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Virginia's Finest Knives, Axes & Gear Since 2012: Outfit Your Next Adventure Here!
VA's Finest Knives, Axes & Gear Since 2012


Gränsfors Bruk Small Forest Axe (Model 420) is the most popular and versatile axe in Gransfors Bruks range, with a handle long enough to allow powerful chopping, yet small enough to fit into any pack.

First Things First — The Build Quality

The Gransfors Small Forest Axe is part of a long tradition of handcrafted axes featuring superior forging qualities. This axe is of a suitable size for light-medium sized tasks.

The total length of the item is 19 inches, including both the handle and the head. The weight of this axe is approximately 2 pounds. Consequently, it is an easy-to-use axe that can be handled even on days when the user's hands are tired.

The Small Forest Axe is the same size as the Hunter's Axe but with a more traditional pattern and poll.

Performance & Durability

The Small Forest Axe is an excellent tool for felling trees and limbing logs. Thanks to its size, it's easy to maneuver even in tight spots while its head design provides a great balance between power and precision. I'm sure the axe will last me years since the material used is of good quality.

Not to mention, another great thing about Gransfors Bruk axes is that they come with the original Gransfors "Axe-book". This book contains detailed instructions on how to use, maintain and sharpen your axe so you can get the most out of it.

The head of this axe is narrower and lighter than a tradational German-style axe, which tends to be heavier and thicker when held. The Gransfors 420 Axe is much lighter and easy to use and designed for long-term durability.

The Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe 420 is the perfect choice for those who need an axe that can handle tough jobs but still remain lightweight and easy to use. This high-quality axe is made with a narrow, light head that makes it easier to use and more comfortable to carry. The blade is forged from Swedish steel and features a high-grade hardening process to ensure maximum strength and long-term durability.

This axe is great for cutting small logs, branches, chopping kindling and clearing brush. It has a unique shape that helps provide better balance for the user when swinging or splitting wood. The handle of the Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe 420 is made from hickory wood for added strength

Gransfors 420 Small Axe Head

The Blade

The blade of this axe features the classic Gränsfors Bruk shape, making it an aesthetically pleasing tool. The blade is thin and sharp enough to remove hair from the arms.

The head of the axe is made from high carbon steel, providing strength and durability. The high-carbon steel blade can be prone to corrosion if exposed to moisture for extended periods. To maintain the quality and craftsmanship of this axe, it is recommended to apply our axe wax on the metal blade regularly in order to prevent any rust or corrosion. Polishing the blade will help to maintain its appearance. Annually, linseed oil is applied to the handle to enhance the wood's durability and appearance.

The Sheath

Gransfors Bruk uses premium vegetable tanned leather for its sheaths to cover the axe head which is secured with a strap.

We believe that there is room for improvement in the design of the axe sheath and propose a different design. We would like to see a thicker and sturdier leather sheath that is easier to place on. The axe head must be rolled into the sheath rather than slid out. Customers typically prefer a quick and easy process when using the Gransfors sheath for axes. Observation has demonstrated that the sharpness of the blade frequently leads to minute cuts on the sheath. When using a Granfors Bruk sheath, it is recommended to start by rolling the bottom edge of the axe head and finish with the top of the bevel. Pinching the top of the sheath aids in inserting the head without damaging the leather.

So Is It Worth the Money?

The Gransfors 420 Small Forest Axe is a reliable purchase due to its versatility; it can be utilized for various tasks both indoors and outdoors. You may find a perfect solution for your needs in this quality axe, which is larger than a standard hatchet but not excessively large and difficult to transport. The Gransfors 420 Small Forest Axe is considered a high-quality product due to its durability and longevity.

The compact size of this axe makes it suitable for carrying in a camping backpack or even when scouting outdoors for long hours on trails or your farm land. A small axe can be a great tool and asset to have, as it allows many tasks to be done outdoors.  

Potential factors to consider when deciding whether or not to purchase this axe are listed in our pros and cons. 


  • The blade was sharp from the start, no need to sharpen it prior to use.
  • The handle of the axe has an ergonomic curve, making it easy to wield.
  • This product features a durable design suitable for a range of chopping tasks.
  • The blade is of a suitable size and made of steel.
  • Grade "A" American Hickory hand with a handle length of 19", which makes it portable.
  • 'The Gransfors Axe-book provides helpful information on how to maintain axes.
  • This item has a weight of 2 lbs, suitable for outdoor activities like hiking and scouting.
  • This product includes an axe head cover or sheath made from vegetable-tan leather.
  • This tool is suitable for splitting small sticks or trimming larger branches.
  • This tool is effective for felling trees and removing branches while hiking.


  • At a higher price point, but worth the cost.
  • The sheath is not as sturdy, which may lead to it becoming damaged due to the sharpness of the axe.
  • Not suitable for cutting large hardwoods.
  • Splitting wood is not a recommended task for this blade, as it can quickly cause the blade to become dull.
420 Axe by Gransfors Bruk

Final Thoughts About the Gränsfors Bruk Small Forest Axe

When selecting an axe, the overall quality of its construction should be taken into account to ensure durability. Gränsfors Bruk is renowned for producing high-quality axes. In this regard, their small forest axe is right there on top of their quality axes that they make.

The Grade "A" American Hickory handle of this product is designed to be comfortable and provide a secure grip. The sharpness of the blade makes this axe is some of the best that we have handled and seen which makes this a versatile and powerful tool for any task.

The product includes a well written manual. The manufacturer provides instructions for usage, along with information on its origin. The initials on each axe correspond to the maker, providing a unique connection between the axe and its creator.

The only real flaw we have found is with the sheath. I would prefer something with a better design for easier deployment that would last for a long time. This axe excels for both experienced outdoorsman and those who are new to the activity, because its quality build and performance is exceptional. If you acquire this axe, make sure to maintain it properly as it could retain its condition for many years.

Caring for the Gransfors Bruk Small Forest Axe:

Proper care of your axe is essential for optimal performance. After use, apply some axe wax paste to the carbon steal head before putting on the sheath. The coating on the axe head will remain in place for an extended period of time. Taking these steps will prevent rust and ensure your axe stays in optimal condition. To ensure optimal performance, the blade should be regularly sharpened with a whetstone of varying grit ranging from 220 (course) to 600 (fine).

NORTH RIVER OUTDOORS is a proud retailer of quality, crafted outdoor gear that is made to work and last. Products like Gransfors Bruks axes, Hults Bruk, Helle Knives, Kupilka, Frost River, Duluth Packs and hundreds of Quality Knives, Hand Forged Axes and Outdoor Gear.

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