Draper Expert fibreglass axe

Draper Expert fibreglass axes – Power in your hands

IT’S autumn again. Unfortunately, it’s time for thinking about long, cold winter evenings and keeping warm. And I would bet that many of us who rely on electrical or gas-powered heat sources are wincing at the recently announces price rises.

A wood burner could be a way to save some cash to get a more atmospheric ambient heat, especially if you can gather logs and branches for free and process them into the size required for log burners.

Step forward the Draper Expert fibreglass axes. A quick look online at the Draper range of axes shows some traditional looking tools with wooden handles, but these Expert ones stand out in their modern livery with black blades and shafts with bright fluorescent green handles. It is clear that some thought has gone into the design of these Expert axes which makes them stand out from the crowd.

Looking axe-ceptional

I was sent two axes to try out – a small 355mm long hatchet and the 710mm long log splitting version.

Draper Expert Fibreglass Axe

I really got to like the small hatchet quite quickly as I had just had a load of logs delivered and needed to split a few of the small ones to aid in stacking them. The hardwood logs, about 300mm long and up to 120mm in diameter, could largely be split with one well-directed, but not too energetic, single wack. The blade is supplied sharpened to a level that is a good balance between strength and sharpness and would be easy to tickle up the edge again with a file or grinder. It even survived a couple of accidental chops into the concrete I was balancing the logs on.

The fluorescent green handle feels and works better than the picture readers might have in their imaginations. The surface of the handle is gently but grippily textured and has a “hook” on the bottom that enables the user to hold the tool at an optimum position for splitting and chopping. Made of black glass fibre, the rest of the handle seamlessly contains the head of the axe and the shaft. It is absolutely rigid and strong but has some shock-absorbing properties to help protect the user’s hands. There is also a small hole through the handle to attach a wrist strap or hanging loop.

As usual, shopping around can reduce the Draper Catalogue price of £40.78.

The split time

Draper Expert axe in use

At 710mm long, the splitting axe was shorter than I expected and I imagined that it would not have the oomph of a longer-handled version. In fact, I decided that for most users, this would be a better tool than a longer-handled version.

In the hand, it feels easy to control and the extra weight of the axe head delivers a powerful blow at the point of impact. The result was that I seemed to be able to split logs more easily than I have done with bigger ones. I used it very successfully on some big ash logs, on which some of the grain was not straight and I was impressed with how the design really added to its ability to split logs.

Again the ‘hook’ on the handle aided handling and control there was also a small hole for a wrist strap or for handing on a nail in the shed – should you be careless enough to lose the natty blade cover.

Splitting axes need to have triangular-shaped blades to force the wood grain apart quickly and this axe has just such an arrangement. Cleveryly, the fibre glass handle is thinner than the blade at its thickest so it should avoid being damaged as it is powered through its split

Like the smaller hatchet above, the green grip is textured, grippy and comfortable. Again the ‘hook’ at the base of the handle enables the bottom hand to grip and control the tool, while the upper hand provides the splitting speed and power.

A quick look at the blade shows a steepish bevel that is needed for a splitting axe.

Again this is easy to sharpen up using a file or grinder without losing the important factory-ground angle.

Splitting axes need to have a triangular sharpened blade for the wood grain apart quickly and this axe has just such an arrangement. Cleverly, the fibreglass handle is thinner than the blade at its thickest so it should avoid being damaged as it is powered through its split

The catalogue price is £82.78 so look around on the net for very competitive prices

Draper Expert Fibreglass axe packaging

For retail ease

The packaging on these axes needs a mention because it not only displays the products well but adds significantly to the safety and ease of handling the product before purchase. This is done by having the blades covered in an enveloping case that allows buyers to look at them safely.

The case has a built-in handle and a hole for a standard shop displaying hook. retailers can display them easily and securely, but when the security cable tie is cut away, the small release lever can be slid down to allow the axe to be opened and used. when stored in all its case it can be hung up in a shed, easily carried and the blade will be kept covered safely when not actually in use.

The pros of these two axes are the design of the integrated head and handle that makes for sleek and smooth handling and optimum use of human energy. It is often said that burning wood warms you twice – once in splitting and once in the stove. But maybe the first warming won’t be as much of a strain as in previous eras!

For further information on these axes visit www.drapertools.com

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