1999 – 2019*
Despite being one of the most recent Canadian brands there are a lot of unknowns for Strikemaster axes, and I haven’t yet confirmed if they were made in Canada or imported.
This brand is not associated with the much better-known Strikemaster brand owned by Rapala.
Strikemaster Canada was a manufacturer of striking tools for contractors and roofers. They made axes, hammers, the “Pelican Pik”, and Finn Hoe (Miner’s Muckscoop) with a showroom located in Gravenhurst, Ontario.
They were a B2B company (business to business) that provided tools to construction companies and hardware stores rather than direct sales. While I want them to have been Canadian-made, I am leaning toward the idea they were imported.
There are two distinct stages of Strikemaster axe, the first has the name stamped on the head, and then a second (likely a more recent version) doesn’t. In both cases, the weight is stamped on the bottom of the pole.
The heads actually seem to be good quality, the steel seems decent, and it’s clear the brand and weight markings stamped on the heads are applied by hand (likely positioned by hand under the hammer).
The (inactive) Strikemaster website described their axes as:
Drop forged steel heads are hardened and tempered with fully polished cutting edges. Steel heads are double – wedged with wood & steel wedges to hickory handles. Hickory handles are finished with a clear water based / environment friendly lacquer.
The textured yellow grip was an optional add-on that could be chosen on order – which supports the idea that Strikemaster did actually produce their own axes (somewhere).
Designed as a “Chainsaw Axe”
The primary pattern of Strikemaster axes has a wide blade that flares out at both the heel and toe. This pattern became quite popular after the introduction of the chainsaw for limbing, clearing brush, and quickly chopping through smaller trees.
The pole of the Strikemaster axe is also a little wider than most and well-suited for driving felling wedges if needed.
There was a hatchet, maul, mini-maul, and mining pattern of axe.
Why Strikemaster axes were likely Imported
While the axes certainly could have been made in the Gravenhurst area, as there are industrial capabilities in the area – there are few clues that stack up against them being made in Canada.
International & Import Connections
Research shows the business was started by an international businessman A. Ahmed Khan in 1999 who owned and operated multiple businesses outside of Canada.
Identical versions of other tools offered like the Pelican Pik and Finn Hoe are still available internationally under different brand names, which means they were likely made by a third party.
And another circumstantial clue is the final version of the website for Strikemaster Canada was also developed by a Pakistani company (a region also known for metal and tool works).
No evidence of “Made in Canada”
Even 20 years ago, companies knew to shout “Made in Canada” if they could – and StrikeMaster never did. They did however call out that their composite handles were “Made in the USA”.
And given how recently the business shut down, there would have been some evidence in the news. A local manufacturer shutting down would have warranted at least a small news story. There is never any mention of a property or factory in the area outside of the showroom.
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