Gränsfors Bruk Small Forest Axe: Review

Wednesday, May 8, 2024
There are many kinds of axes in the world but we feel you define them into two groups, they are either designed and hand made by Gränsfors Bruk and then there is everyone else in the axe market such as Hultafors or Wetterlings...

Or what ever Gimli prefers...
The Gränsfors Bruk Small Forest Axe is excellent for felling trees and climbing about the forest or range and is a quality tool when compared to similar kinds - what sets it out is its strength of character in the field and that it's one of the sharpest axes you can buy 'off the shelf' without having to hone its edge yourself. 

best small forest axe

The axe is delivered with a sheath and features:
  • Length with handle: 19 inch, Comes original Gransfors "Axe-book"
  • A reason weight: 2 lbs
  • It's perfect for splitting small sticks or cutting limbwood
  • The Small Forest Axe is excellent for felling trees and limbing
  • Cut your own kindling wood with ease (it's fine for urban use).

The small forest axe, as the name implies would not be ideal for someone looking for an axe to whittle and carve wood (that would be a more straight-edge model axe), however, if you are looking for a bit more power in your swing, you might prefer an axe as it's 19-inch handle allows for increased momentum and control with harder strokes.

While not specifically a survival axe or hatchet, its utility means you can consider it for such purposes. It is certainly a suitable axe for having around a cabin or lodge and taking on a busman's camping trip. 

Because Gransfors Bruks are handmade, they’re all going to be a little bit different from one another. 
They aren’t perfectly smooth and polished, each axe comes from the forge with unique characteristics - and so they are not all uniform in look. 

As you would expect, the hatchet only weighs two pounds which is quite lighter than 'standard sized' woodman's log splitting axes, so it is light enough to carry around with you on your hip or in a rucksack.

They will all have the same weight and feel - and that is in part due to the handles are shaped from American hickory, which time has shown is simply one of the best kinds of wood to use for axe handles (the other popular kind being Ash).

best small axe for back packing

Don't take our word for it, however, here are some Amazon reviews from users who have felt the hickory in their hands and swung the head down hard: 

"This axe was highly recommended by Cliff Jacobson, in his excellent book "Expedition Canoeing" He had such good information in there. Some of which I already knew, so I took a chance on his tool preference. He's right! You can bet your life on it. You can shave with this thing! It has great balance, and great handle design. Perfect size for a car. Big for a pack, but you get full performance in a relatively small package."

"This has to be my favorite axe for packing out into the country when camping and hunting."

"The Rolls Royce of axes. Be VERY careful, these things are RAZOR sharp. I've never had an axe that was this sharp, I figured something as thick as a axe head couldn't be sharped like a filet knife but I was wrong. This thing can literally shave the hairs off your arm when new. I've used it a couple camping trips and it's the perfect size."

"Great product. Axe is quite light. Very high quality materials used. Holds a very sharp edge after a lot of use. Great all around axe and very portable!"

"This axe is an amazing axe! It is traditionally made, no synthetics! When it came, the grind was perfect, and was the sharpest thing I have ever felt. The reason why I took off a star was because this axe is ment for soft woods. This axe has no problem getting dull when I use it in hardwood such as maple. I shouldn't say dull, I mean "less sharp" than before but still useable. This is meant for alpine areas, such as woodlands with a lot of pine trees, or birch and beech trees."

"Weight is balanced very well. Handle curvature is amazing in the hand, well, as comfy as if gets for a tool."

If you think this axe will help you sever limbs from trees quite well, check it out on Amazon.

Remember to oil your axe regularly. 

May the PBW Be with You: Harnessing the Galactic Power of Cleaning in Brewing

Saturday, April 27, 2024

 For homebrew enthusiasts and professional brewers alike, cleanliness is a cornerstone of successful brewing. 

Powdered Brewery Wash (PBW), developed by Five Star Chemicals, has become an essential product in maintaining immaculate brewing equipment. 

Originally designed for use in Coors Brewery, PBW's effectiveness and safety have made it a popular choice across North America's brewing communities.

May the PBW Be with You Harnessing the Galactic Power of Cleaning in Brewing

Benefits of Using PBW

PBW excels in removing stubborn residues from brewing vessels, such as the protein build-up at the bottom of a stainless steel boil pot. Its ability to break down these residues without scrubbing makes it highly valued among brewers.

With a biodegradable formula, PBW is an eco-conscious choice. It is designed to be safe for septic systems, reducing environmental impact.

Beyond brewing equipment, PBW is effective in cleaning various kitchen appliances and utensils. It can be used to clean dishwashers, remove odors from organic substances, and even help strip labels from beer bottles.

