by Laura Neilson
In May 2009, Peter Buchanan-Smith and Graeme Cameron debuted their marvelously dapper spring collection of Best Made Co. axes. Despite the hirsute woodsman imagery often linked to this simple chopping tool, Best Made's striking heirloom-quality designs are intended to appeal to men, women, urbanites and weekend warriors alike.
Tempered and shaped—all by hand—at one of the U.S.'s oldest axe-makers in Maine, they then ship the axes to New Jersey to hand-paint and polish the hickory handles (also known as helves). Buchanan-Smith, an award-winning design director at Isaac Mizrahi who also runs his own design firm, lent his aesthetic talent to come up with the limited-run designs. Ranging from bold polka dots to classic stripes and bands in a candy-hued spectrum of colors, the company also offers bespoke axes, based on existing products or all new designs.
Even in this digital age, Best Made's founders argue that everyone should own an axe—regardless of its use. "The axe is a symbol," says Cameron. "It forges our building and quite possible our thinking blocks." And what better way to honor the age-old tool than by enhancing it with attractive design?