I've so far been unwilling to part with enough ching to buy one to replace my 25 year old beater that I've been carrying around since I was a young pup

That's where I am in this axe/hatchet thing. I actually use to split firewood as a kid, and still have the axe, sledge, and wedges....can't remember the last time I used them. My hatchet is an old, 1 piece Craftsman (sears) I've had since Boyscouts, I use only to split chiminea wood. It goes car camping and only because it happens to reside in my tool box. I don't think I've ever used it for anything camping, except in Scouts in the 60's. The things are pointless for ultralite hiking.
paul, texas KD5IVP