If you’ve been following this blog for any period of time it should come as no surprise that I am a huge fan of axes, wood-splitting and the outdoors in general. I always enjoy finding a new axe artisan and Brant & Cochran is the latest one I’d like to tell you about.
Based in Portland Maine, Brant & Cochran at first specialized in restoring surplus military machinery. It was reborn, so to speak, when Steve Ferguson decided to purchase an American made axe for a godson on his way to forestry school, but couldn’t find one locally. Steve, his brother Mark and friend Barry Worthing decided to bring axe-making back to Maine, even if it was just restoration of vintage axes at first. I’ve learned that if something is well-made it’s definitely worth maintaining so you can pass it along to the next generation. I should know – I have my father’s hatchet which, after years of neglect, is going to hopefully get a second life in the hands of the Brant and Cochran team.The axe heads are carefully restored, given new edges without damaging the blade. Wherever possible, original markings are preserved to maintain the authenticity of the head. New hickory handles are added and, as you can see from the photos above, the axes look like they were just forged.
Speaking of just being forged, look for an Indiegogo program in the next few months as the guys from Brant and Cochran get ready to start their own forge in a converted naval base workshop. The plan is to launch a Maine-made, wedge-pattern boys’ axe with a locally sourced ash handle. (A word from the wife: Kathy doesn’t like the “Boys’ Axe” name and thinks it should be called a “Kids’ Axe” or “Junior Axe” or “Starter Axe,” etc. She says she would have been really mad if her brother got a boy’s axe and there wasn’t one for her – and not a pink one either.)
Whatever they decide to call it, we’re looking forward to seeing it on the market.
Meanwhile, if you are in the market for a “new” axe and want a piece of American manufacturing history, I don’t think you can’t go wrong with an axe from Brant and Cochran.