Saturday, June 14, 2014

AX REVIVAL: The Cool Tool of the Day

Image: Paul Bunyan Fine Art
The ax is a classic symbol of survival, industry, and strength, and I thought it was an appropriate subject for a father's day blog. Though my dad's tool of choice was a sewing needle, at 78, Sheldon Zane Myers still has a sturdy 6'1" physique which I'm sure would lend itself to ax wielding. Come to think of it, I think he may use a hatchet to wack the tougher weeds in the garden.

Axes -- useful, hardworking, and sleek -- seem to be enjoying a revival. Brought to the forefront by entrepreneurs and media, here are a few axes that have gotten my attention.

Peter Buchanan Smith's Best Made Co. axes - natural or hand painted.

Images: Best Made Co.
The outdoorsy Buchanan Smith values the axe like no other tool, so he sought to make his own. "You put an axe in someone's hand and they feel empowered," says the Canadian farmer turned urban tastemaker and ax designer.

Cassandra Smith's Painted Hatchets

Images: Cassandra Smith
I once wrote about Cassandra Smith's painted antlers and I had a sixth sense that she might be applying her skill to tools. Bingo! Cassandra chose hatchets because they were more affordable than axes and easier to find. But she couldn't stop at the handle. The patina on the metal heads was far too compelling to be left unaltered.

Campfire Cologne's ax-appreciative philosophy and graphics
Image: Campfire Cologne
Recreating the joyfully nostalgic feeling of being around a campfire is definitely ax-related because you need one to chop the wood for the fire. The ax, therefore, in addition to other tools,  made it onto the packaging and also into Campfire Cologne, the movie.  Made in Portland, OR. Burn anywhere.
Estwing's black matte axe
When you give your man the axe, he will be thankful. Image: Estwing

Estwing’s Special Edition solid steel 14" Sportsman’s Axe features a non-reflective matte black finish and genuine leather grip. Since1923, the Estwing family manufactures comfortable and attractive striking and struck tools in Rockford, IL.

The "Ax Men" Cometh
 Loggers kick ax. Images: History Channel

The History Channel's current ode to the timber industry, Ax Men, naturally has its own merchandise to sell. This bright summery tee features am overused play on words. Though these modern-day loggers have an arsenal of high-energy power tools at their disposal, the ax is still quite relevant and symbolic. Log on!

Ax in a Box

Image: Moran Woodworked Furniture
At the ICFF show in May, Michael James Moran or Moran Woodworked Furniture, had a few shadow-boxed tools on display. I love the idea of framing a beloved trusted worn tool under glass. Tools, thoughtfully designed implements, have a very sculptural quality and look amazing on display whether it's one special tool or hundreds. Check out the photo, below, from the Grassroots Tool Museum in Nevada City.
 Image: Afar

Axe in a Bottle

AXE Peace was developed with the basic idea that there is no room for aggression in a love-filled space - the reincarnation of "Make Love, Not War". They are showing their support for Peace Day, creating awareness, and allying with the non-profit Peace One Day. "With a shared vision of bringing young people together to make the world a better place" AXE is encouraging fans to upload kisses (#kissforpeace) to Instagram.
I could not do this ax round-up without including AXE, the scented product line that took the adolescent world by storm. As the parent of two teenage girls, AXE is what we buy all the middle school boys who are still having birthday parties. My daughters will spend a good deal of time in the aisle at Target sniffing the various AXE fragrances. Watching the resulting euphoria is quite amusing for me.

In SLATE, Dahlia Lithwick wrote a hysterical article about AXE. She used the 3-in-1 shower gel one day when it was the only soap in the shower. I just LOVE her discovery:
"I smelled like teen boy spirit. I smelled the way an adolescent male smells when he feels that everything good in the universe is about to be delivered to him, possibly by girls in angel wings. I had never smelled this entitled in my life. I loved it. I wanted more."
While I am sure that there is a population of ax-toting women, this classic American tool, spelled with an "e" or naw has definite ties to manhood, both established and impending. Image: Amazon
While an ax is definitely a cool gift to receive, perhaps a more experiential "gift" is what you truly desire. If this is the case, "ax" and you shall receive....hopefully!

Happy Father's Day!

No comments: