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  • Axe handles, known as the helve, are made of hickory.

Two Christmases ago, Peter Buchanan-Smith, the graphic designer known for his work with Isaac Mizrahi and Paper magazine, asked for an axe. "I've always been object-orientated, both in my work and in life," he says. "There's something so beautiful and useful about an axe." But when he unwrapped an unremarkable plastic hatchet, his mission was clear. He hopped on his computer and started designing—inspired by the simple color combination of jockey silks and flags. Then he found one of America's oldest axe makers, still forging each blade by hand in Maine. The axes are shipped to Buchanan-Smith's New Jersey workshop where he paints, polishes and finishes each one. And while it's fortuitously timed with the romanticized resurgence of American workwear, perhaps this isn't the best time to launch a line of luxury axes. "I think when the economy is tanking, we all start thinking about a simpler life," he says. "Like, I don't need the next generation of the iPhone, what I need is an axe."

From $250 at Best Made Co. and Partners & Spade


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