Our Story


The Mission

Brant & Cochran operates out of its South Portland, Maine shop where it forges the Allagash Cruiser and Dirigo Belt Axe -- the only Maine wedge pattern camp axes being made today.  We also restore vintage axes, and sell related accessories and apparel. 

Make*Educate*Curate is Brant & Cochran’s mission. We manufacture and restore axes using time tested techniques and the highest quality American made materials.   We educate our users on the safe use and care of their axes.  Finally, we curate history of axe making in Maine.

The Name

Brant & Cochran was the name of our Grandfather’s tool supply business which operated in Detroit, Michigan from the late 1940’s until 1976. Leland Ferguson was born in a log cabin near Albany, Kentucky in 1909 the oldest of six siblings.  He left the farm for Detroit to seek his fortune at age 18.  He worked at Ford Motor Company in Highland Park, Michigan before working for Fisher Body and rising to the rank of master mechanic during World War II.  After World War II he and his partners began to buy military surplus machine tools to restore and sell.  Leland was the silent partner in Brant & Cochran from its inception.  His hard work ethic and determination rubbed off on his children and grandchildren.  Many of them worked through high school or college at Brant & Cochran, another of his ventures The Detroit Metal Tube Craft Co. or in one of his friend’s light manufacturing businesses.  We adopted the Brant & Cochran name as a tribute to our Grandfather, Leland Ferguson.   

The Logo

One thing many of Leland’s children and grandchildren inherited from him were tool boxes stuffed with wrenches, micrometers, calipers and gauges among other tools. Stuffed in one of these tool boxes grandson Mark Ferguson found a number of matchbooks from Brant & Cochran.  This simple logo with its unique font and red-lined chevron is the basis for our logo.

Axes, Why Axes?

All of the partners in Brant & Cochran have been around the outdoors all of their life. Canoeing in Northern Minnesota, camping throughout America, and hiking and climbing in Maine a good camp axe has always been a part of their gear.  But this is not what inspired the birth of Brant & Cochran’s axe business.

In 2012, Steve Ferguson’s godson was graduating from high school and planning to go to forestry school at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks. Steve thought buying a good American-made axe would be an appropriate graduation gift.  Heading to his nearby hardware and outdoor stores in Maine Steve was distressed to find no American made options.  Brant & Cochran was created to help solve this problem.  

Here is a talk we gave at the Maine Charitable Mechanic's Hall in Portland on August 29, 2017 giving an overview of B&C, its work and its mission:


 More of our history - - -

The Story of Brant & Cochran:  Year 1 - 2015

The Story of Brant & Cochran:  Year 2 - 2016

The Story of Brant & Cochran:  Year 3 - 2017