HJE Deals on Vaughan Axes and Tools

Discussion in 'Gear Deals' started by rescout, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. rescout

    rescout Scout

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    Harry J Epstein Co. of Kansas City has "Grayvik" tools on sale. These are supposed to be Vaughan "seconds" that are cosmetically blemished, and set aside to be sold as Grayvik. These are Made in USA tools, and among other things they have a wooden handled "belt axe" (I believe this is the same as the Sears Craftsman hatchet), a steel handled "camp axe" (like an Estwing hatchet) for $15 each, a carpenter's "half hatchet" for $12 (same as sometimes stocked in WalMart under the Vaughan name), and the rigbuilder's hatchet for $16. I've always wanted a rigbuilder's hatchet and nobody locally stocks them, so I was pleased to see them offered by HJE.

    I have received a belt axe and two rigger's hatchets. All have heads covered in thick blue epoxy paint. The hatchet has decent grain orientation, and the bit seems thinner than the Sears Craftsman hatchet that I cannot seem to find at the moment. I'm please with that. One of the riggers has 90 degree (i.e. wrong way) grain orientation, and the other is about 45 degrees. It appears they skipped the milling of the forge marks past the bit (the regular rigger has cleanly milled sides all the way back), and the edges (under that thick epoxy paint) are ragged. The hammer face "checkering" has flattened points on one of them, and the handles have been secured with three (!!) wedges. They have a look of "here, learn on these" or "these are seconds, so from here on out these are the corners to cut", but there are no "structural" issues; no warped heads, no crooked or loose handles. There's a fair bit of work to be done: removing epoxy paint and filing edges, and removing the thin coat of finish on the wood and oiling them down. But I'm satisfied for the price.

    Second update. Epoxy paint is tough. One of the rigging hatchet's edge bevel was ground almost flat on one side - it would a fairly good single bevel for a left hander (which is not me). It had some chips in the edge that took a fair amount of filing. The sides are rough forged, and rough ground at the edge under that blue epoxy. With a bit of power sanding, it isn't highly finished but doesn't look bad. The hatchet, it turns out, has a bit of twist to the bit. It is fully but roughly ground under the blue paint. Still serviceable, but probably a better deal to pick one out at a local Sears store (if there are any left). As you can tell, these are a bit more than "cosmetic" seconds, but if the heat treat is right they will be fine.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
  2. Michael OD

    Michael OD Scout

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    I've ordered from them before, good quality and fast shipping
     
  3. USMCPOP

    USMCPOP Scout

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    Harry J Epstein Co is the only place I know that will do custom art on your shipping box. They have a lot of neat stuff. I'd love to explore the store. The leather axe head covers they sell look to be a good deal. They also sell blemished combo and straight squares made by PEC at good prices.

    I used to get to the Canal Street area of lower Manhattan (Chinatown) often. There were a few hardware/tool/surplus places on the street with some really nice stuff, and priced well. Unusual files, vises from Poland, Swedish hammers, hoe heads and whatnot. And I'd get kitchen knives and tongs for handling charcoal at the oriental kitchen supply/department stores.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Mr. Tettnanger

    Mr. Tettnanger Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I can’t imagine how lousy these are if they really are Vaugh seconds!

    The last few Vaughn tools that I bought could barely pass as 3rds! Absolute garbage!


    With that said, I’m tempted to pick up a few of those tiny axes!
     
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  5. usherenko

    usherenko Tracker

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    I love Harry J Epsteins. Coolest hardware store I've ever been to. I used to live in KC, new I stop by the store every time I visit. Father and son that run the shop are great people. And they have great closeouts and generally great prices, often better then amazon.
     

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