Working Axes is an authorized source for Snow & Nealley axes. The manufacturer does not have an official website.
Built in Maine. At work around the world.
Snow and Nealley Axes are 100% forged, tempered, and assembled in the USA of American materials.
Born in the logging boom of the 1860s, shaped by the demands of consumers and professionals in the 20th century, Snow and Nealley has been re-established as an American company dedicated to small-batch quality.
Meet the Models
Limbing, splitting, chopping: find the axe that fits your wood.
Penobscot Bay Kindling Axe
This axe is a backpacker’s delight. Small enough for carrying, yet big enough to get you the firewood you need. Ideal for splitting kindling wood at home, at camp, at the lodge, or on the trail. Features the famous Hudson Bay head fitted to a knobbed 18″ select American hickory handle to allow one-handed use.
This axe was originally designed for trappers, hunters, and fishermen on expeditions along the Hudson Bay. Its lightweight head makes it easy to carry. Its 24″ handle gave it the versatility outdoorsmen needed. Today, whether pounding tent stakes or for more traditional uses, it’s the favorite of outdoor enthusiasts everywhere. Featuring a 1-3/4 lb head on a 24″ handle.
The perfect lightweight camping axe for the outdoor enthusiast. Designed especially for hiking and camping, this axe features a 1-1/4 lb head with a 15″ handle. A great starter axe for the young camper!
A versatile utility axe that works well on fence posts, garden stakes, limbing a felled tree, and all sorts of practical jobs around the home. Small enough to be practical for all jobs, yet big enough to get the job done.
The perfect splitting tool for smaller jobs, this maul can be used with one hand. Its unique design features a 3 lb. head on a knobbed 18″ select American hickory handle. Great for splitting hardwood kindling!
In 1864, Charles Snow and Edward Nealley opened a supply company in Bangor, Maine. Snow & Nealley prospered as its owners served the hard-working men who were logging Maine’s forests. Before the century was out, Edward Nealley would become the mayor of Bangor. More notably, he would lead the company to develop a line of axes and mauls that defined quality in hand tools. For generations, Snow & Nealley has provided outdoorsmen, forestry professionals, and homesteaders with high-performing axes and tools. The Penobscot Bay axe, a modification of the popular Hudson Bay style, became the company’s signature blade.
Dedicated to your success
No longer do entire forests fall before the feller’s axe. Yet your work still calls for the best. Whether you use an axe in the outback, the back forty, or the back yard, we believe you will benefit from Snow & Nealley’s attention to quality and design. Since being acquired by the present owners, Snow & Nealley has worked hard to listen to its customers, improving handle design and head quality and sourcing all of its materials in the United States.
A company grounded in hard work
Snow & Nealley is owned by a member of one of Maine’s Amish communities. Axes are tempered and assembled in a shop perched on an old farm. The owner and the production staff depend on hand tools for daily work, and strive to build axes that are a delight to use.
The Working Axes is an authorized distributor of Snow & Nealley products. Since the Amish do not use the internet, Snow & Nealley does not have an official website, and no website posing as the official Snow & Nealley website is authorized.
The Working Axes is the result of our family’s interest in providing Maine’s best axes to the world. Lucas is the son of the owner of Snow & Nealley, and is excited about offering these legendary axes online. In addition to operating a small online store, we thrive on gardening, reading, foreign languages, and the outdoors. We are privileged to live and work in beautiful, wet northwest Pennsylvania.
In addition to The Working Axes, we operate a small eBay store. You’re invited! You can have a look at our profile below.
(If your adblocker is enabled, or if you’re on mobile, you might not see the feed. That’s OK. If you really want to, you can visit us on eBay [affiliate link].)
The person who first told me about Snow and Nealley axes was my father. A lifetime outdoorsman, he had run traplines in Indiana and ridden horseback to work in Montana. We moved to Maine in 1996, into a state famous for its moose, Bean boots, and logging heritage. Snow and Nealley, though, held a special [...]
When we started selling Snow and Nealley axes online, we chose a name that connected with the Snow and Nealley heritage. We also tried to make clear that, while we were using Snow and Nealley's tagline as our own store name, we were not officially connected with the company. However, over the years we've noticed [...]
Jason, a skilled craftsman from California, buys Snow and Nealley heads and fits them with custom handles. In this post, he describes a recent trip with several of his custom axes--and shares photos of his beautiful work. Took the set up into the San Bernardino range this week. The highest peak goes to 11,500 feet. [...]
