Schrade SCAXE9 Locking Saw Axe Reviewed
Marketing from Schrade
Versatility is at the heart of this eighteen inch axe. With a Ti-Nitride coated axe head with a 3.27 inch blade, hammer pommel, and twelve inch wood saw, the SCAXE9 eagerly takes on a host of outdoor chores.
The titanium coated stainless steel head is shaped from 3Cr13 steel, tough enough to absorb high impact blows. The blade is easily resharpened. Use the pommel on the back side of the head to drive stakes or as a crushing tool.
The black, glass fiber filled full-length PA handle is molded to the axe head for durability and increased safety. Use a low grip on the handle for power strokes. For increased control, slide your hand up the handle shaft to just below the axe head where a gentle contour offers a comfortable grip.
Pop the saw blade safety snap and press the button at the base of the handle to release the integrated wood saw. A nail nick in the saw blade lets you easily rotate the blade into either of two locking positions. The twelve inch blade’s sharp teeth chew through wood, making short work of cutting tasks where a good saw comes in handy.
To return the blade back into the handle of the SCAXE9, simply hold down the release button… as you rotate the saw so that it rests protected in the handle. Snap the retaining strap for added safety.
A black nylon belt sheath lets you carry the the axe comfortably at your side while protecting the blade from dirt and grime.
A versatile axe for camp, farm, or home… crafted from premium materials… and built for a lifetime… this is the Schrade SCAXE9 Locking Saw Axe.
Manufacturer: Schrade, www.schrade.com
Overall Length: 18.06 inches (45.90 cm)
Blade Steel: Titanium-Nitride Coated 3Cr13 Stainless Steel
Blade Length: 3.27 inches (8.30 cm)
Saw Blade Length: 12 inches (30.48 cm)
Saw Blade Thickness: .0625 inch (1.59 mm)
Handle Material: Black Glass Fiber Filled PA with TPR Rubber Grip Overlay
Handle Length: 16 inches (40.64 cm)
Grip Length: 5.6 inches (14.22 cm)
Weight: 2.12 lbs (33.92 oz)
Accessories: Ballistic Nylon Sheath
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty against any manufacturing defects
Humans have always looked for effective ways to lighten their load and reduce the volume they need to carry. Multi-functional gear can often fill that void. Today I’ll be going over Schrade’s new 18-inch combination axe and 12-inch folding saw, the SCAXE9 Locking Saw Axe.
At first look, Schrade’s SCAXE9 shares some similarities with their SCAXE2L. The blade steel is made from the same titanium-coated 3Cr13 stainless steel. The SCAXE9 handle is also made from the same black glass fiber-filled PA with a similar TPR rubber grip overlay. But that is where the similarities end between the two.
The SCAXE9’s axehead is not near as broad as that of the SCAXE2L, and the hammer pommel is not milled either. Additionally, the handle has also been straightened and hollowed to accommodate the 12″ collapsible saw blade.
When I first picked up the SCAXE9 for the first time, the first thing that I noticed were the rough edges along both sides of the hollowed section of the handle. While the edges are not exactly sharp, they could certainly stand to be rounded to prevent blistering while using the axe without gloves. I also noticed the TPR rubber grip overlay is also only about 5.5″ long which is at least 1.5″ short for a comfortable two-handed grip of the handle.
Another concern that I have is with the hollowed section of the handle. The real question in my mind is whether or not the missing material will negatively affect the strength, rigidity and overall performance of the SCAXE9. We’ll find out the answer to that question soon enough.
The saw blade is held securely in the closed position with a three-position locking system in addition to a fixed 9/16″ nylon strap and button for added safety. Hidden beneath the strap is a nail-groove to swing the sawblade open once the button release has been pressed. The sawblade also locks at two open positions at 120° and 180°.
The sheath is made from a multi-layer ballistic nylon material and several rivets for added durability.
Now lets look at the SCAXE9’s features in more detail…
The SCAXE9’s axehead is made from a solid block of titanium-coated 3Cr13 stainless steel with a sharpened 3.27″ blade. 3Cr13 is a very good stainless steel alloy for use in axe heads for its phenomenal durability and corrosion-resistant properties while remaining easy to sharpen and hold its edge.
