Bark River Knives at Crystal Falls Trading Company

Wetterlings Axes

The history of Wetterlings started over 100 years ago. On a spring day in 1882 the engineer Otto Wetterling disembarked from a train in Storvik Sweden. For several years he had studied the production of axes in the USA. His brother, Sven Axel Wetterling had earlier started producing axes on a small scale in a forge in Storvik. His company was named S. A. Wetterlings Manufacturer, or, in short, S. A. W.

Otto Wetterling immediately became supervisor. Using ideas gained from the new country, and craftsmanship and experience from the old, the brothers created a piece of legendary industrial history. Since then the forge has been in uninterrupted use for almost 125 years.

Today, 10 people proudly continue the tradition of producing world class axes. The forge is in Storvik twenty kilometers west of Sandviken. An area in Sweden where people since time for the vikings have worked with iron.

Wetterling Axes are hand forged from quality Swedish steel alloyed from iron, carbon, silicon, manganese and vanadium. Hand forging uses presses that deliver many blows, making the axe edges stronger than if they were drop forged. The special axe steel alloy makes high quality hardening possible. After grinding, hardening and tempering, the Wetterling axes keep a Rockwell hardness of 57-58. These are the main reasons the Wetterling axes hold a keen edge with good "string" longer than most axes.

The handles are lathed from American hickory. The best stress capacity and resistance to blows make hickory the wood of choice for good axe handles.

An axe from Wetterlings is made to last. With a little care, your axe could last forever.

Sharpening Your Axe
Keep your axe sharp, grind it regularly. Use a whetstone or grindstone. Be careful to moisten the grindstone, dry grinding will damage the cutting edge. The cutting edge must not become hotter than 220°C since steel loses its tempering (hardness) above this temperature. Never use an emery-wheel or file. A file will always leave grooves that can increase the risk of breakage in the steel.

Oiling and Greasing
To avoid rust you should occasionally oil or grease the axe head. Keep your axe in a dry place, but not too dry and warm as the wooden handle could shrink and become brittle and gaps might appear in the fitting between the handle and the axe eye.

The handle is of prime American hickory and securely fitted in the eye of the axe with wooden and steel wedges.

The raw steel is heated to 1200°C and cut into suitable lengths depending on what type of axe is to be made.

The blacksmith hammers the glowing steel in a forging press.

The hammer and anvil are used for the finishing touches. The hands of a blacksmith are still the best tools when producing an axe.

During the whole process the axe heads are heated repeatedly. This gives the steel superb durability and means a very sharp edge can be achieved.
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