Designer Who Sells $220 Axes in Manhattan Fears Being Seen as Hipster Selling Chic Tools

The New York Times has an amazing profile of Peter Buchanan-Smith , a 38-year-old designer who gets someone else to make hand-forged axes for him in Maine, paints the axes and packages them in wooden boxes in his studio in Tribeca, and sells the painted and packaged axes for between $180 and $220. His customers include Andy Spade, David Lynch, and a barista on Thompson Street who paid for one in installments.

According to writer Penelope Green, Buchanan-Smith told her that


he constantly worries that he’ll be perceived as “just some design hipster kicking it old-school selling some chic tools to a handful of other hipsters.”

His website also sells a $165 leather sling for wearing an ax on one’s back and a $35 metal whistle. And Green reports Buchanan-Smith “has commissioned a designer he met at an art camp in Minnesota to make vintage maps stamped with the Best Made Co. symbol, a bright red cross.”

What “make” and/or “vintage” would mean in this sentence, relative to one another, is unclear. 

Irony and masculinity were rushed to NYU Downtown Hospital, bloodied with ax wounds and unresponsive, on a pair of canvas stretchers with polished maple poles, modeled on the stretchers used by John Dos Passos in the ambulance service during the Great War. Doctors said it was unclear whether either would survive.