their axe handles harder to source).
I should add, however, a short comment about my wood stove. It is a small stove and I tend to cut my rounds eleven to fourteen inches long. If you cut big chainsaw rounds for a big fire box, then you'll likely want to supplement your S&N axe with a splitting maul of your choice. As I saw all my timber and cut all my firewood with hand tools, I am seldom facing giant rounds and so have seldom needed more than an axe to split them.