Few products inspire the nostalgia of a forged Estwing striking tool. Proudly produced on American soil since 1932, it’s not uncommon to hear a construction worker tell you a few stories of that old Estwing hammer that’s been on his tool belt for 20 years. Often times, it was his father’s before his. Estwing’s most popular products are their one-piece forged tools like the Sportsman’s Axe.
Forged of 1055 carbon steel, this axe offers superior edge retention, toughness, and durability. For this reason 1055 is a very popular choice for Japanese katana swords. However, 1055 offers poor corrosion resistance even among carbon steels. Beyond extremely tough steel the Sportsman’s Axe is a one piece forged construction. Therefore nearly indestructible whether used as a hammer, prybar, or throwing axe.
One of my favorite characteristics of the Sportsman’s Axe is it’s availability. Find it at most hardware stores for less than half the price of comparable axes. Although there are “better” axes available, its hard to beat the sheer functionality of such an affordable tool. For that reason it deserves recognition among beginners and experienced outdoorsmen.
Because Estwing has been developing their shock resistance for over 75 years this axe is a joy to swing. The shock resistance mechanics of this axe and an Estwing hammer are the same. Such characteristics are a big reason why carpenters choose an Estwing hammer to swing all day, every day. However the classic leather handle is beautiful; it is outmatched by the more modern fiberglass grip available on some models in terms of durability in shock resistance. While some may prefer a thinner blade profile or thicker neck to choke up on for finer carving tasks, the durability and weight savings of its thinner one-piece construction are a fair trade-off. That being said, it retains superb balance for an all-steel tool.