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Axe Handle Sources: Collective Review

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by pik, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. pik

    pik Scout

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    The goal of this thread is to be an ongoing collaborative review of axe handle sources since information about manufacturers and sellers is scattered throughout the forum. I have started with some notes summarizing my search for axe handles.

    If you reply to this thread or otherwise communicate to me your experiences, I will add them to this initial post which will then hopefully serve as an accurate indication of what others can expect from these places.

    If in addition to the type of information already listed you include by brand (a) how many of their handles you have seen, (b) how many of those were "good," and (c) how many they tend to have on hand at one time, then I will add and sort by a running "success rate" once there is enough data.

    So here it is, and hopefully folks find this helpful:

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Fleet Farm
    Bowman Handles
    Overall
    • a good place to look with high success rates at new/large stores, relatively low prices
    Product info
    • (very light) clear finish
    • one each wooden and metal wedges
    • hefty handles
    • large swell on (hand) end
    Styles
    • 36" double bit
    • 36" single bit fawn's foot
    • 36" single bit straight (axe eye maul)
    • 28" boy's axe fawn's foot
    Quality
    • very white wood
    • grain is straight regardless of orientation
    • approximately 15 of each style to choose from
    • sometimes eye is off-centered (uneven shoulders)
    • if eye placement is centered, immaculate handles can be found
    • included wood wedge is not very good
    • included metal wedge is quite large

    Lowe's
    Ames (True Temper)
    Overall
    • another good place to look, high success rates at new/large stores, relatively low prices
    Quality
    • excellent selection
    • great grain on about half

    Menard's
    Baker ProTools
    Overall
    • very unlikely to find an outstanding handle
    Product info
    • clear lacquer finish
    • wooden wedge
    Styles
    • 36" single bit fawn's foot
    • 36" double bit
    Quality
    • very few of each style available to choose from
    • poor grain orientation

    Sears
    Link Handle
    Overall
    • very unlikely to find an outstanding handle
    Product info
    • fire finished and lacquered
    Styles
    • 36" single bit fawn's foot
    • 36" single bit straight
    • 36" double bit
    Quality
    • very few of each style available to choose from
    • poor grain orientation

    Ace Hardware
    Link Handle
    Overall
    • very unlikely to find an outstanding handle
    Product info
    • fire finished and lacquered
    • individuals cannot buy directly from Link
    Styles
    • 36" single bit fawn's foot
    • 36" single bit straight
    • 36" double bit
    • 28" boy's axe (may not be available at all locations)
    • hatchet
    Quality
    • very few of each style available to choose from
    • poor grain orientation

    (Online)
    House Handle
    Overall
    • a reasonable "plan B" when you can't get what you want from brick and mortar stores, e.g. rare items like broadaxe or 3-5 pound single bit 28" straight handles
    Product info
    • medium-heavy clear lacquer finish on grade AA handles
    • one each wooden and metal wedges
    Styles
    • too many to list (see catalog at website)
    • unknown if special orders accepted
    Quality
    • yellowish wood
    • good customer service will handpick handles, sand off finish, etc. for no extra charge
    • if you email them, they will answer you
    • mediocre finish and workmanship: dents and tear-outs often in handles
    • lacquer in the wedge slot
    • included wedges are usually spalted (good or bad unknown?)

    Hickory Handle (eBay)
    Overall
    • good stuff but more expensive
    Styles
    • many styles already available
    • special orders also possible
    Quality
    • very good quality and great customer service

    Tennessee Hickory Handles (J Hollywood Edge Co)
    Overall
    • somewhat expensive, thick handles
    Styles
    • 28, 30, 32, 36" single curved and straight, octagon available
    • 28, 30, 36" double bit, octagon available
    Quality
    • grain about 45 degrees
    • 1 in 8 have straight grain
    • kerf slightly off center
    • handle thicker than others
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2012
    TedPalmer and rsnurkle like this.
  2. upthecreek

    upthecreek Guide

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    my input would be that finding good handles on a regular basis is a real drag. I don't find paying too much a reasonable alternative.
     
