I recently reported the death of one of my splitting axes (see Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant!). Shortly after that, I shopped for its replacement in our local hardware stores.
As I did that, I couldn’t resist purchasing an auxiliary child’s ax (see A Child’s Ax Can Do a Man’s Job). I depend on mine so heavily that a back up would be good thinking.
However, I found a problem.
Both of our hardware stores carry Collins axes. Collins used to have a very good reputation for wood cutting tools, but I read reports that quality has gone downhill since they moved their factory out of the U.S. If that’s true, I certainly saw evidence of it in the local stores!
Of the three or four child’s axes currently in stock in town, all of them had the head installed upside down!
If you use an ax yourself, you probably know that for an ax to be properly balanced, it should rest on a flat surface with the base of the handle and the blade edge touching the surface. If the blade touches the surface in the middle of the edge, it’s properly balanced. These upside down heads will not do that. It’s not far off, as the head is shaped fairly symmetrically, but it is off, degrading the value of the tool.
I considered buying one anyway, and rehafting it. However, I’m not real good at this (see Hafting an Ax). Besides, a factory hafted head almost requires destroying the handle to remove; the job wouldn’t be worth the cost.
I’m not ready to say that the problem with these axes comes as a direct result of “overseas” manufacture, but I won’t buy another one of these from Collins until they manage to get their heads on straight!