I’ve mentioned this bad boy in the past as a worthwhile addition to a SHTF bag:

I see it as an axe, a hammer, a nail-puller and, in fact, a fairly decent weapon.  All for under $40.

Walmart has the Estwing version — all-metal, for half a dozen bucks more.

Both are made in the U.S., so that’s all good.  My only word of advice is that you may want to touch up the axe blade of each one a tad, as I did mine (I have two in my SHTF bag) — they’re rigger’s hatchets, not woodsman’s.


  1. They are also great for splitting firewood. With your left hand whack the end of the log lightly to seat the blade, then with your right pound on the hammer head end with a small sledge. I also use an Estwing for that, an 11-Inch 3 lb SureStrike. It gives way more control than swinging a long handled axe or maul.

    Better than using an ordinary hatchet which is made of softer steel and gets deformed by the SureStrike. The hammer head on the dual tool seems harder.

  2. That Estwing thing is a roofing hatchet. For locking tab shingles, you’d use the blade end to get the lock tabs under the shingles in the next lower row and then the business end to drive the two nails used. Along with Dutch lap shingles and other odd ones, T-locks are hardly used anymore. With pneumatic nailers, you get better speed from standard shingles even though they need four nails instead of two. In the six summers I worked for my Dad, I went through several Estwings. You’d literally grind them down on the shingle granules.
    Later in life, I realized that my Dad actually made money putting us kids through college. How about that? Monday mornings, he’d know where to find us, and we weren’t hung over from a weekend debauch. I also learned to have a great deal of sympathy for the guys who did this until they couldn’t anymore. Carrying shingles and hand nailing is tough on the body. After six summers, I moved on to soft hands work as an engineer.

  3. As a young lad, I knew them as roofing hatchets as well, from the days of wooden shingles. I never used on for that purpose, but still found ours quite handy. As an added bonus, ours was perfectly balanced for throwing.

  4. Estwing, made here in my hometown Rockford, Il.

    Where the per capita crime rate is almost as high as Chicago, and almost as politically corrupt, with none of the cool shit. Except the pizza. We have badass pizza.

    I applied at Estwing back in my yoot, took the tour, got another job for better money before they called me back. Just as well, running a drop forge ten hours a day is a bitch.

  5. They’re very handy. It’s a roofer’s ax or hammer. Great for splitting a little wood for a campfire. The hammer is useful for pounding stakes. Good against Zeds too


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