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Yellowood Design preserves history one chop at a time

Mitch Hooper



Inside Cori and Benjamin Rowley’s workshop and retail garage, folk music and the smell of sawdust fills the air. Rusty axe heads throughout testify to hard work and a craft of yesteryear. Here, old tools find new life. 

Yellowood Design began when Benjamin found his great-grandfather’s nearly unusable axe after his passing. The head was dull. The handle was worn from abrasive usage, and all that remained was the craftsmanship that had withstood a test of time. To Benjamin, the axe represented both his great-grandfather, and a time when hard manual labor could provide wood for warmth and cooking. That sense of emotional connection is the template for Yellowood now as well.

Photos by Brian Kaiser

When someone is looking to have an axe restored by Yellowood, there’s an online prompt asking for themes, colors, and other creative ideas that truly channel the person or idea the customer wants to showcase. There are a few designs that come from a “greatest hits” book, but largely each axe design is unique.

“There are some really nice axes that we’ve made that were just axes that we found and made for somebody,” Benjamin explained. “But when you’re making history come back to life, and it just means that much more to a person, it’s special. It’s hard to put into words.”

Sometimes the more oddly-specific requests offer the studio a chance to go down a rabbit hole and really explore through other people’s history. One client, a hog farmer from England, was a huge fan of John Wayne and spaghetti westerns so the Rowleys created a Pinterest mood board and spent hours exploring design ideas.

The usage of the axe is in the eye of the beholder, but the beautification is a team process. While Cori and Benjamin work together to brainstorm paint designs, icons and emblems, and leather sheath layouts, Benjamin handles much of the restoration and creation process of the axes. Cori handles receiving the design inspiration information from the client, relays the information to Benjamin, and those stories and facts stay in the front of his mind while he works.

This collaborative effort not only helps lighten the load, it pushes each other to be better makers. While Benjamin initially taught Cori techniques for leather stitching, she’s quickly caught up and the student is becoming the teacher.


Benjamin, a store designer for L Brands, and Cori, a product designer for Design Central, are both brutally humble about their work. To this day, the two are cautious and thankful for their success. When Cori is emailing clients about progress, she almost always thanks them for “trusting them with the axe restoration project.” She said she understands that many of these restorations are in homage of important figures so the pressure to produce is high. Benjamin said he still can recall his most nerve-racking restoration to date: a black raven axe.

“A black raven, a crappy one, is $400. This one was perfect. He just wanted me to sharpen it. The whole time I was nervous as can be. ‘Don’t screw this up.’ A. I can’t afford to replace it, and B. I don’t know if we could’ve even found anything like it.”

While axes and hatchets seem to be the trademark of Yellowood Design, the adventure to restore and sharpen doesn’t stop at creations of destruction. The Rowleys have recently found a new market of vintage and historic items, and it comes in the form of heirloom pocket knives. It began just as a means of loving to sharpen blades and quickly became another hobby the two have become enamoured by. It also helps that heirloom pocket knives are much smaller and cheaper, making them a perfect little score at pop-ups and farmers markets.

It seems like the only thing they really won’t sharpen is non-American made products. It’s nothing personal—it’s just the American steel quality in the early 1900s is unparalleled to today’s standards. Since adding pocket knife sharpening to their list of talents, they’ve seen anything from classic Boy Scouts Of America knives to Army-issued pocket knives during war times. In other words, if it’s a blade with a story, the Rowleys are probably interested.

All axe-throwing bar references aside, the Rowleys believe their craft really speaks to this generation, a generation that’s lived through recession.

“You know what it’s like to lose something. You know what it’s like to work really hard and to be scrappy,” said Cori. I think these people really cherish knowing there’s a part of their family that had to work really, really hard.”

For more information on how to order your own custom axe, or have your personal axe sharpened and/or restored, check out

millennial | writer | human

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9 festivals for you to fall in love with this weekend

Mitch Hooper



Summer may be rounding out, but there are still so many ways to fest outside. From vintage good fairs to rock climbing at the Scioto Audubon, here are the festivals taking place this weekend in the city.

Sept. 12-15 | Scioto Fest | Scioto Audubon Metro Park

This four-day festival is for those with an affinity for the outdoors. Here, adrenaline junkies will find rock climbing and bouldering while land lovers can enjoy camping, music, and all the food offerings.

Sept. 12-14 | Creative Control Fest 8 | Lincoln Theatre

In its eighth year, the Creative Control Fest is back to raise up and celebrate creatives of color from around the midwest. Hang out and learn useful information at one of the many workshops, or get your mind right at one of the wellness activities designed for creatives from a variety of different industries.

