Axes, Hatchets, & Machetes

Northwest Axe Co: Vintage Axes Are Cool

Image courtesy Northwest Axe Co.Credit (or blame) Restoration Hardware and American Pickers for part of the ‘vintage’ craze that’s big in the clothing and furnishings and guitars. Old stuff that used to be cheap (or simply thrown away) is now trendy and expensive.

Now you can add axes to that list. Northwest Axe Company doesn’t make vintage axes, but it makes them cool.

Image courtesy Northwest Axe CompanyStarting with recovered US-made axe heads, the Seattle company refinishes them and regrinds them when needed before attaching them to new American hickory shafts. Some axes are ground completely clean, and others are left with their original patina. Each one gets a new handmade sheath.

NW Axe Company has plans to forge their own axe heads, but for now all their products are built on recovered heads.

All this refurbished history doesn’t come cheap. Prices start at $125 for a refurbished US-made vintage axe, which puts you almost into Hultafors territory.

I certainly wish them well, but these prices are a little out of my range. Maybe I’ll do some ‘American picking’ myself and cruise some garage sales next spring.

Discussion

6 responses to ‘Northwest Axe Co: Vintage Axes Are Cool

  1. Garage sales and flea markets, real tailgate flea markets, are the way to buy tools like this. I just recently got a decent old school mattock for 10 bucks. The stuff sold in the big chain hardware stores, axes, picks, shovels, forks are mostly over priced and flimsy junk.

  2. I’ve been looking into axes, since I don’t have one, and I’ve been leaning towards a Gransfors Bruks felling axe. The $190 tag has been holding me back, I can get my P64 a younger brother for around that much, and it’d get a lot more use.

    That said, IF I have the money, I usually go the expensive route, because you usually do get what you pay for. A quick search for Hultafors versus Gransfors Bruks found a posting on a UK-based forum from a couple years ago, where an experienced user compares Gransfors with Hultafors and Wettering. The summary: Gransfors Bruks are the Cadillac of Swedish axes, with fit and finish beyond compare to the other two (and, especially, the stock handles are much better). Hultafors wins in the performance category, barely, if you do a lot of splitting, because the head is wider and heavier. Wettering is almost identical to Hultafors, with slightly rougher finish, but they are apparently marketed in America under the Husqvarna brand, which sells for less than half the other two.

    So, I might be going the Husqvarna route. I’m looking for more comparisons/reviews, because winter is coming and I should buy soon. But I also live in an area where the dead branches rarely fall in the winter because, you know, they’re under snow level. So, not the biggest rush.

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