Axe handles are traditionally made of hickory or ash. These woods are used for their strength and ability to withstand shock without splitting or cracking.
When choosing a new handle to put on a vintage refurbished axe Brant & Cochran chooses “A” grade handles which have an optimal grain orientation without knots. The grain should run perpendicular to the top of the axe being no more than 20 degrees off center.
There is some debate as to whether a handle should be all sapwood (white) and not have any heartwood (dark) in it. Some like these mixed handles for the look. Finally, we make sure that the kerf cut into the end of the axe handle is in the middle of the handle and not offset.
Why can't I find a good axe handle?
Why grain orientation is important
You can find a lot more information on axe handles in our blog posts: