When we saw these, we knew we had some exceptional outdoor work tools. Not only is the leverage striking force of these huge, the 6" tough steel Cutting Blade (under very high tension) is only 0.08" (5/64") thick - permitting clean, quick one-blow penetration of any brush or small trees.
The 22" Clearance Tool can be used one-handed as well as two-handed and the cutting head is in line with the handle - allowing equal facility to both right and left handed users. We see it best used on brush from a few feet off the ground to slighty overhead, although you can certainly reach the ground by bending.
The 34" Clearance Tool is a two-handed-only tool. Its cutting head is offset about 10 degrees from the line of the handle. As the edge is offset, when you swing it the blade will cut closely parallel to the ground. It needs to be swung right to left for right-handed users or ambidextrous lefties. The Cutting Blade itself is double sided. These are handsome, rugged lifetime tools.
Scroll down or Click Here to see a video of the simple blade changing method.
In 1964 I started working as a Park Ranger in northern Ontario and have owned 2 of these ever since. A short handle model and a
long handle model I made by simply changing to a long replacement axe handle when it was time to replace the short handle. These tools are very safe compared to axes , much easier and lighter to use. They are better than any machete, brush hook, brush axe or traditional axe for clearing and cutting brush or small trees up to 3" diameter. The blade is so much thinner the tool ends up being remarkably lighter and after 8 hrs that makes a huge difference. The thin rigid blade cuts deep especially if you take your empty hand and put some slight tension on the tree and bend it away from the blade by grasping it about 36 inches up from the ground. It is then in your hand to toss aside as you move on to the next one. You have to work very hard to cut yourself and the heavy frame might bang you but it keeps the blade away from your feet and legs. That same heavy frame keeps the blade away from rocks and gravel.Any flat file or an "axe file" will keep it sharp for years and flipping the blade is a breeze. Axe files are specially designed for sharpening tools in the woods and have a rounded end to form a handle with two cutting edges. The perfect complement to this tool.
- Monday, July 21, 2014
Matt (Sacramento, CA)
I got to try out the short version of one of these for a few weeks and overall it's a decent compromise between large and small tools, with the advantage of a replaceable blade. In comparison with a Wetterlings Bushman axe that I have - the handle is much lighter in color, the grain is not as tight, and not particularly straight with the haft (about 10 o'clock). This is made up for by the fact that the handle is much thicker than the axe handle - it feels almost club-like - which I like, and I don't see it breaking easily. Although, I was a bit worried that it's only secured by a single small screw; the handle was a bit loose and rattly when I got it, and I had to tighten this screw a couple times while I had it.
As for the people saying that the blade can fall out, I'm guessing that's because of some inconsistency in the strength of the steel arch, because I don't see much chance of it happening on the one I had. To give you an idea of the tension on this one; I could place the end of the handle on the floor and put all my body weight on the tip of the arch, and it wouldn't even begin to bend. I never actually took the blade out because I was worried about breaking the handle or stripping that screw.
There was already one small chip in the back side of the blade somehow, and I was a bit concerned about the way that the blade attaches, where all the force seems to be transmitted through the back cutting edge of the blade into the back of the notch, it looks like it's cutting into the metal there. Also, the "sheath" that it comes with is just a couple of cheap bits of folded plastic that slide on the blade, and only cover about 2/3 of it. There are lots of pointy bits on this tool, and the cutting edges of the blade are exposed outside of the arch, so you will need to make a sheath for it if you plan on packing it.
Anyway, I sent it back because of those reasons, because Cliff Stamp also
- Monday, June 02, 2014
Judson Roberts (Springfield, Oregon)
This tool--and I purchased the 34 inch, offset head model--has both pluses and minuses. The blade is very sharp, and will cut fairly easily through even heavy brush. However, I find it somewhat awkward to use for several reasons. First, the offset head should have been canted at even more of an angle, if the intention was to be able to swing the blade parallel to the ground. And the handle should be longer than 34 inches, so you could stand upright and swing it at ground level--I have to bend over to use it that way, which somewhat defeats the purpose. Last, because the cutting blade is relatively short, you cannot chop through large amounts of heavy brush very easily--something I have to deal with regularly on my small farm in Oregon, where we're constantly battling wild blackberry bushes. I find a much more effective tool for that purpose is an Austrian scythe, with a short, wide brush blade--it has a lot of cutting power, and will clear land far more quickly than this tool.
- Sunday, August 11, 2013
Great Brush-Clearing Tool
Paul (Colorado Springs, CO)
I live in the urban-wildland interface and have a fairly large piece of property. I have spent a lot of time doing fire mitigation in the scrub oak surrounding my house since the Hayman fire in 2002. Every year, I have to cut back the ladder fuels where I have thinned the trees. Since scrub oaks send out shoots underground, I always get a lot of small oak saplings that need to be removed. The ground is very steep, so using mechanized means doesn't work. I have tried all kinds of things--pruners, machetes, Woodsman pal, Japanese root sickles, etc., trying to find the most efficient tool. This is now my absolute favorite! With one swing, I can remove shoots that before required bending over, pulling them taught, and cutting them with pruner/machete/Woodsman Pal, etc. This works beautifully, is easy to keep sharp, and once you've gotten enough nicks in the blade, you can just turn it over and use the second edge, and when that gets bad enough, just put in a new blade. If you need to remove brush by hand, this is the ticket.
- Monday, July 29, 2013
My Current Favorite Brush Clearing Tool
Luke (New Windsor, MD)
I really like it. It works really well as a single tool to carry. It's not as good as having a chainsaw and loppers and weed whacker on you, but it's a lot easier to carry. It's more ergonomic than a machete for ground level. You can do things with it you would not do to a real axe, like strike near dirt.
I use it mostly like I'd use a machete, to hack enough away to find and remove the logs and rocks that need to go before mowing.
- Monday, March 12, 2012
Overpriced for what you get
Trevor (Edinburg, VA)
The 22" model is a handy tool and for one handed use, is better than a machete. The 34" model is two handed, but is not beefy enough to handle two handed use. I understand that success with these tools is more about finesse than brute, but I have had the blade pop off several times when making larger cuts. And swapping the blade is a pain unless using a table vise.
Response By: Garrett Wade Tech Department
As the video demonstrates, changing the blade requires a vise, so having the blade pop off in the field is not how the Clearing Tool is intended to perform. It could be a defective item, or you could be asking too much of the tool. If the former, please use the Return Label for a full refund or exchange, and if the latter, you might want to consider another Wetterlings Axe for those “larger cuts”.
- Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Carll Pallokat (Harwinton, CT)
I have had a tool like this for 20 years and it is one of my favorites. For delimbing it is fantastic. It slides right through branches, much easier than an axe and can be done with one hand.
- Sunday, March 27, 2011
David (Macclenny, FL)
I have the 34" version and it's amazing to use. I got mine so sharp I was literally cutting the grass with it (just for fun). Perfect for ground level and waste level weed and brush clearing. It's my favorite tool to use right now.