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3/28/2014 5:55 PM
 

Been thinking of getting a tomahawk for my EDC trail gear, since I walk a couple hours a day out in the woods on trails and closed forest service roads. Multi function always a must. Not sure where to start.

 
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3/28/2014 6:59 PM
 

 I haven't received mine yet, but I recently ordered a 19" hammer polled hawk from H&B Forge.

http://www.hbforge.com/

The prices are pretty decent, and their hawks got good marks during testing in the latest issue of The Backwoodsman magazine.

You might give them a look.  I'm excited to give mine some work once it gets in.


Hill People Gear Coureurs des Bois (Brand Ambassador). Victoria faveat paratam. De Oppresso Liber.
 
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3/29/2014 7:52 AM
 

The Cold Steel Trailhawk is a great place to start.

Just be ready to do some work on it. I had to reprofile the edge, strip off the cheap paint, sand/refinish the handle, and make a leather mask for it, but it is only $30 to start with. Makes a fun rainy day project.

You mentioned wanting to "EDC" it on the trails, if so I would also recomend cutting the handle down shorter, as it comes it is longer than my Gransfors Bruks SFA. If you cut the handle down to 14" or so it would make it easier to carry, you would sacrifice some chopping power though.

 
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3/29/2014 12:14 PM
 

I don't really have a use for an axe/tomahawk with shorter than a 19" or so handle.  In my experience shorter handled handaxes are close seconds to a saw for most dangerous backcountry hand tool. They also loose a lot of their effectiveness with a shorter handle.  On a pack it makes no difference for carry.  I also prefer an axe style head to a tomahawk, but I have done a lot of work with a Trailhawk.  I prefer to carry something like a Wetterling Les Stroud Bushman or the Smaller Hunters axe, but it costs me a 1/2 lb over a tomahawk. At some point I am going to source a true .75-1lb head and rehaft it and see what I think.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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3/29/2014 12:50 PM
 

 As was mentioned there is a pretty good article about 'hawks in the latest issue of Backwoodsman magazine. Its worth picking up if you find one on a shelf somewhere. 

 

Scott any chance of a review of any sort of the Wetterlings Survivorman axe? I always liked the looks of them (and the Fine Forresters) but reviews are hard to find. Also, not sure if you've seen this but this axe head (handle length seems a little short for what you like) seems pretty close to what you're after:http://www.americangrouch.com/2012/12/sometimes-you-get-surprised.html

 
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3/30/2014 12:19 PM
 

There are two guys on here with one, both a gen 1 and a gen 2 Bushman. I don't have one.  My current wetterling is one I re-hafted. I bought what I think was their Wilderness hatchet a number of years back, but didn't like it for actual use due to the short handle. Unfortunately, at that point they didn't make one with a longer handle. I found a bigger handle that would fit and spent several hours cutting it down and reshaping it.  I know have that head on a 19" handle as a result, and it is a flat our work horse. I have room to get away from the head during work. The handle is long enough I can two hand it, and also overall it is light enough I can still use it comfortably one handed.  The long handle also lets me build up bat speed.  I did have to re-profile the edge a bit to what I prefer, but way less work than my GB Axe.  I like wetterlings, and if they made the Les Stroud then or the Hunters Axe with 18 3/4" handle I would have just bought that one. Although it appears they discontinued the hunters axe I am talking about.  I think a tomahawk with a short handles is next to worthless, but a longer handle, and again around 19" is my preference, gives you a real using tool that is viable due to lighter weight. All of the historical ones I have seen had longer handles.  I am sure there were some out there with shorter handles, and I know you can do a fair amount of work with a short handle, but I want a the tool to work for me, not make me work.   We got a smoking deal on some Trailhawks and spare handles at one point, so I have messed with that hawk head on a bunch of different lengths. In my opinion there is just no comparison between the work a 19" handle one will do vs anything shorter, and longer seems to be getting into the point of diminishing returns.  When I was working in the Forest Service the standard axe for experienced guys was something like the Foresters Axe, and some carried older ones a bit smaller that were no longer available that they jealously guarded.  Nobody I rolled with that had experience ever really used anything heavier or smaller, we used saws for bigger stuff, and the small axes did everything else. Then again we knew we would be using them.  The exception was the Pulaski which was a trail crew standard.  However, the axe was kind of secondary and not used a ton other than chopping roots as you came to them. Think a sharpened vertical adze.  I did do a fair amount of Pulaski chopping on clearing work, but that was just because a guy can only carry so many tools and the Pulaksi had a bunch of uses that an axe just didn't. I felt like drawing the line at 3 tools carried made sense.  I pretty much always carried a Japanese belt saw my last three years, and depending on trail a Pulaski and either rock bar, chainsaw, or two man cross cut. Sometimes but rarely I might also have in addition, and very rarely instead of the above rock pick, loppers, mcloud,  or foresters axe.  I ended up being the guy with the heavy or technical tools. At this point if I know I am going to be processing wood for a lot of folks I will take my GB everything else the Wetterling gets the nod.

