Outdoor Edge isn't known for their 'high end' cutlery and woods tools and most of their products are imported from China. That said most of them seem to be of pretty good quality and design and made from decent materials.
The only OE product that caught my eye is the 'AXE-IT'. I first handled it at a local hardware store and moved on. Last week that same store was having a 40% off moving sale, so I dropped in scooping up some good deals and the 'AXE-IT'
From the horses mouth!
The Ultimate Hand–Axe for chopping, splitting, setting up camp and quartering big game. The head is hot drop-forged from a solid bar of 1040 tool steel for superior edge holding, strength and durability. The unbreakable fiberglass-core handle incorporates a rubberized non-slip KratonŽ grip. The Axe-It comes complete with a CorduraŽ nylon belt sheath and lifetime guarantee.
Our Price: $26.95
What caught my interest is how the A-I feels in the hand, solid with good balance and proportion, it feels like a hand tool should IMO. I took a picture of it next to my GB 'Wildlife' and trusty Eastwing for scale as you can see it's just a little smaller.
The natural thing to do is compare it to the Fiskars/Gerber hatchets, having owned both, I can say the A-I feels much better in the hand to me. I didn't have one handy to take a comparison picture, I gave my Gerber to my brother. The other salient feature that sets them apart is that the handle on the A-I is solid and runs though the head of the hatchet instead of around it like the F/G hatchets. If the handle ever did break or fell out a wooden handle could be fashioned in the field after melting out the original.
Even though it didn't come very sharp, the A-I also has a much better shape and grind IMO. It's narrower than the F/G head and doesn't have the synthetic 'faces', the A-I cuts and chops WAY better IMO. I haven't done any refacing to it and may never since my girlfriend wants it and it will be her first woods tool beyond a Mora knife! That said it really doesn't need any.
The 1040 head sharpened up nice with an emery paper 'strop' and stayed pretty sharp when I was chopping and splitting with it. It's not Busse INFI, but it's definitely easy to sharpen and keep sharp in the field. Better than one would expect out of a $26 hatchet.
The sheath is made out of a 'laminated' cordura product and has a belt loop, it's not bad. I hold the belt loop suspect for carry though, I would belt carry it with the sheath on suspended from my belt with a continuous loop of 550 cord like I do my GB and Eastwing, or in my pack. The 550 cord loop is easy and fast and doesn't depend on the sheath to support the hatchet.
Bottom line for me is that this is a good tool compared to anything out there, and an excellent value at the price point. It would make an excellent choice teamed up with something like a SAK 'Trekker' as pictured, there's a lot of 'utility' right there in a $50 combo.