BEAT THAT: Steve Lehmann has 1630 axes and adze in his collection while wife Maree has 400 eggbeaters.
BEAT THAT: Steve Lehmann has 1630 axes and adze in his collection while wife Maree has 400 eggbeaters. Sarah Harvey

One couple, two crazy collections

MEET the Brassall husband and wife team that bring new meaning to the word "collector".

Steve Lehmann has 1630 axes and adze. His wife Maree has about 400 eggbeaters and 30 egg whisks.

The eggbeaters line every wall in the house, except the toilet and bathroom. There is one in the bedroom, although Maree plans to increase that.

"I started putting them in there, but Steve was worried they would fall down," she grins.

"But I am working on getting others in there. With some wire mesh we could put it on our bedhead and secure them on properly. But I've still got a lot of talking to do on that one."

There were axes in a bedroom cupboard...originally.

"We were moving the cupboard around...and there were about 50 in there that I didn't know about," Maree says.

"Here I was thinking it was nice and safe in there."

The axe shed is Steve's habitat.

"I only go down to the house to sleep and eat. I've got beer up here in the shed. I live up here," he says.

Maree scours eBay and secondhand and antique shops for the quirky and the rare.

A Josiah Lorkin patented eggbeater from the 1800s is a favourite.

"I call it my dog collar eggbeater," she says.

"It is pottery, the size of a coffee mug with a little handle and a lid and these dog collar spikes are on the inside.

"You crack an egg into it, put the lid on and shake it and it does it in two seconds.

"I picked it up for $150, which was brilliant. I could easily have paid $1500.

"I do like eggs. Every so often I will buy a dozen eggs and get half a dozen beaters down and try them."

Steve finds a lot of eggbeaters for Maree and encourages her to bid on them.

"But she's still got a long way to go to catch up," he grins.

Axes have been in Steve's blood since he was a lad.

"I cut a lot of firewood as a young fella back on the Downs," he says.

"I come from a little place called Allora out near Warwick and I used to cut all the firewood for my grandparents, my family and some of the widows and pensioners around town.

"So I always loved to swing an axe. About 20 years ago I started to pick a few up and it has gone from there.

"Now I have got 1630 axes and adze. An axe is a roughing out tool and an adze is a finishing tool."

Steve is fond of shipwrights' and coachmakers' axes, while an individual favourite is the mahogany squaring axe that is pictured in the photo on this page

"There are some I can't stand the thought of parting with, and that I would like to have go to the grave with me," he says.

Steve certainly looks the part. You could imagine him felling trees in the pioneer days.

Stroll through his collection and you feel secure.

"Axes are a woodworking tool, but only a danger in the hands of a fool," he grins.

"I've never wanted to be the biggest axe collector, but I've wanted to build a historically significant collection, which I have been able to do.

"I can't see the point of housing a collection like this unless you can understand it. I pursue axes of the traditional trades more than anything else.

"It is all about memories. I really think that I should have been born in the 1850s. I can relate to that time. That was my golden age."

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