Filson and Pendleton Axes

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by John A. Larsen, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. John A. Larsen

    John A. Larsen

    Jan 15, 2001
    I got an email from Filson with an add for A Hudson Bay Axe for $270, and a Felling Axe for $335, built by Best Made Axes from NYC (probably Council Made Axes). Then I received a catalog from Pendleton with a "Thomas Kay Axe" (looks to be a felling axe) also built by Best Made (again probably Council Axes) for $598. The only difference I can see from the Best Made Web site and the Filson/Pendleton site, is that Filson has a green lower handle, and the Pendleton has a narrow red band, a large blue band and a yellow toe on the handle, and again for only $598, and I thought the Neeman axes were expensive.
    Best made Axes have an office in NYC, so doubtful they make their own axes. John
  2. halfaxe


    Nov 29, 2012
    Two good companies with good products determined to dilute their brand with overpriced shiny stuff.
  3. bobs1415


    Feb 10, 2013
    What halfaxe said. Filson is already going around the bend making hipster versions of some of their classics.
  4. M3mphis


    Jan 13, 2011
    Disturbing. What a shame. Filson used to cater to outdoorsmen not hipsters. Besides after looking at those massively overpriced axes, how can you trust their pricing on anything!?
  5. trailmaker


    May 15, 2011
    Good point, although I will vouch for their double tin cloth. Not lightweight or breathable but very durable.
  6. halfaxe


    Nov 29, 2012
    I agree. I own several double tin pants and a wool mackinaw. Both items were very expensive but well made and long lasting so well worth it. It seems like these companies are just cashing in on their reputation by selling this obviously overpriced axe.
  7. M3mphis


    Jan 13, 2011
    I love my tin chaps and my mackinaw. But the chaps are probably 8 years old and the mackinaw is probably 40 or more so I can't really comment on current quality.
  8. stevewest


    Nov 25, 2006
    I read a couple of reviews on Bestmade axes. They are simply rebranded Councils. The review said they were using the Velvicuts, but in looking at the pictures shown on Bestmades website, it really looks like they are just using the standard model. I have a Velvicut and a standard model - the pictures shown on their website really do look like the standard model I own. They contour the handles, slick up the heads, stamp the head and handle with their logo and put on a fancy paint job. And charge what I would consider an exorbitant price. Their website is interesting - a number of other items that can be purchased from the hardware store, rebranded with the Bestmade logo and resold for much more than you or I would be willing to pay. I do applaud the owner as he definitely knows his target market and how to appeal to their pocketbook.
  9. nickzdon


    Mar 3, 2011
    Best Made developed the Velvicut line with Council Tool. I remember seeing the first round of handle prototypes come through the NYC office while I was visiting them a few years ago. Best Made has their axes forged with the BMC logo on them, Council forges their logo on theirs. Same 5160 steel, same high grade hickory. The unpainted models from BMC actually sell for a little less than what Council sells them for. For what it's worth.
  10. OutdoorEnvy


    Nov 22, 2011
    What the heck is in the paint? Someone dead and famous must have painted them hundreds of years ago!
  11. WarnerB


    Oct 29, 2012
    Yep, a lot of their products, with a little searching, can be found from the websites of the companies that Best made gets theirs from. I got the same exact Higo Knife of theirs (without the branding) from Hand Eye Supply for half the price. And their their Peanut Lighter is directly from County Comm. But yes, they're definitely masters at branding, marketing and advertisement.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2013
  12. Operator1975


    Sep 24, 2010
    As an owner of a couple axes :) I will say the Black Donald axe I purchased from BMC is a very good axe.

    The main question that is posted on the forums when it comes to BMC and other similar companies, from what I have seen, is always about the price. And rightfully so in many regards. What I can tell you about the axe I own in comparison the the Council axes I own is this -

    There is a difference. The handle for one on the BMC axes is tremendously better. Better grain, thickness, smoothness, etc. Yes they are painted, and if that isn't for you, thats fine, they have unpainted models as well. I have noticed no issues with the paint on the handle - no slipping, no blisters, etc. Paint on axe handles is nothing new, that has been around forever. Many a logger used to paint their axe handles so they could find their axes in the woods, and also set theirs apart from someone elses. Battle axes, tomahawks, etc were all painted/adorned with various methods before battle for many many reasons. The balance on the BMC axe via the handle is tremendously better as well. The axe head comes sharp, but probably not up to most guys untouchable standards. Thats because each man must sharpen his own axe to his own specs(to me anyway). More importantly, the geometry of the head is really good as far as the contour into the cheeks - it isn't too thin or thick. The sheath that comes with it is also very good, and after I have applied linseed a few times and warmed it by the fire and used and abused it, it is still in great shape with a nice dark color.

