Gransfors Bruk - What Sets Them Apart
A brief history on the brand
Currently, with just 30 employees, Gransfors Bruk is still upholding their over 100 years of handcrafted tool excellence. Still forged in Sweden, Gransfors now exports 80 percent of their tools to 30 different countries and its easy to see why. These expertly hand-crafted axes are made to stand the test of time. Using their well-developed methods of forging, grinding, heat treating, annealing, and sharpening, they hand craft each piece to a perfect workhorse with a gorgeous appearance.
To Gransfors, the most important factor in their production is quality, not quantity. They allow their professional craftsmen to take the time that is needed to complete their work, completely abandoning piecework. During this process, they have also been able to establish sound green credentials, avoiding unnecessary use of resources. Their axe head do not need any grinding, polishing, or honing except on its cutting edge. They also have a firm no paint nor varnish on the head policy. These are used to hide flaws in a forging process and Gransfors wants their work displayed. Instead of using environmentally hazardous epoxy adhesive to attach handles, they use a traditional wooden wedge which is better for the environment as well as the working conditions. Smarter production requires fewer resources, give their product a higher quality and longer life, and creates a better working environment for their team.
Everything comes down to the forging. Using a specially alloyed high carbon steel for the head, the smith takes a cut off piece heated to around 1200 degrees Celsius and begins to work it on the press. Working quickly and skillfully, the square blank slump of steel is gradually and carefully transformed into a finished axe head. When the smith determines the axe head is finished, they stamp the piece with the Gransfors Bruk logo and then their own initials.
Once completed, the head is then hung up to cool, ready for the next step in the process, grinding, hardening, and annealing. They only need to focus on grinding and sharpening the axes edge leaving the rest of the axe as it is. After the coarse grind, the edge is then hardened and rapidly cooled in water. This makes the steel very hard but also brittle. To remove the stress and decrease its fragility, they anneal the head allowing it to eventually take the shock damage it is made for. The tool then gets moved down the line to be tumbled and sharpened. The head is tumbled with small ceramic balls to remove any burrs left on the axes surface from forging but it also makes the steel more resistant to rust. It is then tested to make sure the steel is neither too hard nor too soft by striking the edges corner with a hammer and then checked to make sure there is no cracking. Finally, to finish off the head, the edge is sharpened and polished to and incredibly high degree. Once it has been sharpend the head is dipped into a water-repellent and rustproofing oil. Up next is fitting the handle. Using a hydraulic press, they squeeze the handle made of select American hickory into its head, the eye of the axe, and checked to make sure it’s a good snug fit. They are then given a veg-tanned leather sheath as well as the Axe Book and shipped off on their way.
Every single axe that Gransfors Bruk produces is checked for quality control before it leaves it factory to make sure there are absolutely no defects. Even after their inspection, they still stand behind their product with a 20-year guarantee. This applies to the axe head only and as long as it is used and cared for properly.
While you may notice that Gransfors Bruk axes cost more than your average hardware store axe, you will also notice the gulf in class when it comes to their quality. These tools are crafted to last many lifetimes and are expected to be used, then passed down for generations. With superior quality, edge retention, materials, and craftsmanship, you can be sure you are buying an incredible tool. Check out some of our other forthcoming blogs to see where we compared some of our most popular models.