The Hardcore Hammers Curved Naturalist Hatchet out performs in the world of “construction.” But its susceptibility to rust has caused me to keep it inside instead of taking it on the trail.
CONSTRUCTION & MATERIALS What drew me to the Hardcore Hammers Curved Naturalist Hatchet was its design and build. I was looking for a lightweight hatchet with a hammer that I could use to work on my cabin. The naturally finished bent hickory handle is stunning and the design of the head is an updated classic. My one issue would be the surface rust that began to appear towards the bit after a few uses, which is somewhat uncommon in this day and age.
EASE OF USE Because it’s lightweight and balanced, the Hardcore Hammers Curved Naturalist Hatchet is easy to swing for extended periods of time. The razor edge on the bit makes quick work on anything from a sapling to a 4×4 to a rope. The one drawback would be how slick the handle was—it didn’t allow for a consistent grip; so I sanded it down and re-coated it with Gunstock Oil and now it stays put in my paw for a bevy of swings and chops.
EASE OF TRANSPORT/CARRY Unless I’m transporting a hatchet by hand, I don’t like an exposed blade or bit for a lot of reasons but mostly because I don’t want to get cut or cut up my gear. When I purchased the Hardcore Hammers Curved Naturalist Hatchet there wasn’t a sheath available for it so I ended up making my own. I now see that they offer a leather one on their site for an additional fee. This sheath would obviously boost this rating.
STEEL QUALITY/EDGE RETENTION Through the past couple of years, the Hardcore Hammers Curved Naturalist Hatchet has kept an exceptional edge through some serious tasks, but unfortunately it’s allergic to any sort of liquid or sap and it rusts easily. At this point, there is tic-tac sized spot of corrosion that has rooted itself into the bit itself and is ruining the edge. This is something I will remedy, but I hope Hardcore Hammers takes a look at this down the road.
DURABILITY The Hardcore Hammers Curved Naturalist Hatchet is a workhorse that shows little signs of wear, even after a significant pounding. Hickory is a stubborn wood that would be easier to cut in half than try to split and was the obvious choice here. I’m really pleased with the hammer as it seemingly exists on its own and not part of the hatchet head—its power, balance, and aim are its standout features. The rust has me a bit disappointed and while I can remedy it; I shouldn’t have to.