Welcome! My name is Andy Gregory and I am the Proprietor of Northwest Axe Company. Originally from Chicago, I grew up camping and scouting in the Midwest, where my love of woodsmanship started at an early age as I spent much of my summers in the woods of Wisconsin. My desire to be in the mountains took me to Durango, Colorado for a couple of years before making my home in Seattle. After graduating in 2002 with a BA degree in Ecological Studies, in 2005 I went back to school and earned my MA in Elementary Education, which saw me teaching full time for four years. Amongst other endeavors, I am currently a substitute teacher for Seattle Public Schools.
© Adam Hoff
It all started with the old hatchet head you see below. It sat in my tool box for a number of years, until a spring day had me inspired to finally clean it up. Taking to it with some tools and elbow grease, I eventually uncovered a beautifully forged chunk of steel. I set to hanging a new handle on the head, and satisfied with the result, I posted a picture online to show my achievement to friends. It was immediately well-received, and soon thereafter Northwest Axe Company was born.
© Andy Gregory
As soon as collecting began in earnest, I realized that these axes and hatchets were all in need of sheaths, so I began crafting custom heavy duty leather sheaths for each axe. Working with leather turned out to be a very satisfying and rewarding experience for me, as much as it has been a useful one. The need for a new wallet came up, so I made one, as with a dopp kit and tool bag. Similar items will eventually make their way to the store, so keep an eye out for them in the future.
© Maria Bianco
A word about refurbished items. Why "refurbished" and not "restored?" To restore something is to bring something back to it's original condition. To refurbish something is to make something clean, fresh, and complete (and therefore useful) again. While I may occasionally restore something, by and large, most of the vintage tools I sell here will be refurbished. It should also be noted that, due to the used nature of these items, they will not be in "perfect" condition. They will, however, be in good usable condition.
There are debates within the vintage and antique tool enthusiast community over how to best go about cleaning up these old tools, and indeed there are many choices for how to go about refurbishing. After finding a tool that is still in good usable condition, the main determination is whether or not to attempt to only clean the surface of rust and debris, thereby leaving the aged patina and character of use with the tool, or to take it all off and start anew, allowing the new user to develop a new patina through their own use. I try to honor both sides of this debate by offering some tools with their aged patina and some tools completely clean. I appreciate both, and in either case I think you'll find that these tools inherently have much more character than most of the new tools you can find on the market today, especially the likes of the sadly outsourced and poorly made axes you'll find at most hardware stores.
© Robin Stein
In addition to refurbished tools, I am currently working on developing a completely new line of tools made right here in the USA. I couldn't be more excited to produce brand new tools, utilizing American manufacturing to create quality items that are designed to outlast the user. These will be tools you'll be proud to hand down to your kids and grandkids. You can follow us on facebook, instagram, and twitter to keep up to date with new developments on this exciting part of Northwest Axe Company. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
While I take the history and lore of woodsmanship and axemaking in America seriously, I am constantly learning and I like to have fun with what I do. I love tools, and I am trying to honor the rich history of American manufacturing by bringing life back to these old tools. It is my hope that these things bring some joy and usefulness to others, that they may then pass on from generation to generation with pride.
I owe a great many people thanks for their support through this whole process. Thanks to my family, to Robin Stein for his photography, to Jesse Brown for his design, and to my close friends for their encouragement.