Sept. 13-14 | 934 Fest 2019 | 934 Gallery

In a celebration of the art scene here in Columbus, 934 Gallery is opening its doors for two-days this weekend featuring art from Lucie Shearer and Andy Meyer. Additionally, the festival will play host to two music stages, a comedy stage, local artist vendors, food trucks, craft beer, and plenty of activities for your young Picasso.

Sept. 13-15 | Country Living Fair | Ohio Historical Village

Calling all flea market fans and garage sale experts, this is your chance to splurge! This three-day fair offers more than 200 vendors from across different states selling vintage and handcrafted goods as well as antiques. Stop by one of the how-to sessions, or simply fill up your Pinterest mood board with loads of ideas.

Sept. 13-14 | Columbus Caribbean Festival | The Scioto Mile

In its third year, the Columbus Caribbean Festival has returned to The Scioto Mile for two days of live music, delicious island-inspired food and drinks including Taste Of Kingston and The Gumbo Dude Food Truck, and a parade. The music lineup includes Pete Funk, BAND AMANIAUZURI, and The Flex Crew.

Sept. 13-15 | 2019 Grandview Oktoberfest | Hofbrauhaus Columbus (Grandview)

Another weekend in September, another chance to celebrate the German Oktoberfest! This time around it's at Hofbrauhaus where live entertainment will clash with German food and bier as well as activities for little ones. Friday will feature WCOL-FM from 6pm- 8pm, while Saturday will host a face painter and balloon artists from 2pm- 6pm. And if you couldn't make it to the face painter on Saturday, they will return on Sunday from 1pm- 4pm in addition to a magician.

Sept. 14 | Crafted Food, Beer & Music Festival | Columbus Commons

From farm-to-table-to-festival, the Crafted Food, Beer & Music Festival brings nine different Columbus restaurants together to showcase their offerings. For $15, you can enjoy live music from George Barrie Band and The Floorwalkers, stuff your face, and know that you're doing some civic good as a portion of proceeds will benefit Freedom a la Cart, an organization providing paid workforce training and supportive services to survivors of human trafficking.

Sept. 14 | Oktoberfest Party | Wolf's Ridge Brewing

Wolf's Ridge is getting in on the Oktoberfest action and on Saturday you can find brats, spaetzle, and of course, WRB's very own Oktoberfest bier. If you really want to feel the Oktoberfest vibes, purchase a $14 stein and hoist it high!

Sept. 14 | Old Hilliardfest | Main St. in Old Hilliard

This street fair takes place in Old Hilliard where visitors can explore car shows and sunflower shows as well as all the fixings of most festivals: live music, food, and activities for kids at the kid's fair. Support local, and have fun while doing so!

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Let’s play FREE ball! Clippers weekend win means more dime-a-dogs

Mike Thomas



Over the weekend, our Columbus Clippers topped the Gwinnett Stripers to clinch the series, earning them a spot in the Governors' Cup Finals!

Games 1 and 2 of the Governors' Cup Finals best-of-5 series against the Durham Bulls will be played at Huntington Park on September 10 and September 11. Both games will start at 6:35pm, gates open at 5:30pm.

As if that weren't enough to entice you, all games in the first round will be dime-a-dog! 

Tickets for Games 1 and 2 are FREE! They will be available beginning Monday at 10am via Ticketmaster (no fees!), by calling 614-462-2757, or by stopping by either our Administrative Offices from 10am-4pm or the CF Box Office on the corner of Neil and Nationwide from 10am-2pm.

Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a limit of four per order. For more information including the complete playoff schedule, click here.
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Amazon Treasure Truck returns to Columbus this weekend with exclusive deals

Mike Thomas



Whether you missed out on the Prime Day deals, or simply want to keep the savings rolling, Amazon is offering a unique new way to score deals in Columbus. This weekend, the juggernaut of online retail is once again bringing its Treasure Truck to the 614.

The concept is simple: Customers can sign-up for text message alerts revealing the day’s treasure, which could range from trending tech and the latest gear to seasonally relevant products. Sign up for text message notifications by texting “truck” to 24193.

After customers place their order on Amazon, they then select a convenient pickup location and time slot to get their item. In addition to the iconic trucks, customers can pick up their treasure at newly-launched vans, as well as kiosks located in select Amazon Books, Amazon Go, Whole Foods Market stores, and more.

To learn more and to sign up for alerts, click here, or sign up for text message notifications by texting “truck” to 24193. Don't sleep on these deals—the Treasure Truck will be rolling on to the next locale before you know it!

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