Lately, I have been doing a lot of reading online about hand tools, especially those for timber framing. A couple of websites have caught my eye recently (which I’ll mention soon elsewhere), and during one of those late night reading ventures I stumbled upon this excellent video about the history and transformation of the Gränsfors Bruks axe company of Sweden, one of the top hand-forged tool manufacturers around.
I’ve been reading snippets about the company and its products elsewhere (mostly in catalogs), but this video gave me a much broader knowledge of the company than before, and I must say, it was very satisfying. Inspiring.
Gabriel Branby (the owner) talks about transforming the company from a bankrupt, mass production-style axe manufacturer, to a small scale, high quality shop with skilled smiths that hand forge their products with the utmost care and attention. It’s rare to find that kind of dedication and commitment to hand tools in this age of “quick and cheap is better” kind of culture, and learning of Branby’s motivation to transform the company was very refreshing.
Anyway, it’s a long video, but very interesting and inspirational. I recommend it to folks into hand tool craft and production, and small scale and sustainable economic models.
p.s. Check out another cool video inside the Gransfors Bruks factory here: Gränsfors Bruks: Still Hand Forging Axes in High Tech Gadget Age