I like handle patina, too: has a certain authenticity you can't rush.

Cherry is one of my favorite woods for woodworking (for furniture), but I'm surprized to hear you like it for an axe handle. Cherry is certainly a smooth wood, good on the hands...

I've held some beautiful canoe paddles made of cherry. They look great, but it's not the most decay-resistant stuff, so I would not expect them to last, nor would i expect them to fare well in a stretch of rapids jamming off rocks.

Wild cherry in your area is probably a bit different that the Appalachian stuff I've worked with (and love). I like to finish cherry w/ tung or linseed oil thinned w/ a bit of mineral spirits so it can penetrate deeply.

I've seen some wild cherry in Maine where I live. It doesn't get very big and has a "crooked" nature. Is that why you like it for broad axe handles?

Don Perkins
Member, TFG

to know the trees...