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Article by James Nowka    (01-22-09 04:15.26)

Gabriel Branby CEO of Gransfors buys Wetterlings Axe

The SHOT Show is one of the shows I truly enjoy going to. It’s like old home week. I get the chance to visit with fellow forumites, co-workers, past employers, and meeting new people. This show was no different. I had the opportunity to meet, after 10 years of trying to connect with him, a fella from Sweden who calls himself the Axe-Man, and without question deserves this name. Gabriel Branby is the CEO of Gransfors Bruks, the maker of what can be said to be one of the finest and most complete line of axes and hatchets in the world. The Axe-Man has a level of enthusiasm that can only be described as explosive, to the level that it spills over to whomever he is visiting with!

Gabriel loves everything “axes”, their use, history, and manufacture, and can be also called “Gabriel the Guardian of Axe History”. While visiting with him, one gets the feeling that his mission is not just to crank out fine chopping tools, but to keep alive the Axe industry, not just in Sweden, but all over the world. He is a true Axe enthusiast.

Actions speak louder than words and Gabriel's action will rarely be equaled. The Axe-Man had a chance to visit a struggling foundry in Sweden, the oldest axe manufacturer in the country. It was about to close its doors, a living piece of history lost. Gabriel bought the Wetterlings Axe Company so that it would not go the way of the dinosaur. This move was not to remove competition from the market, which would be considered the normal business plan, but to preserve its history.

When asked about Gransfors purchasing Wetterlings, Gabriel quickly corrected me and handed me a typed note. He told me that he had personally bought the company, and asked me to share the words he had written.

So here are in his words:

  • Quote:
Does Gransfors Bruks own Werrerlings Axe Forge? No – but they are owned by the same fanatic Axe-man. The two companies are, and will remain, independent.

Iron, forging and sharp tools have been a fundamental part of Swedish history the last 1500 years. The Swedish axe – in the Viking age a weapon and symbol of power – is today an admired and functional tool. Axe forging and working with axes isstill part of the Swedish culture.

S. A. Wetterlings Axe Forge was founded in 1880 and Gransfors Bruks in 1902. Both forges are still operating. Nobody can really own the knowledge, memories and artifacts built in to these antique forges – they belong to the Swedish heritage and the small-scale industrial history of Sweden. Someone, though, has to make the critical decisions, protect values built up by previous generations and pay the interests to the bank. These are the obligations that give me the right to write axe-man and owner on my business card.

In cooperation with the blacksmiths, I have been able to run Gransfors Bruks since 1985. Now, it is indeed interesting to learn from and work with the Jungefors family, the previous owners, and still active and in charge at Wetterlings. They harbor three generations of axe knowledge in the family. An intense and passionate interest in axe production and axe culture is what actually brought these two old companies to start cooperating; all the time focusing not to destroy the unique and distinctive character of each company. The people in two old Swedish Axe Companies have decided to “take the responsibility for the axe culture in the world”, to keep and to pass on to the future generations the knowledge of axe manufacturing and how to use axes.

Of course we are proud of the companies' old history – but age is in reality not very important. However, for us it is important to learn from the past and how we can use the understanding to make high quality axes. We all have a responsibility to take care of and preserve the inheritance given by hard working people in the past – and create - and act. The companies' power to attract and keep skilled and professional blacksmiths has always been and will always be a key factor for the companies' future. Knowledge, culture and respect for ethical values will be our guidelines.

Sweden in August 2008

Gabriel Branby, Axe-Man

Username Comments
Mikael W
Super Moderator
01-22-09 10:30.31 - Post#1743169    

    In response to James Nowka

This was indeed news to me!

Thanks for sharing!



bax 40
Master Member KnifeNut!
01-22-09 17:13.47 - Post#1743553    

    In response to Mikael W

I am very glad to hear this ,I have long held the belief that a wetterling is a close second to gb at half the price and own both with another gb on the way from canada. I hope they both go on forever. The one on its way was bought from the ax man hisself some years ago according to the gentleman I am getting it from while the ax man was promoting his product in Canada.

I am looking forward to it as it is the hunters ax.

God is Dog spelled backwards!

Journeyman KnifeNut!
01-22-09 19:48.20 - Post#1743625    

    In response to James Nowka

Very admirable. I love my Gransfors Splitting Axe.
Knight of the Toothpick of Doom

Master Member KnifeNut!
04-11-09 20:27.58 - Post#1814379    

    In response to RSL

Well he'll be pleased to know that one of the forestry contractors I sometimes work for was recommended Fiskars but bought Granfors as being the better product. The boys in his crew are real happy with them
I'm paranoid only cause everyone's out to get me!

04-22-10 15:37.56 - Post#2115813    

    In response to antonio_luiz

I am very glad to hear this ,I have long held the belief that a wetterling is a close second to gb at half the price and own both with another gb on the way from canada.
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