Unlike more caustic cleaners like sodium hydroxide, PBW does not pose a significant risk to the skin and does not emit strong odors, making it safer for home use.

How to Use PBW for Optimal Results

Using PBW is straightforward and requires minimal effort:





Measure PBW

Determine the level of soil on the equipment. Use 1 ounce of PBW per gallon of water for light cleaning, and 2 ounces per gallon for heavily soiled equipment.


Soak the equipment

Fill the vessel with the PBW solution. Ensure all surfaces are submerged. Leave the solution to soak overnight, allowing PBW time to dissolve and lift residues.


Remove PBW and residues

After soaking, drain the solution. Rinse the equipment thoroughly with clean water to ensure no cleaner remains. Multiple rinses might be necessary for optimal results.

cleaning beer equipment with PBW

Cleaning vs. Sanitizing: A Crucial Distinction

It is important to note that cleaning with PBW does not equate to sanitizing. Cleaning removes visible soils and residues, preparing the surface for effective sanitization.

To ensure that all potential contaminants are eradicated, a sanitizer such as Star San should be used after cleaning, especially if the equipment will not be used immediately.

The Science Behind PBW

PBW's formula is engineered to tackle tough residues found in brewing environments. The primary active ingredients include:

  • Sodium Metasilicate: This compound is effective against oils and grease, breaking down organic compounds that can soil brewing equipment.
  • Sodium Percarbonate: When mixed with water, it releases hydrogen peroxide, an oxidizing agent that helps in cleaning and has mild sanitizing properties.

This combination allows PBW to effectively remove the protein residues and hop oils that cling to brewing vessels, ensuring a comprehensive clean without the need for harsh scrubbing.

HANDY TIP: Sodium Percarbonate is a great cleaner that can be found in ordinary home wash products, If you buy it in the form of laundry soak, it will be super cost-effective.

DIY PBW: Homemade Alternatives

For brewers interested in a DIY approach, a mixture of TSP/90 (Trisodium Phosphate) and Oxiclean can approximate the cleaning power of PBW. While this homemade solution can be effective, it is important to understand the distinct roles of its components: Oxiclean primarily sanitizes, whereas TSP/90 acts as the cleaner.

guide to use power brewery wash

Incorporating PBW into your brewing cleaning regimen can greatly enhance both the ease and effectiveness of your brewing process.

Its ability to thoroughly clean without harsh chemicals, coupled with its versatility and safety, makes PBW an invaluable tool for any brewer seeking to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness in their craft.

The best water proof lawnmower covers

Choosing the best cover for your lawnmower

If you don't have a nice and dry place to store your battery powered lawn mower or you want to store your mower for the long term, a waterproof cover will help keep the mower free of dust and rust.

It doesn't matter if you have a push or sit-on mower, both kinds of machinery can succumb to the elements if not stored under some form of cover properly so it's really important to get some heavy-duty cover care.

Have you ever had to replace a spark plug in a mower because it rusted out?

Chances are poor storage was in part to blame as it was exposed to moisture.

It also doesn't matter if your grass cutter is gas or electric & battery powered, both kinds of engines need protection from the rainy elements and general dampness.

best push lawnmower cover

What to look for in a lawn mower cover?

  • Needs to be waterproof to keep moisture off the engine
  • It should be made of heavy-duty, tear-resistant material
  • Easy to take on and off
  • Is a universal fit
  • It is resistant to mould building up
  • Will block UV light radiation
  • Doesn't need to be a brand name, can be generic

Our recommended product is the ToughCover Premium Waterproof Lawn Mower Cover - it meets our criteria and is good value for money:
The ToughCover features a drawstring around the base to help keep everything snug and will help keep it attached should it be subject to windy conditions if stored outside.

If you are planning to store the lawnmower outside, it clearly needs to be resistant to all kinds of weather conditions - water is the obvious one but it's got to be able to keep the wind out as the wind will place dust and dirt on it. 

In some parts of the country snow is a problem and so the cover needs to be able to keep that out too - especially when the snow melts!

The WeatherPRO is a slightly cheaper cover:

WeatherPRO decree their cover is made with 100% Marine-Grade advanced Polyester material with special co-polymer additives which assures it offers UV protection and water repellency.

A user left a review on Amazon:

"Very nice cover. I had been using a much more flimsy style cover from another source. Seemed like that particular cover would never last more than a few months in the elements, so I searched Amazon and gave this one a try for a change. This one has been on my mover for a few weeks now, and it does a great job covering pretty much the entire lawn mower. Much more coverage than my old cover did.

It also holds up in bad weather much better than any I've had.

