The Beaver Tooth Handle Co. has our own unique grading system for Hickory, Ash, and Oak tool handles. We base our grades on the absence of defects in the wood and in some cases the color of the wood when dealing with hickory. Hickory Sap wood is generally white and hart wood is reddish brown. Grades are not based on the grain orientation in any species of wood with a couple of exceptions. If a handle is listed as "select" then it will have grain running parallel to the cutting edge, not to differ more than 45 degrees by visual inspection. (long axe handles only). These are only available on a limited bases and are the most expensive handles offered. The best handles demand the highest prices, while lower grades sell for a discount. We generally try to send the best grain we can but it is limited and we can not guarantee grades other than our "select".Our grades are as follows
AAW, AW, White Hickory Sapwood handle of second growth. Can allow for tips to have some red wood. Free of defects. Can allow small amount of streaking. Wax or plain finish will be listed. (Our "Select" grade are taken from these handles).
BR, This can be a handle with small defects including bird peaks, solid closed knots, some streaking etc. The wood and can be white, mixed red and white, or all red. Finish can be waxed, lacquered or plain depending on stock.
Flame or Fire Finish hickory is darker in color (flame hardened) and has a lacquer finish.
#2 Grade handles can be any color of wood and will have some sort of blemish. It can be a bow, twist, chip, crack, knot, bug hole etc. These are considered to a good usable handle, but of course have some sort of blem. and are sold at a discount. No choice of finish. No sorting for grain direction whatsoever.
#3 Grade handles are the lowest grade we have and all have some sort of defect that could render the handle not serviceable for intended use or limited use. No choice of finish.
Ash handles are generally a white to creamy white wood waxed or plain finish.
Oak, can be red or white.
Any type of wood can have some grayish mineral staining or spotting from time to time. This fairly uncommon most of the time.
Finish abbreviations. Waxed = WX. Finish Sanded = PL. Lacquered = Lq. Fire Finish = FF