Japanese Hand Axe

$ 85.5

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Japanese Hand Axe
Laminated blade for sharpness and strength
11P23.06 Japanese Hand Axe

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This is a tough axe with great balance. The 4-1/2" laminated steel blade has a "bearded" shape, which brings the center of gravity closer to your hand. The high-carbon edge is sandwiched between thick layers of softer steel that give the super-sharp edge great strength. It will be particularly good for splitting kindling. Overall length: 13".

This unusual design is based on an axe from the Kofun period in the 3rd Century. It's made for us by blacksmiths in the Niigata prefecture. Japanese tools frequently look different, but those that try them inevitably find them wonderful to use.

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Customer Ratings and Reviews

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Overall Rating
  • Great

    Michelle Briggs, 4/24/2020 Excellent quality for the price, quick and wonderful customer service.
  • Great Hand Ax.

    Bill, 3/31/2019 Excellent hand ax. Better than any I've owned so far. Held it's edge thru 8 scouts learning to use it. A little more attention to detail on the handle to head fit. Easy to tighten, but shouldn't have had to on a new ax.
  • Good value, excellent tool

    Julie, 12/27/2018 Great value for the cost
  • Shoddy handle

    Clayton Carlyle, 12/12/2018 The blade is great quality but the handle in junk. I used this axe for hewing and making kindling and the handle broke after about five uses. Not good craftsmanship. Maybe good for extremely light work but nothing of practical use.
  • Good Value

    Franklin Horst, 10/11/2018 I bought this for spoon carving. It's doing a good job tripping out spoon blanks. Good value!
  • Well worth the money

    Robert macinness, 12/19/2017 The best wood splitting axe I have ever owned. I believe the odd shape along with steel that can be sharpened to a razor edge make it such a great splitter. Well worth the money.
  • Great little ax

    thx1821, 11/12/2017 Ok first off this is not a garden ax, it is a carpenter ax. And I suppose it be good for kindling. My opinion is it belongs in a carpentry shop, I bought it for carving spoons from fire wood. And for that it is wonderful, balanced,good weight, and the high carbon steel gets very sharp and holds its edge. The double wedge on the handle allows it to be used for splitting sm logs to make spoon blanks. Also when I made my order my auto fill filled the wrong in the wrong place so the post office didn't have the right info and sent it back. Customer service was great 10 min he had it sorted out and they shipped right back, no problems no hassles.Very good price to for the quality. I would buy it again but I only need one, and I expect this one will out live me.
  • Japanese Axe

    Maria Marzoa, 11/4/2017 This axe is everything I expected. It is sharp, well made and easy to use.
  • Outstanding splitting axe

    Doc Gottleber, 8/12/2017 This axe is a specialized tool, designed for splitting. The bearded head allows for a grip directly behind the head for precise work. It is not designed for hacking and slashing, but for controlled splitting. It is an outstanding axe for its purpose. I strongly recommend it
  • Cost Effective Tool

    Ken Provus, 5/13/2017 This axe was purchased for roughing out wood for sculpture. So far I have used it twice and felt very comfortable to use, particularly after I rounded off the edges of the handle by the blade. I am impressed by the Japanese Blade with it's easier to sharpen straight bevel and metallurgy. As others have mentioned, some sort of blade cover would be welcomed.
  • Perfect, not expensive, but dont ship to Canada is too expensive

    Sam, 5/5/2017 Really nice piece!!! Feel very well and really really sharp out of the box. Could be very interesting to do a mid-size ( a biger head with a 24" handle) and a big-size too for hard job. The cost of the shipping is the reason of the four star, except that it's all perferct.
  • Kindling Axe

    Thomas, 4/4/2017 I have read reviews elsewhere that gave a sub-par review on this tool. People attempting to chop tree branches and deracinate small trees and shrubs. It still makes me curious as to why someone would give a tool a poor review if it was not used for its intended purpose. This is a kindling axe, nothing more and nothing less. For its function, if used properly, this is a superb tool constructed extremely well with top notch materials. It is build to last a lifetime and I am sure it will. My only gripe is that replacement handles are not made available. If you have a basic knowledge of woodworking constructing a new handle should present no problem. I would definitely purchase this as a gift for people that I know appreciate a quality tool and how to take care of them.
  • japanese hand axe

    tim, 4/3/2017 great little axe, like the way it handles
  • Ideal

    Sean Pierce, 4/3/2017 A bit odd at first but ideal size and weight for kindling. The wide face is more forgiving than the average camp hatchet.
  • Great Axe

