Used for light accurate work, splitting kindling, carving etc, a good hatchet should feel nimble and precise, a really good one will also take a razor edge and hold it for a decent length of time.
This delightfully comfortable Japanese hatchet is as close to perfect as any small axe I have ever used. The head weight is the same as a typical 16oz claw hammer, being balanced further forward it feels a little bit heavier, but that should give you a fair approximation of what it feels like to use. The shapely Japanese white oak handle gives the optimum wrist angle in each of the three positions. As for edge performance; the only axes I've used that even come close are the old cast steel Marples or Brades axes.
With many Japanese tools, the final step of preparation for use is left for the new owner to complete and these axes are no exception. The handle must be properly secured by the user before use.
A couple of sharp blows with a hammer on the base of the handle (with the axe held in the air) to fully seat the head, soak the head in water for 20 minutes and trim off the excess. You may notice some blackening of the wood after soaking, this is just the tannin in the oak reacting with the iron and is completely normal.
Wood swells and contracts with seasonal changes in humidity, so it is good practice to check the head of any axe before use. If any movement is found, follow the above steps to properly secure it.
Never hit an axe with a metal hammer.
Never use an axe as a hammer.
Always wear appropriate protection (safety specs).
Always keep people and animals clear of your working area.
Handle length: 350mm (13-3/4")
Head weight: 450g (16oz)
Overall weight:700g (24oz) approx