Category Archives: Tools

Successful Indiegogo Campaign to bring Axe-Making Back to Maine

Back in January, we told you about Brant & Cochran, a three-man team restoring vintage axes in Portland, Maine. At the time, they were discussing the possibility of launching a funding campaign that would allow them to forge new axes as well. It seemed to be a nagging annoyance to the trio that the state of Maine had gone from having 200 companies making handcrafted axes to having none.

Well, they pulled it off, hitting their goal of $25,000 this week in an Indiegogo campaign . They’ll be purchasing items like gas forges, a tempering oven and a 70-ton hydraulic press. Their first product will be called the Allegash Cruiser, which is advertised as “Wicked sharp – Not Kdding.”

Congratulations to Mark Ferguson, Steve Ferguson and Barry Worthing. We can’t wait to see their new products! Check out their web site here.




Snow Removal with Made-in-USA Tools

Don’t know about you, but we’re really getting socked by a big winter storm today so we figured it was time for a post on Made-in-USA snow removal.BullyShovelsThe first thing you need for snow clean-up is, obviously, a shovel. Bully Tools’ Snow Shovels and Ice Choppers are available in a variety of styles and sizes. IceDozerPlusWhen it’s time to clean off your car, the Innovation Factory IceDozer Plus 2.0, Made-in-USA, has a flexible blade and removable pocket dozer multi-tool.

IceDozerMiniThe IceDozer MINI 2.0 with Brass Blade, “packs 360 degrees of ice clearing performance, including 13 flexiblade scraping fingers, and tenderizers for softening up the hardest ice that you will find on your windshield.”

The Sno-Dozer is an ergonomic design for clearing snow.

al roof rakeIt’s important not to overload your roof with too much snow weight. This aluminum roof rake is from Cozy Winters.

SnowMoverRemove deep snow on and around your car with the Innovation Factory SnowMover 2.0 Snow Plow. It functions as a plow, ice scraper and snow broom.
You won’t want to drag that snow in the house with you. Waterhog Doormats come in a variety of styles and sizes and they are said to “drink up water and snow.”

Stay warm and be careful shoveling!


Dango Multi-Tool and Wallet: The Best of Both Worlds

We could write countless posts about wallets and multi-tools but what makes the Dango offering so cool is how it meets both criteria in a neat and functional package.The Dango design minimizes the sharp edges of the multi-tool within the framework of the wallet so your jeans pocket is not the first victim of the tool’s functionality.The Dango features 14 different tools and has a top grain leather finish available in three colors: Black, Raw Hide or Whiskey Tan. The wallet has enough room to hold 12 credit cards and is TSA compliant. The multi-tool, though you can’t carry-on and will will need to check.
Like all good multi-tools, the all-important bottle opener is included.Are you likely to use all of the multi-tools? I guess that depends on your Macgyver quotient, but isn’t it nice to know they are there?



Brant & Cochran Axe Restoration: Breathing New Life Into Vintage American Axes.

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.



10 Gifts for His Man Cave: Made in USA

I have two favorite places in the house. The garage, where my bicycles are stored (and soon my first motorcycle) and my man cave. Lucky for me that my wife has no interest in either space but I do have to admit that she has chosen some of my favorite items for the room.

If you want to buy a man a gift for his man cave, try to choose items that have meaning, evoke a memory or provoke a smile. These are the kinds of things I like:mancaveEvery mancave needs a sign to help set the boundaries. The sign above seems to me to be a gentle suggestion to loved ones to respect my space, but there are other options here.wrrmnhcrsi_tobacco_sandalwood_candle_1_originalBelieve it or not, guys, candles today don’t have to be all sweet and flowery.  The Sydney Hale candle above features scents of Tobacco and Sandalwood. The best part is, once the candle burns out, you can use the glass for drinking.

photo_gallery_eames_lounge_chair_ottoman_2Every man cave needs a statement piece of furniture and in my case it is an Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman. It might take years to afford it (it did for me), but if you have some cash, it’s on sale right now and it will last for life.

BarrelTrayRecycled and repurposed items like this tray made from a wine barrel, look great in a guy’s space. You can get this and other  items from Top Shelf Barrel Furniture.stcxiial3w_the_original_bell_jar_table_lamp_1_originalThe lighting in a mancave typically needs to be low level to evoke a mood. Wiith LED’s you can get a wide range of lighting options and rarely have to change a bulb. We just featured Southern Lights Electric a few weeks ago and feel it would be a great addition to a man cave.FlagI don’t know why but it was very important for me to have an American Flag in my space, When not in use I typically drape it over my chair. I especially like the embroidered cotton flags from American Flag.quservyipu_the_max_multipurpose_axe_kit_4_originalI don’t know why but when I am not working outside my axe always seems to end up leaning against my mancave wall. The Max Multi Purpose Axe Kit above even features a number of attachments that convert your axe to a shovel, pick axe or rake.sxwurdvakd_soapstone_whiskey_glass_6_originalI am not a big drinker but I do like having a unique collection on hand for the times I want to have a whiskey, hard cider or martini, shaken not stirred. The soapstone whiskey glass above is made by American Stoneware.81pw1ubuozl-_sl1500_While my wife doesn’t typically come down into my space, the dog is always welcome and I want her to have a comfortable bed for her to stretch out in. This bed from Majestic Pet is machine washable.BlueprintArtWhether your personal taste is Dogs Playing Poker or Steve McQueen from The Great Escape, the walls of your space need something to liven them up. Click these links to browse large collections of patent-type prints and blueprint-type prints.aechangetrayFinally, I need a valet for my change, keys and other miscellaneous stuff. I like the classic style of the Allen Edmonds design above and you can find it and others in a recent post here.

Outfit your space your way and enjoy!