In 25 words or less describe who you are, where you’re located and what you make.
My name is Victor Sultana of Victor Axe + Tool located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I refurbish, build and design axes and hand tools.
What made you want to be a maker?
Every day, I have a need to make and that doesn’t mean starting from scratch. I feel like most makers today, including myself, are improvers. We see something and have a natural desire to make it better or make it our own. Making is one of the things I do that is essential to my personal happiness and when I stop, I feel somewhat incomplete. Being able to start a project, from concept to completion, gives me the sense of pride, control and creativity that I need to be successful in life, as well as in my 9-to-5.
I never thought much about axes or other hand tools until I saw the Best Made Co. American Felling Axe. It was beautiful. I had to have it… but I also had to have $350. I mentioned building my own and a friend/co-worker was on the phone in seconds with a contact he had in the lumber business and before the end of that very same day, he had hickory on its way. The motivation then was my own frustration with not completing projects in which I could see no end. I wouldn’t let myself stop. From then on, ʻthenʼ being January of 2012, it was about completing a step and then researching the next one that I had to take on. First, drying the wood and then backing up to build my own kiln. Starting to carve the shape, but traveling back and forth to the local wood source for better tools. In the end, with all my time (approx. 30 hours) and all the money I spent on tools and beer, I’m sure I surpassed the cost of the initial axe that had caught my eye. However, the difference was I had built my own axe… and my own story.
Why should people support your business/products?
Whenever I share with someone that I build axes, it isn’t just a simple conversation. They want to know, “Why axes?” or how I got started. Then the whole story begins to unfold about axe number one. As I’ve continued to build custom tools for people throughout the country, almost every one of them has a story to share as to why they desire an axe. I get to work with them to help tell their story or the story of who they’ll be gifting it to, through a very uniquely designed and hand crafted tool.
From experience, I can also share that the tools I build using vintage axe heads will perform and last longer than any of what you will find at your local, big box hardware store. There are a few exceptions, but not many.
Favorite product that you make?
My favorite axe to build and to use is what’s considered a Boy’s Axe. They have all the shape and feel of a full-sized felling axe, but weigh less and come in lengths between 26” - 28”. They’re the most versatile in regards to type of use - everything from small felling to splitting to trail work. If you’re only going to own one axe, this is what I suggest.
List five of your favorite tools.
1. Wooden Wedge Mallet (restored)
2. Nicholson® Bastard File
3. Wood River® Straight Spoke Shave
4. Stanley® Surform Pocket Plane
5. Apple® iPhone 5
(photographs from Andrew Maguire Photography)
Make : John Neeman Tools
Film : John Neeman Tools