I started out with a few metal ones from Crafty Celts. I have 2 bronze ones (1 short and thick, 1 long and skinny) and a silver one. They hold well....but they're kinda heavy. (Well, relatively speaking. 1 oz isn't a whole lotta weight!) They're also not that decorative - but they are functional. I think I paid about $20/each for them - not too bad for a neat hair toy!
I then decided I needed to switch to pretty wooden ones - I love, love, LOVE exotic hardwoods, and there are some really *gorgeous* ones out there. Interestingly enough, there are a few vendors out there that are *cheaper* than Crafty Celts (but shhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Don't spread the word! My credit card will implode! :lol:) Being cheap, I hit eBay....
My personal favorite is 60th Street Productions. Beautiful work, gorgeous woods, very very very inexpensive. The ONLY drawback (well, not for me! :grin:) is that his forks are a bit dainty and delicate-looking. If you have thick hair that eats toys for snacks, you might not want to try his wares. *I* have fine, thin hair, so they work perfectly for *me*, but...they might not be what you thick-haired folks need. His customer service is *superb*, his forks are wonderful, and I can't say enough good things about him. I currently have 3 of his forks, and am drooling over a few more - but I wanted to share the love, so to speak. His forks are a bit....plain (dare I say that??), which I prefer, but the plain design lets the wood do the talking. He has a wide variety of wood choices (which is why I haven't bought another one - I can't make up my mind! :grin:), and they have a great, smooth, matte finish. (Even the diamondwood - most vendors make the diamondwood shiny, but 60th Street's are matte. Different) He's got some listed right now for $15 BIN. (Ooops - I shouldn't have said that, should I? :lol:)
Like his stuff, but have thick hair? Try Jimfo43 I have *1* of his diamondwood forks. It's lovely, it's stout, and....I never wear it. No real reason - except that it's a bit big for my hair. It's pretty, but it doesn't hold my fine, silky hair well - it keeps sliding out. I'm hoping, as my hair gets longer, it'll start working.....we'll see. His prices are comparable to 60th Street's, and his forks are also plain-jane. He puts on a shiny finish - my fork is pretty, pretty, pretty - but it doesn't work with my hair (hmmm..wonder if I should try it with dirty hair instead of clean? Worth a shot......) They are supposedly waterproof...I might try it in the pool. Must think on this....
Ready for more pricey hair toys? Try Baerries. GORGEOUS forks - you can buy them direct, or on Etsy, or Amazon, or eBay (don't ask me how I know this, OK? :grin:) I have an Egyptian in cocobolo from them (and a Finny in Padouk is on it's way! :grin:) - it's pretty, it holds like iron....but they are about 2x the price of 60th Street and Jimfo43. They are stouter than 60th Street, and.....more elegant than Jimfo43, though. They have a few more styles, too - so you can have a variety of ways to dress up your up-dos. Lots of wood choices, too - and the finish is nice. Not as shiny as some, but not matte, either.
Artistree does *beautiful* work - and does customs! I have a 5-prong French Twist comb from him in Bloodwood - it's stunning! It's a bit heavy for my hair.....I have to reset it a few times each day, but it's *so* pretty and smooth, I don't mind. I'm contemplating another one from him...a 2-prong, this time, but I'm not sure. He's very easy to work with, and his craftsmanship is top-notch. Prices are comparable to Baerries...maybe a titch less, but not by much. He has a few more styles - and a pretty good selection of woods to choose from.
Then there's Monk the Monk eBay only, as far as I know - but WOW his stuff is *awesome*! I have an ebony and green burlewood inlay comb - it's stunning. Holds my hair like iron - it goes in, and stays in; never has to be reset. Pretty, pretty fork - AND he's willing to do custom work. He's very popular with the LHC crowd, so prices tend to go up and up and up, but - he's well worth the price. I've never seen him repeat a fork exactly (well - 1 custom fork he's done for 2 or 3 people - but WITH the original owner's permission. I'm impressed with that!)
Graydog is also popular......I've got 1. I'm....not that impressed, to tell you the truth. The fork is nice (diamondwood), it's well made...but it's nothing spectacular (IMHO). I paid *way* too much for it (almost $50), but that's the way eBay works. Some people LOVE Graydog - I'll let them have them. :grin: Understand - there is NOTHING wrong with their work (in fact, I'm wearing mine today!), it's just....I'd rather spend the money on something more suited to my taste. I think they tend towards diamondwood - the choices are all pretty, and colorful. Well made...but I actually prefer "real" wood. :grin:
Ron Quattro has a wide selection of styles. I can't comment - yet - as my first fork is in route. BIN prices are in-line with the other "pricey" vendors; he has a few unique styles. He seems to be well thought of in the LHC circles. ETA : My Quattro fork arrived, and is GORGEOUS. A bit too big and heavy for my hair, but I'm keeping it anyway. If I get it set just right, it holds like iron - and it's Pretty.
Ketylo has recently started selling hair forks. I don't have anything to say (since I'm still waiting on a reply to my inquiry) except that Ketylo has a good rep on LHC, and the forks look really nice. Price is comparable, wood choice seems pretty good.....I'll nab one *if* I ever hear back (they have these "contracted" out, it seems. I emailed the artist Tuesday...and haven't heard back yet. Ah, well - the credit card appreciates it!) ETA: I now have 2 Ketylos - 1 5.5" (the one from eBay) and 1 6" (from the LHC Swap board) - both are LOVELY, both hold like iron, and the 5.5" one is PERFECT for my hair. It'll hold both buns AND twists, which is rare, and - so far - doesn't have to be reset at all. Beautiful work, good prices - definately a keeper.
Most of these vendors do hairsticks and barrettes too - but my hair HATES sticks, and I hate barrettes. :grin: I'm sure the quality is the same as the forks, though - and they seem to be pretty popular.
And now my fork links are all in one place! :lol:
ETA I am now a Ficcare addict - the small Maximas holds my hair neatly and perfectly, with no pulling and virtually no weight. LOVE them - well worth the money! :grin: