The only thing special about this axe is the blade material. It is made of the same Ultra High Strength Steel that is now used to reinforce high
stress areas of automobiles, such as bumpers and roll cages. The main alloying agent that makes this possible is Boron. These Boron steels are
capable of being heat treated to very high strength and surface hardness--to the point that ordinary rescue tools don't work on cars that are
reinforced with this stuff. They have to be cut apart with abrasive cut-off wheels.
As a sometimes custom knife maker, I thought this would be a pretty good candidate material for making high performance knives, so I tried to buy some
a few years ago, but I could not find a supplier who would sell it in small quantities. When I heard that Mora was making axes out of the stuff, I
bought one a couple of years ago just to see how it holds up as a cutting tool.
Here's the thing about axes--and this might sound extremely stupid--but they're mainly made for either chopping or splitting wood, and the features
you want for chopping are not the ones you want for splitting, and vice versa. For splitting, you want the cutting edge to be thick and have a
relatively blunt taper that continues all the way up to the handle; that creates the maximum wedging force when you strike the end grain of the wood.
For cutting cross-grain (sometimes called "chipping") you want the cutting edge to be thin and sharp; that will cut the maximum number of wood
fibers when you strike the cross grain of the wood. Old timer lumberjacks used to carry double-bit axes with one cutting face ground down to a very
fine, thin edge for chipping, and the other face ground very thick and tapered for splitting. If you tried to cut down a tree with the splitting edge
of the axe you would be at it all day and the tree would end up looking like it had been attacked by a drunken beaver. Conversely, if you tried to
split wood with the chipping edge, you would probably get the blade stuck and stand a very good chance of breaking the edge.
Any single-bit axe (like this Mora) could be ground to be a pretty good chipper OR splitter, but obviously not both simultaneously. This Mora blade
is, at best, a compromise. It appears to have been water jet cut out of 6 mm thick (approximately 1/4 inch) flat stock and the taper extends back
from the edge only about 14 mm (approximately 1/2 inch), so it is not going to be a very good splitter under the best of circumstances.
I live in a forested area that is transitioning from Redwood/Fir trees to Oak/Madrone trees, with all the associated understory shrubs and vines.
I've found that the Mora axe will do a fine job of splitting dried, straight-grain kindling down to the size necessary to start one-match fires in my
wood-burning stove or barbeque grill, and will sever green Madrone branches up to about 1 inch diameter with a single stroke. If the diameter of the
wood gets much above about 1 inch in diameter, this small axe is going to reach its limits for either chipping or splitting, pretty quickly.
On the other hand, I would have to say that the blade steel has met or exceeded my expectations; it holds an edge extremely well and even seems to be
moderately rust resistant, for a non-stainless steel.
a reply to: semperfortis