The Swedish Broad Axe
This summer Seattle-based designer, builder, and coveter of German hand tools, Brian Beck participated in a log building class in Gränsfor, Sweden, a small settlement surrounded by woods and fields, a few hours north of Stockholm.
The classes are held at Gränsfor Bruk, a company that has made handcrafted axes since 1902.
In the class, which is held next to the factory, the students learn how to make traditional joints and the principles of log buildings.
Brian tells us “These corner joints called Knuts are surprisingly complex compared to our Western joints.”
The students learn the tradition of flattening the sides of the logs - this is where the Swedish Broad axe comes in handy.
“ It takes a while to get good at this but when it's done and the light hits it you can see this amazing texture left by the axe.”
Brian summarizes the standard Swedish work day - breakfast/coffee work two hours, coffee break work two hours, lunch/coffee work two hours, coffee break work two hours, dinner/coffee.
“I was born in the wrong country” he says sadly.
However he did get to keep the axe.