Gear

Solo Stove x Brant & Cochran: Quality Time Needs Quality Tools

Aug 30, 2023

They have a saying at Brant & Cochran - every axe has a story to tell. Here at Solo Stove, we love a great story, especially when it’s shared by the fire. 

The story of Brant & Cochran’s axes from Maine is one of craftsmanship, family, and traditions more than a century in the making. And it’s why they were the perfect fit to help us bring you a truly heirloom-worthy collaboration made for fueling new traditions and making new memories with loved ones by the fire.

An American Artform That (Almost) Went Up In Smoke.

In the early 1900s, there were more than 200 axe patterns in the country, but Maine-based axe makers were known for making the finest in the world. The Pine Tree State even had its own pattern and design, the legendary Maine Wedge. 

But as time passed, so did Maine’s axe makers, and the art of the Maine-made axe all but disappeared. Until it was resurrected in honor of a family’s passion for the outdoors and its legacy of craftsmanship. 

Craftsmanship Runs In The Family.

In 2015, Stephen Ferguson had the perfect idea for a gift - why not give his godson, who had just been accepted into forestry school, his very own Maine-made axe?

The only problem was he couldn’t find one anywhere. Nobody made them anymore.

Stephen and his brother Mark couldn’t believe it. They’d been raised to appreciate quality tools and craftsmanship. They credit these values to their grandfather, Leland Ferguson, a businessman and master mechanic who’d built tanks during World War 2 before starting a machining and tool empire called Brant & Cochran.  

Stephen and Mark had grown up exploring nature and making memories by the fire with their family. And later on in life, like so many of Leland’s grandchildren, they went on to hone their own craft at Brant & Cochran, or one of its subsidiaries, until it finally closed in 1976.

So, when the two brothers realized that the Maine-made axes were all but extinct, they thought to themselves…what would Grandpa Leland do? 

That’s when they and their partner, Barry Worthing, started a new company. They named it Brant & Cochran to honor their grandfather’s legacy and got to work resurrecting one of America’s most iconic forestry tools.

Rekindling Lost Traditions. 

Stephen, Mark, and Barry knew they wanted to make a durable, authentic, heirloom-quality axe that was true to the traditions of Maine’s most legendary axe makers, so they went straight to the source. 

They borrowed an original, century-old Maine Wedge axe from the Patten Lumberman’s Museum collection in Patten, Maine, and used it as a model for their first Brant & Cochran Allagash Cruiser. 

Not only is their design as authentic as they come, but their techniques are too. Since day one, every Brant & Cochran axe ever produced has been forged and hand-crafted using traditional techniques in the workshop in Portland, Maine. 

Each axe head is forged from a billet of U.S.-made high-carbon steel. It’s heated to temperatures of 1,700 degrees, heat-treated with salt water from Casco Bay, and tempered to 56-58 Rockwell hardness. Each blade is also stamped with the year it was made and the craftsman's initials, just like many of Maine’s axe craftsmen did over 100 years ago.

Once hand-ground and sharpened, the blade is secured to a 28-inch-long, hand-hafted, Amish-turned Hickory handle with superior grain orientation. The result is a timeless tool that’s as beautiful as it is durable.  

Tool Up Your Fireside Traditions. 

This limited-edition collaboration was made to help you share and honor your own fireside traditions for generations to come. 

The collection features an Allagash Cruiser emblazoned with the Solo Stove symbol - one of just 250 ever made - and an exclusive set of fireside essentials inspired by the legacies of Brant & Cochran and the Maine axe makers who came before them. 

It comes complete with Wax and Hickory fire starters that are embedded with hickory shavings from the floor of Brant & Cochran’s South Portland workshop and keepsake-worthy matchbooks featuring artwork inspired by Leland Ferguson’s original Brant & Cochran Tool Company. Both are perfect for sparking new memories with your Solo Stove. 

We topped it off with a Campfire Log complete with a removable full-grain leather cover that will only get more beautiful with age. Use them to keep record of the little things, from who was there to the stories that were told and the food and drinks that were shared, and keep those memories burning bright for generations to come. 

For more details on this collection, including pricing and availability, click here.