For four generation Adler has been producing world class axes Made in Germany. Founded back in 1919 as just a small village blacksmith shop, Josef Schmitt set out to handcraft tools to last a lifetime. Today, Adler still makes high quality tools in Southern Germany. But what makes them different as a brand and as a tool? Throughout this brand spotlight we can dive a little more into their history, their production processes and materials, and then briefly hit on their products and why they choose to produce certain models.
Like previously mentioned, Josef Schmitt established the Adler brand and first facility all the way back in 1919. He carried a very hands-on approach resulting in a process that had steel formed and hardened in a perfect manner. Sticking to his incredibly high standards, Josef made sure that all aspects of his tools were created properly and would stand the use and test of time. Today, Adler proudly fabricates high quality axes with the same passion and exactness that it was founded on over 100 years ago.
As time moves forward and manufacturing processes change, Adler is committed to improving its sustainability while keep ahold of its heritage. Back in 2004, they opened a water-based paint facility used to coat the handles. Then in 2006 Adler opened an automatic drying kiln. They also boast that the wood waste created in the manufacturing process is used to help generate energy and power the facility. While the new generation of the Schmitt family is committed to modernizing the factory to meet the state-of-the-art sustainability and production standards, they ensure they do not forget where it all started. To this day, all their axes are stamped with a “JSW” mark. The J and S stand for Josef Schmitt, the company founder, and the W stands for the small village of Wiesental which is located just south of the current factory location of Waghausel.
What Makes an Adler Tool Stand Out?
From the top down we can discuss the different aspects of what makes up an Adler tool.
The Head: Every Adler axe and hatchet head is forged from C45 steel sourced in Europe. The head is affixed to the hand and then securely mounted using a round metal wedge. The wedge both helps to securely hold the head in place as well as distribute pressure evenly.
The Handle: Each handle is made of American sources hickory wood. Hickory is stable and absorbs shock very well. Adler then applies a textured black paint to the handle. This has an abrasive quality to assure a tight grip, even in wet conditions. They then paint on their distinctive red stripe to call out that it is an Adler axe and to help you find it quicker if misplaced.
The Blade: Each Adler axe and hatchet offers a blade that is carefully sharpened. Then they are fitted with its own leather sheath to protect the edge as well as the end user before being shipped out to the customer.
Currently Adler offers two models of hatchet., a small axe, a full-sized axe, and then two different splitting axes each with it own unique purpose.
The Rheinland Hatchet
An all-purpose companion for all sorts of wilderness woodcraft. Weighing in at 1.35 pounds in the head and 1.9 pounds overall, the Rheinland Hatchet light enough to be backpacked in to camp yet still heavy enough to be capable in all sorts of tasks. With an overall length of 14 inches, it gives decent leverage while keeping its slim overall formfactor. At $79 USD, it offers performance at a reasonable cost.
The Yankee Hatchet
Another all purpose companion axe with a different styling and overall design. The Yankee Hatchet had a more traditional and heavier head making it more suited for a deeper chop. Weighing in at 2.2 pounds overall with a 1.5 pound head, this hatchet is still small enough to backpack with but a little broader and heavier to help with splitting. At 15 inches long you are gaining some overall size over the Rheinland but also gaining a bit of leverage and power to take some of the brunt off of the user. At $79 USD, it offers performance at a reasonable cost.
The Canoe Axe
The Canoe Axe is designed with utility in mind. Whether traversing the waters or in the backcountry on foot, the Canoe Axe makes for a great companion. The Canoe axe is sized to be able to be used in fire making, producing kindling, harvesting firewood, and even splitting wood. Additionally, it is portable enough to be an all-purpose tool in the backcountry clearing the way or keeping a trail open. With a 1.35 pound head and a 2.2 pound overall design, the Canoe Axe is extremely portable. Making full use of its 19.5 inch handle creates enough leverage and force to tackle just about any task. Coming in at $94 USD, the Canoe Axe is an all around tool for an affordable price.
The Yankee Axe
Built as a true foresters axe for felling medium to large sized trees, the Yankee Axe can still be used as an all-around tool. Making full use of its 3.5 pound head and 5.3 pound overall weight, this axe bites into wood deep and makes quick work of most chores. The anti-slip painted 31.5 inch handle generates a lot of leverage further pushing that head into the wood. At $139, the Yankee Axe is a tool that can really take a lot of work for an affordable price.
The Short Splitter
The Short Splitter is designed to allow for maximum splitting power while remaining in a smaller more portable overall package. The substantial head weight paired with the shorter handle enables the end user to split even the most stubborn and knotted wood. The “wings” on the side of the axe head are designed to separate the wood effectively so that the axe would not stick and the wood will not be lifted with the axe for the next strike. With a 2.7 pound head and 4 pound overall weight, this splitter is design to move wood apart. Affixed to its 19.6 inch handle is a red painted metal overstrike guard meant to protect the handle from abuse and make this tool last even longer. For $119 USD, it is hard to find a small splitter with this quality and effectiveness.
The Super Splitter
The Super Splitter is design to be just that, a workhorse splitting axe meant to really explode the wood apart. The unique 6.2 pound head shape affixed to the 31.5 inch handle combine to make an overall 8.2 pound ergonomic splitting tool. Also affixed to the handle is a red painted overstrike guard to protect the handle from damage and prolong the life of the tool. For $149 USD, you’d be hard pressed to find a tool that can split wood as effectively as the Super Splitter.