Jason is a craftsman from California who recently bought a Snow and Nealley Hudson Bay head. He fitted it to a handmade olivewood handle. Below, he reviews his experience with the American steel axe head. When we talk about heritage there are many directions from which we come. This land I walk was first documented [...]
When you pick up a Snow and Nealley axe, you'll notice one thing: it's a beautiful tool. The purposeful curves of the handle, the graceful taper of the head, the "Smyrna, Maine" burned into the wood serve to remind us that this axe was assembled by hand in a crafstman's shop, and is built with [...]
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I sharpen the axe?Lucas2021-03-15T06:13:43-04:00
The advice from Snow and Nealley is to try to follow the angle that the axe has now—15-25 degrees. The specific angle you use can depend on your intended use. Make it flatter (a thinner edge) for cutting, less so (a blunter edge) for splitting.
When sharpening, you begin with a hand file, belt sander, or grinding wheel. However, use the last two options with great caution, as they can overheat the steel and ruin the temper. Finish the job with a hand-held sharpening stone either wet or dry.
What steel is used in the heads? What is the hardness?Lucas2019-01-13T22:12:34-05:00
Most Snow and Nealley axe heads are forged from 1080 steel, with the exception being the 3-1/2# Single Bit, which uses 1055. The heads are hardened to 50-54 on Rockwell Scale C; most of them are on the lower end of that.
What is your return policy?Lucas2018-07-12T23:10:16-04:00
We are delighted you’ve given us the chance to serve you, and we understand that sometimes things don’t work out. We gladly accept returns within 30 days of the time we ship your order. Use the contact form below to initiate a return, or simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note these guidelines:
We choose whether to provide a refund or replacement. In general, we will honor your preferences.
For items that were defective, or not as described, we will refund the entire cost of the order.
If the axe is as described, but you simply choose not to keep it (buyer remorse), we are happy to refund the cost of the axe. We will not refund the shipping charge you paid for the original order.
We will provide a prepaid shipping label for the return.
Defective axes are covered by the manufacturer warranty. They should be returned to Snow and Nealley. We are glad to help you get in touch with Snow and Nealley and set up warranty service.
Are the handles straight-grain?Lucas2018-02-05T21:30:39-05:00
We get some questions about the handle grain. There has been some concern about the grain not being vertical. The owner of Snow and Nealley explained the issue to us:
Snow and Nealley do their best to ensure that the handles are
1. Straight grain (without runout)
2. Vertical grain (grain oriented the same as the head)
…in that order. So while not all handles have vertical grain, virtually all handles avoid significant runout, which is a more serious issue.
Since customers have been asking about this, the company has worked harder towards these goals. They are also planning to move handle production in-house to be better able to maintain consistency. We don’t have a date for when they will begin this production.
As it is, however, Snow and Nealley feels confident about the strength and quality of their handles. All handles are of premium southern hickory, and that they carry a one-year warranty against breakage in normal use.
Why don’t you have double-bit axes?Lucas2018-02-05T20:47:26-05:00
Currently, Snow & Nealley’s stock of the 8 lb. splitting maul, pulaski axe, and classic double-bit axe is very low. Since the company is committed to sourcing their heads in the USA, they have been working to find reliable sources for these heads. The company that forges the heads for the smaller models does not have the capability to forge the heavier heads used in manufacturing the larger models. We hope Snow & Nealley is able to source these heads in the USA soon.
I want to contact the company.Lucas2017-06-01T15:27:56-04:00
Yes. All the Snow & Nealley axes we sell are made in Maine of 100% US steel and hickory.
In the early 2000s, Snow & Nealley sourced their heads from China. Many users saw this as a disadvantage, and complained about a decline in quality. The new owners have made a determined effort to return to the company’s American roots. Because the company is small, finding an American supplier for the small batches of heads required by Snow & Nealley was difficult, but the most popular models are now 100% made in the USA.
Be aware that some old stock of the axes may still be available from certain retailers. If you are considering purchasing from another retailer, ask them whether the axe is 100% made in the USA.
Because of the difficulty of sourcing the larger heads for the Pulaski Axe, 8 lb. maul, and double-bit axe, these models are no longer being produced. Any axes available online in those models are likely to be made with Chinese steel. We hope this will change soon.
For all current models available on this site:
Heads are forged in the US of US steel.
Heads are tempered, ground, and sharpened in the Snow and Nealley workshop in Smyrna, Maine.
Handles are turned in Tennessee of southern US hickory.
Sheaths are sewn in Maine of US leather.
Assembly is done the Snow and Nealley workshop in Smyrna.