By John Campbell
This robust little axe found a lot of use while I was in the field-testing it. The approach I usually try to take is how can I use this as my one tool? What can I accomplish using just this one tool? If I was separated from the rest of my equipment and managed to hold on to this tool, will I be OK? The answers to these questions actually surprised me. I was astounded to find out just what I could do with this amazing axe.
Let us put the usual axe uses aside for this article. We all know that an axe can chop and they are very useful tools in shelter construction and more. However, this axe comes with a ferro rod in the handle. This opened the door for so much more. My ideas as to what I could do came running forward. I did not have enough time to do all I wanted to do for this review. First thing, I wanted to process some firewood, not just any firewood I needed to build a special set up that take very little effort to get a blaze going. For this, I found some pine that I had split out for the test. From there I began to shave down some small shavings from the wood. I did this to simulate loosing or possible even breaking my main knife. Even though I had my knife with me, I did not allow myself to use it for this test.
Gripping the rubberized handle, I was comfortable swinging the tool to chop and split. It was over 100 degrees the day I did this and my hands would not quit sweating. This was soaking the handle of the axe yet it stayed in my hand. As the fly’s buzzed around my head and the gnats whined in my ears I kept processing wood.
At left you can see the axe splitting a section of pine. The axe went through amazingly like butter. There was little resistance as I chopped the wood in two.The shape of the handle gives this tool some very good control and power while chopping.
Another goal as mentioned earlier was to make some fine tinder. In this case, the pine was loaded with resin. As I shaved this off the wood, the smell filled the air. This is one of my favorite smells; it reminds me of lighting the wood stove as kid. This wood was not fat-wood, however it had a high amount of resin. This stuff did catch easily and made lighting the fire simple.
Remember the ferro rod in the handle? Just to see if the ferro rod would slip or fall out at any time during the test I left it inserted in the handle. It did rattle a little but it never moved from its place.
Once I got the wood and tinder worked and ready it was time to get the fire going. I found some inner cottonwood bark and worked it into a large tinder bundle. This was placed in the center of the fire lay where the processed wood would go into one the fire was going.
This photo was taken from some video footage to get the best possible effect for the ferro rod being struck with the blade of the axe. You can see it throws a very hot spark. It took one strike and the tinder ignited. The ferro rod in this tool is a very good one to say the least. In the head of the axe, there is a small hole. This is most likely to hang the axe on a nail or screw. I noticed the size of the hole fits any 30 cal bullet, in my mind this can be successfully be used as a bullet puller. Once the bullet is removed from the cartridge the powder can be dumped onto some fine tinder and lit. The ferro rod in the handle will definitely do the job.
Overall Length: 11.80″
Head Width: 5.25″
Cutting Edge: 3.80″
Blade Steel: 3Cr13
Handle Material: PA and TPR rubber
Sheath Material: Thermoplastic
Weight: 1 lb. 7.1 oz.
My final thoughts on the Schrade Extreme Survival Small Axe:
As far as handling and usability, I am very impressed with this tool. I find the hammer on the back of the blade to be a great addition to the tool. This can be used to drive nails it you carry a few in your kit, a meat tenderizer…have you ever eaten black bear? Nuff said! This can also be one formidable defense tool. I liked the sheath and how the axe fit inside; this will not allow the axe to move or otherwise work loose. The snap at first was a little hard to work but that smoothed out with some use. The belt loop will allow carry on up to a 2 inch military belt and with the added grommets in the sheath there are multiple carry options. The weight was just right and did not cause any fatigue while in use. After hours of use, I was very happy with how easy the edge could be sharpened. This to me is a huge deal and has steered me away from certain types of metals. However, in this case it is a beautiful fit. I was very impressed to say the least, look for more articles and future videos on this tool!