It is important to note that 3Cr13 is still susceptible to rust and corrosion, even with the protective titanium coating. Without proper care and maintenance, it will degrade over time. If the blade becomes wet, simply dry it off and apply a light coat of oil or protectant like Break-Free CLP before storage. If you do, it will likely last you a lifetime.
The SCAXE9 also has a non-milled hammer pommel located on the opposite end of the axehead for hammering nails, stakes and anything else that needs hammering.
The axehead is fused onto a black 18.06″ glass-fiber filled handle made from a synthetic polyamide (PA) material chosen for exceptional strength, flexibility and durability properties.
The handle also consists of a black rubberized grip overlay about 5.5″ long made from a thermoplastic elastomer (TPR) similar to that of TPE which is a perfect choice for a handle grip. The rubberized textured layer provides a comfortable non-slip surface, even in wet conditions. Additionally, the soft TPR material has remarkable shock absorption properties to help reduce fatigue.
Nestled in the handle of the SCAXE9 is a folding 12″ wood saw. The saw blade is held securely in the closed position by a three-position mechanical lock with a button release in addition to a fixed 9/16″ nylon strap and button for additional safety. Hidden beneath the retention strap is a nail-groove to grasp the blade and swing it open once the button release has been pressed.
The sawblade locks open at two positions, 120° and then fully open to 180° providing a variety of cutting options. The 12″ replaceable blade has an aggressive tooth pattern that is set to cut with a pull-stroke.
The saw can be gripped on the handle and used like a pole saw, or by gripping the beard and cheek of the axehead, and using that as the handle provides a reach of just over 27″. Perfect for cutting branches that would otherwise be out of reach with a small folding handsaw.
To return the blade back into the handle of the SCAXE9, simply hold down the release button and rotate the blade so that it swings back into the handle and snap the retaining strap for added safety.
The SCAXE9 comes with a black multi-layer ballistic nylon belt sheath reinforced with four rivets to carry the axe and protect the blade when it’s not in use. On the top of the sheath there is a wide hook and loop flap holding the axe firmly in place while providing easy access.
Now lets see how Schrade’s SCAXE9 performs… In order to provide a some sort of apples-to-apples comparison between axes and hatchets, I will be performing four durability and fine-control tests; Chopping, Log Splitting, Feathering a Stick and Edge Retention. Additionally, since the SCAXE9 has a built-in saw I will also be performing a fifth test on this axe; Sawing a Log. In a survival situation, all resources are fair game. However, since I am not in a life-or-death situation, I’ll stick to some seasoned logs that I have lying around for these tests. I thoroughly recommend wearing eye protection and a good pair of gloves to protect your hands and absorb some of the vibration.
For the first test, I chose to buck a 6″ branch into a few 12″ sections that I would later split in one of the next tests as well as chopping up a few smaller branches into a manageable size for a fire. The SCAXE9 made quick work of the smaller branches 1-2″ in size without much effort, many with a single swing. The weight of the axehead coupled with the aggressive bevel and factory-sharpened edge performed quite well on the smaller material.
Bucking material larger than a few inches in diameter is done by striking the log at a 45° angle from two perpendicular directions along the cut-line, effectively making a “V” where the material used to be otherwise known as the kerf. The kerf should equal the diameter of the trunk, and when cutting from both sides, the kerf would essentially be half diameter.
Moving on to bucking the larger material obviously required a quite a bit more effort, but the SCAXE9 performed rather well at removing material so bucking a 6″ branch into three sections only took a few minutes each. However, the short grip overlay coupled with the hollowed handle made it somewhat uncomfortable to wield with two hands without gloves. Additionally, I felt the handle flex a little much and the sawblade rattled inside the handle with each strike.
While the size, weight and balance of the SCAXE9 do provide an ample amount of striking force and control for notching and bucking small logs, the excessive flex of the handle and rattle of the sawblade leave me a little concerned of its strength over time.
