Ross Morgan wrote a great comment on a recent post about Spiller axes, including some history of revered Maine axes and how the Gransfors Bruks American felling axe design started in the woods of New England. I’ve heard stories about how the Gransfors was patterned after a Maine axe, and wrote as much in the post. I figured if you’re interested in this blog, you’ll be interested in what Ross had to say.
I also stopped into Don Merchant’s place and saw the beautiful Spiller. As well I have an answer for you regarding the pattern for Gransfor’s American Felling Axe. In about 1968-69, young buck Geoffrey Burke, now of boat building fame in NH (Chocorua Boatworks), and I were fascinated with the last of the cache of Spiller and Emerson Stevens Axes, and we went up to see what we could find in Oakland. E&S were sold at Paul Smiths College for students to use in the woods when I was there in the early 1960?s, $5-6 bucks a head. We met Harold York, then in his mid-80?s and willing to show us around the old mill and office……unbelieveable…..8000 axe heads, few with handles. I bought a few, Geoff bought some, and Dave Evans who homesteaded on the Nations River near Eagle, Alaska, bought a few. Dave gave me one of those E&S doubles last summer. He had carried it for decades and depended on it daily.
So young buck Geoff grows up and about 20 years ago at his wedding I give Annie and him their wedding present, a beautiful 3# single with a sheith made out of old Limmer boots I snuckered Geoff out of after he trimmed the toes back, and a handle that said “Peavey”. It was shinning like a mirror. That axe was used to build one of my houses….one of the best tools I have known. Geoff got to flirting with Gransfor and requesting that they make some heads for us to use in these woods, a little heavier, and more of an American axe. He made a pattern of that Rixford and sent it to the boys in Sweden…..out comes the American Felling Axe, a bit changed, pardon the pun if you need to do so. The original Rixford from Vermont or a good Maine 3/4 wedge would have been best. Enough of my rattle, ‘love axes.