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Wetterlings: say no more!

Richard Tregoweth - Sunday, August 09, 2009

Axe. There is something mystical about the word. If you are into axes you will know Wetterlings. Originally brought to New Zealand for the now redundant Govt Stores Board, Wetterlings were used by various Government Ministries, in particular the NZ Army.  Wetterlings have not generally been available to the public. But you can still buy them direct from Treetools.

The manufacturer, S.A. Wetterlings have been around for over 100 years and they are axe fanatics. Check this from their 1947 axe handling instructions: "if the steel becomes brittle in freezing temperatures of the winter the axe should be warmed, preferably with the woodcutters' own body" - now that's extreme!

Each Wetterlings is hand forged - no one axe is the same as another. Every axe that leaves the factory in Storvik, Sweden has its own unique character and every one bears its own distinguishing marks. The fact these axes are hand-made can be a little disconcerting to some of Treetools customers - to them, Wetterlings lack the 'finish' of a mass produced axe. That's because there are only 10 blacksmiths working in the S.A. Wetterlings (SAW for short) factory. They possess know-how passed on from one generation to the next, hand-forging axes to a hardness of 58-59° Rockwell. Somehow these craftsmen transform manual power into almost indestructible axe heads - quality not equaled with mass production.

If you are buying one of the bigger Wetterlings (Yankee 200 and Yankee 180) look for the SAW logo stamped into the axe head - the weight is usually on the reverse side. Also check the handle - Wetterlings turn their own handles using brown heartwood American hickory. The smaller axes - Camper and Yankee 100 - don't have the SAW logo stamp but have the SAW sticker instead.

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