    Overall I love that axe and it is my go to worker. It gets used, abused, tossed in the bucket of my tractor, swung into dirt when I am splitting, etc. It has held up very well. Is the axe for everyone? No, nothing is. The BMC product is more of an axe with a story, a history, a tale. At least to me. When people ask me about the handle, that leads to conversation about axes, history, my collection, etc. Once I explain it, people usually always say - "I never knew there was that much history to axes" or something similar.

    Im not big on the hipster thing either, but after some time looking at various small companies with their products (tools, leather, clothing, etc) and how they are trying to make a go of it in the world, I respect them more for getting after it. I am insanely jealous that they are doing what they love to do everyday - I know I can't say that. So yeah I will poke fun at the whole hipster thing, but when I think about how people from the outside that would look in on me and my lifestyle, I can only imagine what they would say and think - and I am not here to make them understand me. You either do or you don't. I think more important is just respect for what others do.

    So thats my take on the whole thing if that makes sense. Its a good product at a price that won't be for everyone, and thats ok.
  13. Sidehill Gouger

    Sidehill Gouger

    Dec 29, 2007
    I know for certain I would buy another pro grade Stihl long before I would spend $600 on an axe. Best Made is down in the Wall Street part of NYC if that tells you anything. Lots of customers with second homes in the country "upstate."
  14. 300Six


    Aug 29, 2013
    Gidday Sidehill Gouger! Your forum handle wouldn't have originated from a "Journal of Irreproducible Results" article, from 35 years ago, would it!
  15. nickzdon


    Mar 3, 2011
    I've worked with Best Made on and off for years. As a product consultant, as a writer and as an axe restoration workshop leader/organizer. If the brand isn't for you that's fine, I'm not going to try and 'sell' anyone on buying their axes. But I will say that the dedication to the product, the history, and the world of axes is probably stronger at Best Made than elsewhere. The level of expertise and knowledge that goes into their customer service (full disclosure: which I consult on) is huge, and probably better than you'd get from a lot of other retailers. I've stood in front of the drop forge at Council and seen the axes being made. I've chatted with the Council family about manufacturing history, and shook hands with and thanked the forge operators. The location of Best Made may seem 'Wall Street' but there's a real love of the tool. And you know what? That's what this tool needs to stay alive. Anyone from the forum that wants to stop by and chat axes (provided I'm in NYC, I live in MN) is more than welcome to drop me a line: [email protected]. I'll pull out my restoration collection and we can talk shop over a cup of coffee or dram of whiskey.

    The last thought I'll leave you with is that trying to develop, sell, and maintain the production of an American made tool is really eff'n tough. It doesn't matter if your family has been in the business for 100 years, or your a brand new start up. And Best Made is trying, and succeeding, at producing a high quality product, and educating consumers about the history, maintenance, and beauty of the axe. Like I said, the Best Made brand may not be to your liking, and that's fine, but there's real heart and real knowledge there.
  16. M3mphis


    Jan 13, 2011
    I guess I forgot that BMC's painted felling axes retail for $300-$350. Filson's are $335, so they really aren't marking them up.
  17. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    What these fellows said. I'm not a big axe user these days, though I've had plenty of experience with 'em in the past, and while the painted models don't appeal to me it's only because I could do that myself. The unpainted Velvicuts are cheaper than straight from Council. If I were in the market for a top-shelf modern-production axe, I'd probably buy one of those and then DIY the paint job.
  18. Skweeker


    Jun 15, 2012
    BMC appears to me to have a business model aimed at becoming a large specialty retailer. Just my opinion. Other than the items I already own and purchased elsewhere, I see little on their website that would interest me regardless of the price tag.
  19. nickzdon


    Mar 3, 2011
    Best Made highly encourages people to paint their own axes. We even include how-to instructions in the axe manual that ships with each axe. It's also available online here.
  20. JGON


    Mar 12, 2010
    Shop Filson for wool and tin cloth. For axes, not so much.


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