    J Scanlon, 9/5/2016 Great little axe, very good for doing fine work or for clearing roots from potting sites
  • Great axe

    Geoff Graves , 7/16/2016 Great little axe! Well balanced and very sharp! Just what I was looking for!
  • Happy Ax owner

    Robert Emley, 6/23/2016 I waited for almost two months for the item to arrive in Alaska, but with free shipping which eliminated the need for speed. I am a woodburner stove user so I expect I will be using the Ax daily when I am not at work. Ax has a nice appearance and the short time I have used it makes me glad that I waited. The Ax has a good and strong balance and what can I say but I am very happy with the Ax. Should you order one -the wait is very much worth the time for it to be mailed to you.
  • One Who Appreciates Good Tools

    Leonard Ablieter, 6/18/2016 It's recommended use is to make kindling for which I bought it. Our exclusive heat source is a woodstove and so I make a lot of fires in a season. It's the best tool for this purpose I've come across. It is light weight, beautifully balanced and powerful. Why do we have to go to Japan for superior tools? I have Japanese damascene kitchen knives, Japanese pruners and of course a Japanese Hori-Hori knife. Anyhow, this is a great tool for its purpose, but remember, it's not a slicing axe.
  • Ergonomic hatchet

    joseph, 6/14/2016 Really nice for kindling and pruning. Great balance for those of us with old hands and wrists.
  • Japanese Hand Axe

    Thomas, 3/4/2016 felt a little strange at first, but works well, a very handy size for camping
  • Kindling Ax

    Morris, 10/5/2015 Sharp, good balance, well weighted, large cutting surface.
  • Hand Axe

    Rick Saunders, 10/5/2015 With weight behind the blade, the sharp chisel edge is able to remove small branches in one whack, and can split or chop. This is light enough to wear on a belt (sheath not included), but heavy and balanced enough to be a truly useful tool for outdoorsmen (or women). Replace the cotton thong with quality leather and it is a tool you will respect and cherish. A true scouter's companion for backpacking.
  • Bearded Axe

    Sub Sailor, 9/15/2015 High qual as advertised.
  • OK

    Cal, 5/13/2015 I wanted a pruning axe and as other reviewers have noted this is a splitting axe, not a cutting axe. The heavily rounded edge is a little challenging to sharpen, and metal seems a bit soft. I used it to chop down and section bamboo, and the rounded edge did not bite well. Great for chopping into dirt such as around sprinkler heads.
  • Great

    Damon, 2/11/2015 The little axe(really a hatchet) is a fantastic wood splitter, very well constructed and works great.
  • Excellent Hand Axe

    Jr Harden, 10/26/2014 Sturdy, well balanced, keeps an excellent edge.
  • Surprising Steel and Edge Quality

    David M., 5/13/2014 I'm impressed with this little axe. The head has a good heft. The handle seems like it will last. The mechanism to tighten the handle to the head is clever and functional. Most notable of all is the steel, however. The edge is beautiful and seems like it will stay that way with a little care.
  • Not For General Use

    Judson Roberts, 1/25/2014 This small axe is, like most Japanese tools I've seen, well made, but it's not well suited for use as a general purpose hatchet, which is what I was looking for. In order to be able to bite deeply when chopping, the blade of an axe or hatchet should be relatively thin near the edge. This blade is much too thick, and the bevel to the edge is the steepest, fattest I've ever seen. It looks like it was designed specifically to be used for splitting wood, but because of its small size and how slender the shaft is, it could only be used to split small pieces of wood. Not what I was looking for--I'm glad Garret Wade has such a reasonable return policy.