We've had several bad thunderstorms, with the covered lawnmower out in the open, and this cover takes torrential rain and heavy wind like a champ. Lawn mower bone dry under the cover even after the bad storms. Amazed by how nice this cover is for the price. Awesome product"

If that spins your wheels, check out the price on Amazon:

Briggs and Stratton and Husqvarna all make covers but remember, you can simply buy generic, one size fits all options at a cheaper price if you want!

What's the best protective cover for a ride on lawn mower?

Ride on lawn mowers naturally benefit from covers, especially if you don't have a shed or shelter and they need to be left outside. Aside from the weather, ride on covers protect against pollen, bird shit and debris such as pine needles.

All the big brands such as John Deere make them, and so we're featuring Deere's product:

best ride on lawn mower cover
  • Dual vents let air circulate and help prevent ballooning in winds
  • Elastic shock cord in bottom hem for a quick, custom fit
  • Coated fabric for maximum water protection
  • Handy storage pocket reverses into an attractive storage case
  • Fits all 100 - X300 Series riding mowers.
This cover should fit most standard size ride on lawn mowers. If you need a bigger size, John Deere has it

If you are looking for a cover that's more economical, then we're heading back to Tough Cover for their handy product.

  • The Tough Cover is crafted with 600D marine grade fabric and features double-stitched seams for enhanced durability over its long lifetime.
  • The durable fabric cover is designed to suit most common-size lawn tractors with decks up to 54" and to ensure convenient application and maximum protection.
  •  Allows an effective coverage of the entire surface of your riding lawn mower and comes with a practical storage bag for your convenience.

Review: Makita XCU04PT LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 16" Chain Saw Kit

Wednesday, April 24, 2024
The Makita XCU04PT LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 16" Chain Saw Kit (5.0Ah) stands out as a pinnacle of portable cutting technology, encapsulating the progress and innovation synonymous with Makita, a revered leader in the world of power tools

Makita's commitment to providing durable and efficient tools is evident in their adoption of brushless motor technology, which enhances the performance and longevity of their products. The XCU04PT model, in particular, promises convenience without compromising on power, boasting a battery-operated system that frees users from the constraints of gas or corded electric models

Whether you are managing a backyard or a professional jobsite, this chain saw is engineered to deliver top-notch performance with its robust 16-inch blade and high-capacity 5.0Ah batteries.

Makita XCU04PT LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 16" Chain Saw Kit

In this review, we will explore the capabilities of the Makita XCU04PT in various conditions, examine its ergonomic design, and assess its practical features. 

We aim to provide a comprehensive review that will assist potential buyers in making an informed decision about this high-tech tool's place in their tool arsenal.

Battery EfficiencyBattery Lifespan Under Continuous Use
- Two 5.0Ah batteries included for long runtime- Batteries may deplete quickly in heavy-duty, continuous use situations
- Fast recharge capability reduces downtime
Lightweight DesignWeight Distribution
- At 19.2 pounds, it is lighter than many gas-powered counterparts- May feel heavy after extended use, especially for users not used to cordless saws
Advanced Safety FeaturesInitial Cost
- Built-in lock-off lever to prevent accidental start- Higher upfront cost compared to some other models, though offset by lower maintenance costs
- Quick stop chain brake for emergency stopping
Low Noise LevelCutting Power Limitations
- Quieter operation suitable for residential areas without disturbing the peace- While powerful, may not match the raw power output of larger gas models for the toughest tasks
Ease of MaintenanceAccessory Costs
- Tool-less chain adjustment and easy-access components simplify maintenance- Additional costs for spare batteries or replacement parts
Built-in lock-off lever helps prevent the chain from accidentally engaging

Makita XCU04PT LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 16" Chain Saw Kit

Makita LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Chain Saw Kit Product Specifications

Power Source and Battery Performance

The Makita XCU04PT is powered by a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery, which signifies a shift towards more eco-friendly and efficient power tools. This model includes two 5.0Ah batteries that are part of Makita's expansive LXT system, known for its fast charge times and long-lasting power. We will discuss how these batteries contribute to the overall performance and convenience of the chain saw, considering factors like total run time, recharge speed, and interoperability with other tools in the LXT lineup.

Motor and Horsepower

Equipped with a brushless motor, the Makita XCU04PT benefits from increased efficiency and reduced wear compared to traditional brushed motors. The motor is engineered to output a power equivalent to a 32cc gas chain saw, which is quite impressive for a battery-operated model. Here, we will explore the technical aspects of the brushless motor, including its impact on the chain saw's cutting power and overall energy consumption.

Physical Dimensions

This section will provide details on the physical attributes of the XCU04PT, including its weight, length, and handling features. At 19.2 pounds and measuring 21.9 inches in length, the tool's design impacts its maneuverability and ease of use, especially in prolonged cutting tasks or when working in tight spaces. We'll examine how these dimensions facilitate or hinder performance and user comfort.

