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Our Shield Explained

You’ll see it engraved on the bottom of a cutting board or printed inside one of our shirts.  Our Cardinal Creek Shield logo is an image we love to throw on everything from hats to coozies.

But one question we are asked all the time is: “Why use a shield for your logo?”  True, we aren’t first responders or deputies of the old west (unfortunately), but we do use this shield to honor a piece of our local Appalachian history.

Woodworkers, craftsmen, or foresters worldwide would be familiar with the Kelly Axe and Tool Company.  Many of our most prized tools adorning our shop walls are from Kelly Axe.  To this day their tools are prized among makers and collectors alike.  It is not uncommon to come across one of their famous Black Raven axe heads, rusted and without a handle, in an antique store for a whopping $600.  Restored pieces can easily fetch upwards of $1,000. 

Kelly Axe made some of the most and the finest tools in the world.  But did you know they were located right here in West Virginia?  As a matter of fact, the original factory was located not too far from our Cardinal Creek shop on the banks of the Kanawha River on Charleston’s West Side.  After being established in 1904 by William C. Kelly (1849-1933), the Kelly Axe and Tool Company soon grew to include over 53 acres and 50 buildings.  Kelly Axe was actually one of the first large industries in the valley and provided employment for several hundred local residents.  The company changed hands several times, eventually becoming the more commonly known True Temper.  The old “Kelly Axe” factory finally closed in 1982.

One of our favorite parts of the Kelly Axe story, aside from the quality of their tools, is the iconic look of their stamps, logos, and artwork.  Obviously, few compared to the classic Black Raven.  However, in Mike’s collection you will find a small hatchet he has restored, embossed with a very simple Kelly Axe Shield. 

As woodworkers and West Virginians, we always felt a special connection to this story.  So, in homage to that simple hatchet and the storied past of the Kelly Axe and Tool in the Kanawha Valley, we have fashioned our logo as one part tribute and one part inside joke.  I suppose you’re all in on it now. 

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