Thanks for the heads up. I am going to have to go back and read the actual review, but just looking at the specs and picture I think I need to talk to that gal about a custom axe.  Basically, I would request a .75-1lb head on a 19" handle with a preference for .75.  It think that would make a killer lightweight pack tool that would do way more work than the tomahawk at a similar weight. 


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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3/30/2014 2:13 PM
 
Scot, Good luck talking to her. Evidently she is off the radar scope for now...evidently not taking new work. But...perhaps with a little nudge from HPG, she might???? Worth a shot. I'd love one like that one reviewed...or one near to your specs.
 
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3/31/2014 11:26 AM
 

Bummer, I will see if I can't make contact and get something going. Because that is something I really want to mess with. Getting a smaller Wetterling or similar head to rehaft was already on my to do list. 


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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3/31/2014 1:39 PM
 
Let me know what you find out... If she can't, it almost makes me want to fire up a forge.
 
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4/1/2014 10:11 PM
 

Just verified she isn't taking any new orders. I can understand her reasons and suppor it.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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4/1/2014 10:18 PM
 
Damn shame that. Now what?
 
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4/1/2014 10:19 PM
 

I am looking around to see if I can source a .75-1lb head any where.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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4/1/2014 10:38 PM
 
Stay in touch regarding your search...
 
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4/2/2014 9:16 AM
 

North River Custom knives makes some sweet looking axes, and knives. Nothing exact, but close.  The smallest GB head is .7, but at 140 and needing a new handle is kind of a bit much. I will have to look at Evan's to see how easy rehafting would be.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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4/2/2014 10:46 AM
 

 I've been very pleased with the "Virginia Axe" from Clay Smith.  It has a useful poll, the cutting edge is extremely sharp and easy to touch up when it gets dull.  The profile makes for easy and good use when dressing game or other camp chores (it even chops veggies well), yet it is thick enough toward the eye that it splits reasonably well - especially when batoned.  The head weighs about 1#, and the length is about 19" (I can measure later today).

It's not appreciably more than the Cold Steel stuff, but the quality is substantially higher.

http://www.claysmithguns.com/Trade_Blanket.htm

 
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4/2/2014 4:47 PM
 

Looks like the handle typically is shorter. Did you custom order your or just luck out with a 19" handle?


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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4/3/2014 6:51 AM
 

 The length is the 16.5".  I measured it last night and mis-remembered the length in the original post.

 
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4/6/2014 10:57 AM
 

What about Wolf Creek Forge?  I don't think they have a website but I linked to their vendor page on BushcraftUSA forums.  Anybody know anything about them?

I've never really needed much as far as hawks or axes in the woods and have gotten by with just a cheap Estwing hatchet and GB Scandinavian Forest Axe.  But I picked up a couple Trail Hawks recently to see if I would even liked a hawk.  After stripping them and messing around with the handles a bit I found I actually really do and use them more than I thought I would.  So i've been looking for a "proper" hawk and was recommended Wolf Creek.  The Trail Hawk is just about perfect for what I need so I asked on their forum about something similar in size, here is their reply:

"Hi, thanks for asking. truth be told we have never really tied ourselves down to models and measurements too much..Lots of people like to make particular models a certain size etc..that's fine but well make anything we make to just about any size that's feasible. If you like a hawk we make Im pretty sure we can make it to those sizes..Ive personally made hawks from 1 1/2" cutting edge to over 6" cutting edge.. "   

They make axes too, so maybe they can get something going for you.  I have not ordered from them yet so I cannot really comment much more.  There is quite a bit of other forges on BuchcraftUSA as well.  I don't spend much time over there but it might be a place to start.

 

 
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