    Response By: Garrett Wade Tech Department
    Thanks for you review on the Japanese Hand Axe. We're sorry that it did not suit your purposes. Please feel free to return it for a full refund.
  • Far Better Than Expected

    Shaul, 1/15/2014 After reading all the reviews before making the purchase, I thought I would give this little axe a go. Glad I did! I don't know if this has been changed since some of the other reviews, but I am very pleased. Well balanced even for its small size and they aren't kidding when they say super-sharp". Right out of the package, this little guy is ready to go. Had to give four stars only because I had to make my own sheath as it doesn't include one. Does a great job on small tasks and the bearded blade offers great access on the handle for fine whittling work."
  • Handy Hand Axe

    Belinda, 12/30/2013 I ordered this for my 11 year old son. He is our lighter pine kindling chopper. It went through those lighter pine stumps with ease. Great balance.
  • Japanese Hand Axe

    Lori , 12/23/2013 This is a utility grade Japanese tool. It arrived fairly sharp but greatly benefits from a little touch up honing. The head has a wide convex profile that is perfect for splitting kindling which is the purpose for which I bought this tool. The head profile is not conducive to fine work such as carving. The metal keeper that prevents the head from flying off has sharp edges requiring some filing to be comfortable in the hand. This tool can be used right or left handed. Removing the heavy protective lacquer from the head and handle with thinner and 220 sandpaper improves grip and cutting performance. An inexpensive leather bit guard or sheath is recommended. If you need a sharp nice handling hatchet for cutting kindling this tool is well worth considering.
  • Great Tool

    George, 8/16/2013 I bought now several tools from this On-line store and have been impressed with the quality of their tools! The latest is this Japanese hand axe, which is so nice I want to hang it up on the wall and not use it. The axe is very well balanced and I cannot wait to give it a try!
  • Japanese Hand Axe

    Jon Vordermark, 7/18/2013 Is truly super-sharp. Ready to use.
  • Japanese Axe

    Joey, 4/15/2013 Great tool! Handy and good for Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Japanese Hand Axe

    Michael Mayor, 4/16/2012 I had to purchase this lovely little axe as the one I had gotten previously is resting somewhere in the woods. I'm lost without it, as it is unsurpassed in creating kindling from a variety of native woods.
  • Fine Tuning

    Bernhard, 2/17/2012 Excellent steel in the blade. Good balance and very versatile. Although it came with a keen edge I found that there was a slight cheek on the face of the grind that made the blade prone to skipping when carving. Flattening the face of the grind solved this problem and made this tool my favorite carving hatchet.
  • IAGardener

    Ded, 1/3/2011 Excellent tool. Just plain excellent. Wonderful balance/feel in the hand. Proud to own it. Good enough for the wall of my shop, and I'm a very picky sob.
  • This Axe Is Really Good

    Joe Nelson, 11/29/2010 I cut my own firewood, and butcher my own game. I own several Swedish made axes, and this is just as good at 1/3 of the price!
  • I'm Makin' A Holster

    UT1, 4/16/2010 All it needs is a good holster. I love this tool, for carving, fieldwork, making kindling, clearing brush. It's as handy as any knife and much more robust. I'm makin' a holster.
  • Edge Bevel

    Bernhard, 4/15/2010 The edge bevel is a little fat for the carpentry style work I was planning to use this hatchet for, best for a little more rugged use. Nice balance and well made.
  • Great Buy

    Bill Finley, 2/2/2010 I purchased this hand axe with a Christmas gift card. I am well pleased with the quality and design and amazed with the 'Factory edge'. Very good 'heft', and would highly recommend it to anyone.
  • 5 Stars, With Precaution

    Charley Radtke, 1/26/2010
  • Axe vs Big Knife

    Larry Kramer, 4/21/2009 Out of the yard and into the woods, you are inclined to carry a bigger and bigger knife, until you might as well be carrying an axe or hatchet. This Japanese axe doubles as a knife because it is so sharp and because you can get your hand up in that open space behind the blade for close work. I made a crude blade guard from sheet metal, and put it in my belt for woods carry. Because of that cut-out behind the blade, it rides pretty well.
  • Handy Axe

    Waspswatter, 4/18/2009 This is a beautiful little axe. It has a good heft and is well built.
  • Sharp Hatchet

    Kerry, 4/15/2009 I really like this little hatchet. Excellent quality and sharpness typical of most Japanese tools. I use it for cutting small pieces of wood for my Kelly Kettle (volcano stove) also sold by Garret Wade. Another excellent product!
  • Great Hunter's Axe

    Mark Hart, 4/2/2009 I use this axe when deer hunting. I clean around my stand area, but also able too field dress a quarter my deer. I know this sounds a bit un-orthodox, but this is really up to the task. Perfect size and weight very high quality...did I mention it's sharp.
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