22nd Jun, 2010

No More Snow and Nealley

As much I as I would like to be able to supply outdoor folks with a quality, properly tuned axe from a production source (even though it requires modification by me), it seems to be harder and harder to do.

I have been ordering my axes directly from Snow and Nealley in batches. There has always been variation from axe to axe in these batches, but in the last two batches I have received something has changed. I don’t know what it is, but it appears they changed something in their forging process. The head shape has been different and the variation between axes is larger than it has been before.

I was able to work these variations out, but with what I have been receiving lately that does not look possible. It would be either to modify not up to par axes, or scrap half of what I receive (which I can not afford to do). Despite my best efforts, I would not be sending out something that I would be happy with. So, until I find something else, I will no longer be modifying Snow and Nealley axes. I will sell my current stock, and that is it. 

I will continue to look for vintage heads, and restoration projects, but obviously those are few and far between and much more expensive to complete. 

Please let me know if you have any questions in your quest for your perfect axe.



Axe quality control seems to be a dark art, I remember the Vaughan sub-zeros being eminently modifiable but the heat treating got worse and when they were re-ground huge chunks came out.
I like the look of the S&N axes but I’ve seldom heard good reviews, the common complaint being bad tempering.

I’m sorry to hear this, I’ve been promising myself one of your modded hudson bays since I’ve known I’ll be moving to the US in the fall.

They’re now listed as out of stock, does that mean they’re all gone?


I was wondering about this. We had a tool care day across a couple of Nat. Forests a month or so back, and what I saw with the Snow and Neallys was not pretty… big chunks of steel coming out (on relatively soft woods too), etc.

Glad I’ve got a nice vintage 3.5 lb Plumb double-bit to work with.

That is interesting info.

I have not noticed any performance issues. In fact, I have had a lot of good luck. However, I have been using 24″ and smaller, and not full size stuff (from them anyway). The larger the axe the more impact and force it has to deal with, so that is definitely interesting info.

The majority of the problem I was having was the inconsistency between them, and trying to make some “consistent” available to folks. It is just frustrating when certain things are out of your control, yet you are putting your name on it. If that makes any sense :)


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