Design and Build Quality

The Makita XCU04PT is crafted with high-quality materials that ensure durability and performance. The use of rugged plastics and metals in its construction not only enhances its robustness but also its ability to withstand the rigors of both residential and commercial use. We will delve into the specifics of the materials used and their contribution to the overall sturdiness of the chain saw.

Makita has prioritized ergonomics in the design of their XCU04PT chain saw. The handle configuration and weight distribution play crucial roles in reducing user fatigue and enhancing control during operation. This section will assess the ergonomic features of the saw, focusing on how they enhance user comfort and control during extended use.

The durability of a chain saw is critical, particularly for those who frequently tackle heavy-duty cutting tasks. The Makita XCU04PT is designed to endure harsh conditions and continuous use. In this part of the review, we will evaluate the longevity of the saw under various operational stresses, discussing how its build quality can affect its lifespan and maintenance needs.


The Makita XCU04PT excels in its cutting capabilities, thanks to its brushless motor that delivers power equivalent to a 32cc gas-powered saw. This section evaluates how effectively the saw cuts through different materials, including hardwood and softwood. We will measure its efficiency in terms of battery usage per cut and compare it with gas-powered models to underscore the benefits and potential limitations of cordless technology in heavy-duty tasks.

With a chain speed of 3,940 Feet Per Minute (FPM), the XCU04PT is designed for quick and clean cuts, reducing the effort needed to saw through large diameters. We'll discuss how the high chain speed impacts the overall performance, including the quality of cuts and the saw's ability to handle continuous use without overheating.

One of the significant advantages of the XCU04PT is its relatively low noise level compared to gas chain saws, which is particularly beneficial in residential areas or noise-sensitive environments. This part will detail the decibel levels recorded during various operations and how this affects user comfort and possible use scenarios.

Maintenance is crucial for the longevity and efficiency of any power tool. The Makita XCU04PT's tool-less chain adjustment and easy-access components simplify the routine maintenance tasks. We'll explore these features, discuss the general upkeep of the saw, and provide tips on extending its life through proper care.

Features of the Makita Chainsaw Kit

Safety cannot be overstated when dealing with powerful cutting tools. The XCU04PT includes several safety features such as a built-in lock-off lever to prevent the chain from engaging accidentally and a quick stop chain brake for emergency stops. This section will review these safety mechanisms in depth, assessing their reliability and ease of use.

Makita has incorporated several convenient features into the XCU04PT, including LED indicators for battery life and an automatic oiler to ensure the chain remains lubricated during use. We will highlight these additional features, examining how they contribute to the overall functionality and user experience of the saw.

Product specifications of Makita XCU04PT

Power SourceCordless
Horsepower5 Watts
Item Weight19.2 Pounds
Product Dimensions21.9"L x 10.2"W x 10.2"H
Chain Length16 Inches
Chain Speed3,940 FPM
Item model numberXCU04PT
Batteries2 Lithium Ion batteries required. (included)
Customer Reviews4.5 out of 5 stars, 798 ratings
Best Sellers Rank#55,471 in Patio, Lawn & Garden (See Top 100 in Patio, Lawn & Garden)
#239 in Power Chain Saws
Is Discontinued By ManufacturerNo

Safety Record of Makita Battery-Powered Chain Saws

Makita's commitment to safety is well-reflected in their line of battery-powered chain saws, including the Makita XCU04PT. These tools are designed with numerous safety features that enhance their safe operation while minimizing potential risks associated with chain saw use. 

Makita battery-powered chain saws are equipped with several advanced safety features aimed at protecting the operator:
  • Chain Brake: This critical safety feature stops the chain almost instantly when a kickback occurs, significantly reducing the risk of injury.
  • Lock-Off Lever: Prevents the accidental start of the chain saw, ensuring that the saw will only operate when intentionally activated by the user.
  • Electric Chain Brake: Provides additional protection against kickback, enhancing user safety during operation.
  • Low Kickback Chain and Bar: Designed to reduce the force of kickback, which is one of the most common hazards of chain saw use.

Makita ensures that all its power tools, including battery-powered chain saws, comply with international safety standards, such as those set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Compliance with these standards ensures that each saw is built to meet rigorous safety criteria before it reaches the consumer.

The safety record of Makita's battery-powered chain saws reflects a well-established commitment to user safety and product reliability. The combination of advanced safety features, compliance with international safety standards, and a strong emphasis on consumer education helps to minimize risks and ensure that these tools can be used effectively and safely in a variety of environments. 

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top