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PORTLAND PRESS HERALD DARKROOM
Axes in Maine

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    Alex Koch uses an ax from the North Wayne Tool Company that dates back to the mid-1900s to chop wood outside of his mother's home in Scarborough. Koch, whose day job is a teacher, is a collector who buys and sells antique axes.

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    Alex Koch holds a Hubbard & Blake silver steel embossed ax from circa 1862-1883. The ax is from what at the time was West Waterville and it is the only type of embossed ax ever made in Maine.

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    Steve Ferguson works on the handle of an ax he is restoring at his workshop in Portland. His company, Brant & Cochran, restores old axes and also sells axes that have been restored. He and his partners are meeting with blacksmiths and hoping to soon produce a Maine-made ax.

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    A Snow & Nealley double-bit Maine wedge ax is being restored at Steve Ferguson's workshop in Portland.

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    Steve Ferguson holds an ax that he has restored outside of his workshop in Portland. His company, Brant & Cochran, restores and sells axes. “Some of these take you 20 minutes. Some take you two hours,” he said.

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    From left, a Noah Boothby ax from circa 1850-1883 and a Hubbard & Blake silver steel embossed ax from circa 1862-1883. Both axes are from the Waterville area, and the Hubbard & Blake is the only embossed ax ever made in Maine.

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    A North Wayne Tool Company ax that dates back to the mid-1900s is stuck in a log outside ax collector Alex Koch's mother's home in Scarborough.

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    The Dunn Edge Tool Co. was part of Maine's thriving ax industry and was tied to the state's robust lumber industry.

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    Ax heads await handles at Emerson Stevens.

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    An ax head is tempered at Emerson Stevens. As many as 18 ax manufacturers operated in Maine in in about a 100-year period in the 1800s and early 1900s.

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    To take care of an ax, keep it sharpened and sheathed.

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    When shopping for a vintage ax, make sure the eye is not split and nothing is cracked.

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    It's important to keep an ax sharp because a dull ax can glance off the chopping surface, potentially causing injury.

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