In 2007, Spencer Tetrault started working in leather, but what started as a hobby quickly demanded more time. Eventually, Spencer left his job as a firefighter, and in 2016, his wife Courtney left her job as a paramedic so they could meet the demand for their leatherwork. First started on the kitchen island in their home, Axe and Awl Leatherworks now occupies an historic 1908 building in downtown Waynesville.
Today, Axe & Awl carries on a tradition of leather working in Waynesville that stretches back into the 1800s. Waynesville was once home to one of the largest leather tanneries in the United States. Axe & Awl pays homage to this tradition with images and styles evocative of this past, but also by continuing to produce fine leather goods by hand. The Tetraults have restored their building, which has served as a café and bottling facility, with much of its original character remaining. The homage to history carries all the way down to new hand-lettered signage reflective of historic techniques.
Visitors to Axe & Awl can browse handmade leather items and get a history lesson on the craft-based past of Waynesville and greater Haywood County. Items for sale include belts, wallets, apparel, bags, key chains, and much more. Axe & Awl collaborates with local potters to produce limited series of Axe & Awl branded mugs. Spencer has used his experience as a firefighter to design custom radio straps and other leather equipment for firefighters and emergency workers.
Hours: Thursday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm