USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- The first time I saw a Pulaski woodland firefighter’s axe I was in grade school, living in Idaho. The family was at a campgrounds in a State Park, and the local smoke jumpers and firefighters were having their end-of-season picnic.
They had some of their gear on display, and I gravitated to the sharp objects. I knew what a hatchet and an axe were (even at that young age), but I could not figure out the purpose of the strange-looking blade that was on the back side of the unique Pulaski axe.
One of the smoke jumpers let me handle the Pulaski axe and told me the second blade was an adze blade, and it was used for digging. The adze (mattock) blade is sort of like a thick reinforced narrow hoe blade. He explained that when you are fighting wilderness fires, you have to be able to quickly switch from chopping wood to digging in the ground and then quickly switching back.
Now, I was in my very early years of grade school, but I still remember that day and the Pulaski axe.
If you have ever read any former National Park Ranger turned outstanding author Nevada Barr’s books, you will know the fictional female Law Enforcement Ranger, Anna Pigeon. Ranger Pigeon always keeps her Pulaski close to fight fires and fight evil. Her Pulaski is a tool and, in times of crisis, a weapon.
I have a good dozen mattocks and Pulaski tools. Along with a dozen axes in multiple sizes, with single-edge and double-edged blades. My problem is I am a gadget person and feel if at all possible, a tool should “do” more than one thing. Think about the Swiss Army knife.
Hardcore Hammers Conservationist TR Axe
Hardcore Hammers of Hillsboro, Ill has come up with yet another cutting tool, the new Conservationist TR Axe. Most Pulaski(s) on the market weigh 4 to 7 pounds and usually come with a 32-36 inch handle. The Conservationist TR Axe is a midsize chopping and digging tool with a 2.5-pound head and can be ordered with a 23 or 27-inch handle. By the way, the “TR” in the name of the axe is for Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th President of the USA and the father of Forestry and Conservation in this country.
An actual mattock digging tool tends to have a heavy head/blade, and it is not a lot of fun to carry for long distances uphill when fighting fires. This is where the lighter and modified Pulaski, named after its inventor Ed Pulaski entered the picture in 1911. Now, Hardcore Hammers has morphed the Pulaski of old into an even lighter, more compact chopping/digging tool with the introduction of the Conservationist TR Axe.
The Conservationist TR Axe head is made of 4140 alloy steel. It has a 4-inch axe blade. The opposite side adze/mattock blade is 1.5 inches wide and 3 inches long. So, yes, it is scaled down from a full-size Pulaski axe, but it is that much more portable and all-around handy. Recalling the Army field-craft skills I had to learn in Infantry school, there is no doubt I could have used this axe in the “field.”
Many of my days in the Boy Scouts involved clearing a campsite, digging a fire pit, chopping up firewood, and doing camp improvement projects. We had a midsize axe to use in those days. The Conservationist TR Axe would have been right at home working those issues back in my youthful days and will work very well for any modern Scout.
U.S. military developed a “pioneer” tool kit for field use. The kit includes an axe, a shovel, and a mattock pick axe. This is not a new concept. Look at photos of WWI, WWII, and even the US Civil War, and you will see tool kits being used in the field. After use, they are bundled up, placed in a wagon or motorized vehicle, and transported to the next location the soldiers are headed.
A small shovel or collapsible military-type entrenching tool along with a Conservationist TR Axe would make an outstanding midsize “pioneer” tool kit for any ATV or UTV you might head out into the wilderness on. This kit would also fit very well in the trunk of your car.
Tools are how man has overcome and survived the challenges and dangers of the great outdoors.
My Hardcore Hammers Conservationist TR Axe will find its new home strapped to the gear basket on the back of my ATV out at the farm. That way, I know where it is at all times, so whenever I get on the vehicle, the TR Axe is there and ready to ride.
~ Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:
Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force, was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and is currently an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safety and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” [email protected]