There is no substitute for feeling the stone, the metal, the plaster, or the wood in the hand; to feel its weight; to feel its texture; to struggle with it in the world rather than in the mind alone. (William M. Dupree)
The first time I laid eyes on this fawn foot axe handle, I remember thinking – Shazaaam!
Tom is a good friend and tool collector with a great eye. He’s not on a quest to acquire every iteration of Stanley Sweetheart plane or every Diston saw. Instead, he’s on the lookout for tools that show a spark of brilliance or beauty. This 19th century axe handle is a good example. Amazingly this handle was never fitted with a blade. It’s NOS (New Old Stock) pure 19th century artisan toolmakers art. It has no makers mark but has an unmistakable signature, a perfect blend of utility and beauty. As delightful as it is to the eye, the message it sends through your hands is better. One senses this is a link to centuries of axemanship distilled generation after generation.
It’s no small fete to refine a design until utility and beauty dance together. Whenever I see that dance, whether it’s an axe handle or arm rest on a chair, I try to make a mental note, grab a sketch, or a photo if I can. Or in this case, keep it beside my workbench for a few weeks as a tangible reminder of the richness of our craft.
George R. Walker