Gear Review Zippo 4-in-1 Woodsman, first thoughts

Discussion in 'Functional Gear & Equipment' started by natshare, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. natshare

    natshare Monkey+++

    Well, since I had to eat my words after deciding to buy one of these, I figured I'd give you guys a first thoughts review, followed (hopefully soon after, and not procrastinated to death) by a more in-depth one.
    I ordered mine from a site I'm a member of,, when they had it on sale for $51 (plus shipping). If you haven't had a chance to check them out yet, please do so! While not every "deal" they have really is one (since you'll likely find plenty of times where it's cheaper elsewhere, online), if you can find a few good deals at once, their $9.99 flat rate daily shipping is worth it.

    Zippo 4-in-1 woodsman, at Amazon.

    First thoughts on this's really sharp, and really lightweight!! Shipping weight is 4 pounds, but it comes in a cardboard box, zip-tied to a sturdy back board, so I'd guess the tool weight is actually ~3 pounds. For a tool this size, that's not bad at all!
    The axe/hatchet head is a chopping tool on one side, and a mallet-type tool on the other (supposedly for tent stakes). While I wouldn't go busting 16 penny nails into 2x4's with it, it seems that if you're wanting to drive a handmade stake into the ground, it would handle that with ease. The chopping head comes from the factory with a pretty wicked sharp (as my relatives from New England would say) edge to it, and I have no doubt it will chop through dead or live wood without difficulty.
    The tool comes with 2 bow saw blades (15" length), that are held in the handle for safekeeping. To use the tool as a bow saw, you open the orange cover that's over the axe/hatchet head, place one end of the saw blade over the bolt that helps hold the cover on, then use the attachment point on the end of the handle to hold the other end. As you close down on the cover (that normally holds the saw blades in place), it tightens down the tension on the blades. These blades look just like the 21" blades on my home bow saw, and I have no doubt that they'll cut through logs with ease. The 15" blade can supposedly handle logs up to 4" in diameter.
    The 4th tool is the loop at the end of the handle, which is supposed to be used to help pull tent stakes. Not really sure how useful that would be.

    While my first impressions of this tool were high, there were three things that bug me about it:
    1. The orange cover for the chopping head rattles. Yeah, it's nothing more than an annoyance, but if you're trying to move at all stealthily through the woods, and this thing is hanging off your belt or pack, it's going to give you away. I solved this dilemma by using one of those sticky-backed felt pads (like you put on the bottom of chair legs, to keep from scratching your floor) on the inside of the orange cover, which was thick enough to stop the rattle.
    2. The saw blades rattle inside the handle. While it's nice that there's two blades that come with this, I'm going to be going to Lowes or Home Depot this week, to see about buying two more. Hopefully, they will all fit into the handle (without jamming), and solve this problem. Again, more of an annoyance than anything else.
    3. There's no really good way to hang or attach this to your belt or pack! Annoyance #3, I guess! I'm going to do a search for some molle gear that will work for this purpose, and allow me to hang it on the outside of my pack. More on that, too, if I have any success.

    Overall, I'd rate this tool at LEAST 4.5 stars out of 5. My 3 dings were more annoyances than actual problems, and it says good things about a tool, if you have to look that hard to find anything wrong with it. Barring any unforeseen problems using it to cut wood, I'd definitely rate it as a great to have tool. I've got some dead tree out back of the house, that I've been meaning to cut up, and this should give me a chance to see how well this will work on dead wood, at least. More later!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2013
    Mountainman and kellory like this.
  2. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++

    Where's the lighter?:)
    jab73180, natshare and Brokor like this.
  3. natshare

    natshare Monkey+++

    In its brown leather snap enclosure sheath, of course! ;)

    FINALLY took the time to try out the Zippo Woodsman, now that we have some cooler weather! Between coming home to 90 degree temps, and my crazy schedule lately (plus some good old fashioned slothfulness! LOL), I just kept putting it off.

    Today, after getting home from a quick shopping foray, I decided to get the test out of the way. The victim? An old tree that dried out and died in my back yard, a year ago, and that I've been meaning to finish cutting up for firewood. Not sure of the tree type, but it's definitely some sort of medium to hard wood! Good testing material!!

    First, the hatchet head. While you're not going to chop down a giant Redwood or Sequoia with this thing (unless you have a lifetime to spare, and are VERY OCD!!), it's fully capable of some damage to a tree limb. Definitely, this was intended for chopping up logs up to maybe 6" diameter, as anything bigger would be one helluva workout (and I'm not certain how well the tool would withstand that sort of use?). The piece I chopped on was ~4" diameter, and being seasoned hardwood, it took some effort to cut.....but wasn't unreasonable in the amount of effort required. If I were going to fell trees for a log cabin, I'd definitely want a heavier tool with a larger head! But this was designed for camping, and it does an admirable job at its intended use. I'm sure that on a green tree limb, it would bite much more wood away with every stroke of the hatchet end.

    Secondly, the saw function. I'm attaching a photo (below), showing the Zippo saw blade, along with an aftermarket blade I picked up from Amazon, the Sven Saw 15in: Sports & Outdoors The only seller on there now wants $14 + $5 shipping. I purchased from another vendor (that I don't see listed now), and got it for $12 and change, with free shipping.

    The stock Zippo blade, as you can see, is a fine toothed saw, with a tooth patter much like a miter hand saw. In other words, not very radical in its ability to rip through a piece of wood, like a good cross-cut saw would be. I imagine that Zippo had to settle for this kind of blade, because of how they're storing the blades in the handle, and the fact that a rip-type blade would take up more room. It does a reasonably good job on that hardwood, though it's not fast to cut through it. You're definitely NOT going to cut a log bigger than 4" diameter with it, without having to do a cut-roll-cut-roll technique.

    The aftermarket blade, as you can see, is a bit more radical with it's cutting teeth, more like most bow saw blades you'd use in your yard would be. However, the problem I found (that you can't really tell from my crummy photography) is that the Trailblazer blade is about 1/16" longer than the Zippo blades.....and because of that, you can't get a good tension on it, when you clamp it in the saw. It will still cut wood, but you're forced to cut slower than you would with the Zippo blade, since it's not tensioned as much.

    Better to just stick with another Zippo blade, in other words. :(

    I'll stick with my original assessment of this, and give it 4.5 stars out of 5. With a 3rd blade in the handle, and a piece of sticky-back felt in the hatchet head cover, it quiets it down appropriately, so you're not rattling through the woods with it. Just too bad that Zippo didn't think of these things themselves!

    If I come up with a source for spare Zippo blades, I'll post it here. :cool:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2015
  4. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Um,.....the photos?:rolleyes:
  5. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey Moderator

  6. natshare

    natshare Monkey+++

    Um.....I swear, I posted it! It showed up on MY computer.....guess I'll have to check on that, when I get home!!
    kellory likes this.
  7. natshare

    natshare Monkey+++

    Okay, here we go. Must have had a senior moment! LOL

    Thanks, too, to Yard Dart, for providing the pic of the Woodsman 4-in-1. [winkthumb] 2033.JPG
    Yard Dart likes this.
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