For the next test I split the three 6″ log sections into kindling and fuelwood. First halving the material, then halving it again and again until I had all of the kindling and fuelwood that I needed. At times I had to use a baton to drive the axehead through the material, striking the hammer pommel and the back of the handle as necessary to drive it through.
A word of caution when performing a task like this… Never to break the vertical plane rule. Avoid any condition where the axe could swing beyond its vertical plane without hitting something other than your leg first. This task is best performed safely from the ground-level, and not from high-up on a stump. Simply place the log you are splitting on the ground, and kneel in front of it as you section it off.
The SCAXE9 performed very well at this challenge. The use of two hands certainly aided in the performance of the SCAXE9, and the handle provided ample control while batoning as well.
Per Wikipedia: A feather stick (sometimes referred to as a fuzz stick) is a length of wood which is shaved to produce a head of thin curls protruding from the wood. It is used for damp wood to start a fire (or campfire) when dry tinder is hard to find.
I always like making feather sticks to provide some insight into how well the SCAXE9 can perform light bushcraft tasks. For this, I typically like to grip the axe by the butt of the axehead with my index and middle fingers resting squarely on the cheek where I have the most control over the blade’s edge.
For this test I used a stick about 1-1/2″ in diameter and about 18″ in length. I began by shaving off the bark from about half-way up the stick exposing the wood grain. Once it had been removed I started to work my way around the stick with long 4-6″ strokes near the bottom-end of the stick. While I was able to get it to shave curls the stick, I found the angle of the bit to be a little too aggressive to shave them finely resulting in course feathers not exactly ideal for starting a fire with only a ferro rod.
For the first saw test, I opened the blade out to the 120° stop and attempted to cut through a 6″ branch. However, sawing at this angle did not work well. The teeth are set to cut with a pull stroke which seemed to awkwardly dig into the material and bind. If the teeth were set in the other direction to cut with a push stroke, this angle might work.
Next, I let the blade out a full 180° and began to cut away. The blade cut through the material quite well. Within a few short minutes I was through the log and on to the next cut. However, it is important not apply downward pressure on the outbound stroke which could cause the blade to bend if it happened to bind. I learned this the hard way. I am used to blades that either cut in both directions or only on the outbound stroke so this will take some getting used to.
I never was able to get the blade entirely straight after that fateful event, but it is certainly straight enough to saw with. Sadly, it was very difficult to retract the blade back into the handle once it had it’s new curvy figure.
After all of the functional tests had been completed, there were no sign of cracks, chips or imperfections of any kind with the exception of a little wear on the blade’s protective coating. The SCAXE9 held its edge and was able to slice through the same sheet of paper with about the same amount of fuss that I had before I began testing it. If you want it sharp enough to slice through a sheet of paper, you’ll undoubtedly need to give it a tune up when you open the box.
I really enjoyed putting the SCAXE9 to the test. Made from proven materials, it is undoubtedly a versatile camp-axe that performs well at most every task put in front of it. Perfect for light camping, or just bugging out. However, the flex and vibration of the handle would likely keep me from relying on it for trips longer than a few days, or if I needed to process a lot of wood.
A small axe and large handsaw in one small package… You really do get a lot of bang for your buck with its sub-$50 price tag. If you are prepping on a budget or just camp from time to time, the SCAXE9 certainly does provide a lot of value and may just be for you.
You can find this and other Schrade products here: http://amzn.to/2c0kjZF
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received the product(s) mentioned above for free in consideration for a complete, honest and impartial product review for publication on LetsTalkSurvival.com with no gurantee of the outcome whatsoever. Any opinion provided herein is based entirely on our personal experience with the product(s).
About Taylor Brands and Schrade Cutlery
Founded by Stewart Taylor in 1975, Taylor Brands has been manufacturing, designing, and distributing high-quality stainless steel cutting tools and accessories since our inception. Taylor Brands owns and produces Schrade, Old Timer, Uncle Henry, and Imperial branded products, and are also licensed to produce multiple product lines under the world famous Smith & Wesson brand. In total Taylor Brands manufactures several hundred different products including fixed and folding knives, collapsible batons, tactical pens, handcuffs, tactical and survival accessories, and flashlights.