In case you haven’t noticed already: Fiskars makes a number of pretty slick-designed tools beyond scissors. From what we can tell, their MO is to update classic cutting tools with a liberal dose of modern design and materials. Consider their X7 hatchet, pictured above. On the surface it looks like a MOMA interpretation of the one that’s probably kicking around your shop right now. But peel away some of the fiberglass, and it’s pretty clear that (in classic modern design style) its appearance is totally driven by its functionality.
Let’s start with the handle. Maybe a press-fit-with-spike head mount will work for a tack hammer, but it just sucks for anything you’re really gonna wail on. Thankfully a number of manufacturers have come to this conclusion and now offer much better solutions. (Example: My absolute favorite sledgehammer of all time, which I tested the living crap out of for Popular Science a while back. Check out the article for details.) Fiskars takes an insert-molded approach, making a physical connection to the handle early in the manufacturing process, then over-molding the remainder of the FiberComp handle, locking the head permanently in place. Bottom line: the handle’s not coming off, and the composite material is much lighter than steel, yet stronger in the ways you actually need.
Then there’s the blade. It’s forged, with a multi-step hardening process to give you just the right pliability for a sharp yet durable edge. Fiskars also applies a creative multi-geometry grind to give you as much sharpness as you can get with the right wedge for splitting. Throw in a non-stick coating, and you’ve got a blade that Fiskars claims bites three times deeper when chopping.
Fiskars says they’ve significantly addressed balance as well, claiming “increased swing speed and multiplied power.” While we haven’t tested one of these, we can tell you that after testing many, many hammers (and speaking with more than a couple product engineers), balance is one of the single biggest factors separating the awesome from the crap when it comes to swinging hand tools. Hammer manufacturers get this — at least the manufacturers of the hammers you love to own. It’s a science AND an art, and we’re glad to see Fiskars mention this in their product literature.
Of course, we’ll try to get one of these in to try it out, and when we do, we’ll report back. But in the meantime, it looks pretty exciting to us. Street pricing starts at around $25 for the 14″ X7 pictured ($22 w/Prime shipping on Amazon as of this moment), and Fiskars also offers an 8″ X5 ($20), a 23-1/2″ X15 chopping axe ($40), and a 23-1/2″ X17 splitting axe ($40).
I suspect we need to schedule an axe showdown here on Toolmonger soon.