Fawn Foot Axe

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.

Comparison with modern handle.

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

About walkerg

Woodworker and writer
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2 Responses to Fawn Foot Axe

  1. Turnus says:

    Small “fete”? Really? Why not small “feet”? Wouldn’t that be a feat?

  2. Doug F. says:

    Wow! That’s a beauty! Makes you wonder how it felt chopping down trees. Probably great.

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