As we start to plan out the camping season, we start to realize that we need some new gear. Tent, sleeping bag and outer apparel are all taken care of (or we just borrow them from our friends) but sometimes it’s what you don’t think about (until you are in the middle of the forest) that are the really important pieces. Insert Trust Co, a new-ish company handcrafting, custom axes in the back of our favorite place, Union/Pine. Then enjoy a marshmallow on the fire you made in the middle of the Tillamook Forest. Doesn’t sound too shabby.
E+E: How did Trust Co. get started? Tell us about how you and Gene forged your relationship.Nicholas Salomone: Truly, the beginning of Trust Co. can be traced back to two friends working the same day job. (A day job that was requiring an inordinate amount of hours.) From this daily grind (there and back, there and back) came a desire to do something completely different, to create something physical (as opposed to the iPhone apps we were working on 70 hours a week). I had recently purchased a beautiful new ax in anticipation of the upcoming camping season and probably talked about it way too much. Gene, in turn, picked up an old double bit ax from one of the many estate sales that he frequented. It was in pretty good shape, but needed work. We started taking turns sanding down the rusted metal and the old handle -- the result was a beautiful, clean tool. We started this process over again on a few other axes and then one day, while walking through the Portland Flea, Gene turned to me and said "We could totally sell those axes here.” So, we started collecting old rusted ax heads and working on them in our spare time. The rest, as they say, is history.
E+E: Where does the axe magic happen?NS: We have a workshop on the 2nd level above Union/Pine in the SE. Every aspect of our process happens there. Our friends own Union/Pine and were nice enough to let us use that area as a place to get dirty (since neither of us had a garage or anything). We just sort of stayed there, and over time it’s morphed into a really great shop. Thanks, Summer and Patrick!
E+E: Tell us more about the details of your axes. How many varieties of axes do you create?NS: We pride ourselves on the fact that there isn't much to our axes. We wanted to create a tool that was beautiful in its simplicity. The heads are all restored to a mirror finish and honed to a razor sharp edge. The handles are handmade from hickory planks and adorned only with a "T". And the sheaths are custom-made for each ax from Oregon Leather. Thats it. No painting, no frills -- just a solid tool.
We restore every type of ax we can get our hands on. Generally, that means double bit, single bit and hatchet, but we've worked with all sorts. Too many to list I suppose.
E+E: What's your best ax story?NS: Well, I guess I don’t have any really good ones. The most memorable was when I was 10 years old and chopping wood in the back yard (my parents were unaware I was doing this) and I missed the stump and split my shin open. Gave my mom a fright.