  3. Chert

    Chert Guide

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    I believe Skog has bought out the entire worlds supply of Axe handles
     
  4. brionic

    brionic Blissful simpleton Supporter

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    One of our local Ace stores has a wider variety of Link handles, including hatchet and boys handle lengths. None was the high quality waxed style, all were lacquered, a few were acceptable. None was excellent. Dealing with Link directly was a dead end.
     
  5. Bushwacker73

    Bushwacker73 Scout

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    I have a 24 inch handle with a full size eye from the Hickory Handle store. Very good quality and great service.
     
  6. treeclimber617

    treeclimber617 Tracker

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    Thanks for starting this thread, Pik...I have been looking a lot lately for good axe handles, and I hope this will be a great resource for others.

    Just made my first order today with the hickory handle store on ebay (hickoryhandlestore.com)...hopefully I'll have good things to report.
     
  7. Ahnkochee

    Ahnkochee Bushmaster

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    When I needed a axe handle all the hardware store I went to close to home had terrible selection. Then I went to a brand new Lowe's store in Honolulu which just opened less than a month earlier, and they had an excellent selection of I believe they were Ames hickory handles with great grain on half of them for $11.99. When their stock is picked through with only the bad half left over I will be back to square one though I'm not planning on needing anymore axe handles anytime soon. ;) Bean counters will only look at inventory count, and not quality. Axes never a big seller here in the islands especially when a cheap chainsaw costs less than a quality axe. :rolleyes:
     
  8. jmmiller33

    jmmiller33 Tracker

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    J Hollywood Edge Co

    I dont have a camera right now so no pics but I did order a 32" curved single bit handle from these guys(J. Hollywood Edge Co.) at $12.99 on tuesday, it arrived friday. Hung a kelly jersey pattern on it friday night. The kerf was a little off center (no big deal to me) and the grain ran about 45 degrees as advertised. The handle is alot thicker than the ones I see in hardware stores in my area and much more comfortable for a fellling axe. I believe the site says they get these from Tennessee Hickory. Quick shipping and I got what I asked for, overall very pleased with it.
     
  9. WoodsJack

    WoodsJack Guide

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    Flea Market
    Random
    Overall
    • a fun place to look with total crapshoot odds but really low prices
    Product info (sampling)
    • (very light) clear finish
    • one wooden and 2 metal wedges
    • hefty handle
    • nice curves
    Styles[BR]
    • 28" single bit fawn's foot
      Quality
      • nice light hickory
      • grain is surprisingly straight
      • approximately varying of different styles to choose from
      • sometimes eye is off-centered (uneven shoulders)
     
  10. Wm. Zoberst

    Wm. Zoberst Tinder Gatherer

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    Hi, all. I just had a bad experience with Beaver Tooth Handle Company that was made even worse by their handling of it. I'm wondering if others have been treated the same shoddy way.

    I ordered from their website a 28" handle or a half/boy's single bit head I had (a 2-1/4lb True-Temper Flint Edge). The description on the site said that the eye size was 2" x 5/8", so I ordered. What came was 28", but the eye size was MUCH smaller, 1-3/4" x 1/2".

    I pointed out this error, and asked about an exchange. They responded that I'd ordered a 1-7/8" x 9/16" eye (Nevermind that what I received wasn't even THAT size). When I then directed them to the two places on their site and Facebook page where the 2" dimension is advertised, they responded: "You got what you ordered."

    No apology, no offer to make it right.

    Now I have wasted my money on an axe handle that will only fit a hatchet I will never own.

    Anyone else been treated this way? Are they this sloppy with all orders and rude to customers?


    Thanks. Beaver Tooth 3.jpg Beaver Tooth 1.jpg Beaver Tooth 2.jpg
     

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