Minnesota's Logging Heritage
When you think of a lumberjack, what state are you thinking of? If you said Minnesota, you’re probably in the majority. According to the old folk tale of Minnesota, it is said that the state’s 10,000+ lakes were formed by none other than Paul Bunyan with each footprint leaving another lake as he explored the state. In fact, the first documented printed story of Paul Bunyan was right here in Duluth; published by the Duluth News Tribune in 1904. Before saws and modern logging equipment, lumberjacks in Minnesota relied primarily on axes to get the job done. At Duluth Pack, we have partnered with the highest quality outdoor companies, Hults Bruk and Gransfors Bruk to remind us of Minnesota’s role in the logging industry with top-quality axes and hatchets.
The Territory of Minnesota was officially created in 1849. By this time, the logging industry was in full swing. At first, the major hubs bordered the St. Croix and Rum Rivers, but as time passed, they moved north and inward. Lumber production peaked in 1905 with the development of larger sawmill towns, including Duluth. The Minnesota industry currently was producing roughly 2 billion board feet annually. To give you an idea, that’s enough to circle the earth with an inch-thick, 14-foot-wide boardwalk.
Axes were replaced by two-man saws because of efficiency but in the beginning, it was axing all the way. Axes still have practical use today for wood splitting, camping, canoe trips, and countless other activities. Duluth Pack offers a variety of high-quality axes and hatchets to make sure that you’ll have the right tool for what you’re needing. Let’s go over some of the axes we offer and the purpose of each one.
As its name suggests, this axe is primarily used for cutting down trees. The 26-inch handle and 2-pound head give this axe an ideal length and power; large enough to swing with enough force but small enough for easy carry and transportation. This hand-forged axe is struck multiple times to ensure a more durable steel axe head. It also features a linseed treated handle and a tempered zone to ensure the edge stays sharp time after time. Each axe comes with a traditional leather sheath embellished with traditional Swedish decorative elements.
This is the axe that brings out the tradition of tree chopping. Double bit axes served a purpose with each edge. One side was typically finely honed and was used as the “felling side”. The other end was usually more blunted to handle knots and close to ground cutting so that the edge was less likely to chip or become damaged. Today, double bit axes are used in throwing competitions, but they also make great working axes by allowing you to chop more without having to sharpen as often. You can just turn the axe over and keep chopping!
This compact hatchet is made for smaller jobs such as creating kindling or clearing out light brush. Its size makes it the perfect hatchet for bringing along in your pack for your camping or canoe trip. The axe head is constructed identically to that of the Kias but with half the weight. The handle is 9.4 inches in length and is also treated with linseed oil. The Jonaker also comes with its own sheath and Duluth Pack offers a bundle to include it with one of our own leather axe holders.
This axe can be used for all kinds of splitting firewood. The axe cuts easily into the wood and then pulls it apart as it broadens. This axe features a protective steel collar below the axe head as well as circular groves toward the handle for easier gripping. The handle is 27 inches long with a 3 ½ lbs axe head. This tool could be the last splitting axe you ever buy.
These axes and hatchets are just a small select few compared to the abundant amount Duluth Pack sells in the flagship retail store and online at DuluthPack.com. We also sell a variety of sharpening stones, files, axe holsters, and other accessories.
Happy adventuring, friends!