Trolling the Garrett Wade site today, I came across this “solid, dependable, Swiss-made axe,” pictured above. From the site:
“We think that because of their size, they are designed for campsite and clearance work. The Chopping Axe (that’s what we are going to call it) has a 23″ handle and weighs almost 5 lbs. The neck is so deep (2-1/2″) near the head that it seems almost ‘reinforced.’ This has to be deliverate. Its unusual weight gives it great momentum (power) when swung.”
The smaller camp axe is described as having a 15-1/2″ handle and weighing 2-1/4 lbs. It seems its only claim to fame is being “Swiss-made.” Pricing: $50 for the bigger model and $39 for the smaller one.
Maybe I’m just a little jaded, but that seems pretty damn steep for an axe. And did I miss something, or is there any reason that Switzerland is famous for axe-making? (I get the watch concept, but stores are already overrun with machine-assembled quartz-“movement” watches shipped from Switzerland. Does it really matter if the low-cost-labor-run assembly factory is located in Switzerland? Does the air there render quartz vibrations more accurate?)
Seriously, Amazon turns up a 5 lb. model with a 26″ handle for $22. And Northern Tool carries a 2.2 lb. camp axe [What’s This?] for just $9, complete with a hickory handle. And you can get a full-steel model with some bells and whistles at pretty much any sporting goods store for half the price of this “Swiss-made” treasure.
Now if you just like the look of it, I can see that. And there’s nothing wrong with, say, buying one of these to display above your fireplace or something. What the hell; I don’t buy everything in the world for practicality, either. But I can’t see springing for one of these over the cheaper alternatives for actual use. How different will it look after a few actual uses? Will that pretty red paint still be there? What happens when that handle stamp is covered in grime?
Am I wrong? (Seriously, let me know. It wouldn’t be the first time.)