Here's a question for all of you who make your own tomahawk handles.
What is your method? Such as, do you turn them on a lathe or do you use your jack knife to whittle one out?
Also what's your favorite wood for making handles?
There is a fellow in our club who makes handles. He splits straight grain hickory then uses a draw knife to shape it.
In my limited experience I have played with hickory and ash. Hickory appears noticeably stronger. At some point I would like to try a piece of osage as well but I have not yet done so.
Osage will give a distinct yellowy orange color. It's pretty neat.
It's not what you know, it's what you can prove
Fresh cut OO is a beautiful bright orange/yellow color. But, it rapidly darkens to a near walnut brown with exposure to light. Might make a strong handle but is heavy and could throw off balance for a throwing hawk. Personally, I find the ready made handles so inexpensive it is not worth the bother to make yer own. And I'm one that like to make his own 'stuff'.
I use a draw knife and a spoke shave.
" A godly man and his rifle deprive sleep from the wicked, A christian man who prays is the defeater of evil, A praying man who will fight is the conqueror of nations and the hope of the oppressed "
While I too generally build my heads to fit the commercial made handles, which come in various woods (ash, hickory, and maple - all three in are available in curly or plain) due to ease of replacement in the future, there was at least one Osage handle (I don't find it much heavier than good hard maple or ash - but then I generally do not throw hawks so the weight differential is a non sequiter anyway).
This hawk with Osage handle was carried by Alexander MacKenzie in the late 1700's.
aka Chuck Burrows
I understand that the proper way to mount the head to the handle is to have a small slit in the end and use a wedge to make it tight. Just as modern axes are mounted.
What so many do, is to slide the head up the handle, removing wood as necessary until the head reaches the top, and is stopped by the wider diameter at the end. That is not the correct way, and results in a handle that can't be any larger diamrter than the head opening.
Vive le Roy!
I was under the impression that the eye of the tomahawk head was tapered opposite what an axe is for that reason,to make it easy to dismount the head to use it for other tasks.
Beer is proof that God loves us,and wants us to be happy-B. Franklin
Not sure who you got that info but as a guy who has been studing and building them for 45+ years that is bass akwards.
The vast majority of tomahawks, both original and repro have the proper tapered eye. The handle is inserted as described by sliding it up the handle until a good press fit is achieved just like when handling up a pick. Done properly the head is thus self tightening when used normally i.e. throwing a hawk adds different stresses. And PLEASE leave no more than 1/2" or less sticking out above the head - IMO the folks that leave a big chunk of handle above the head (often an inch or more) are doing it wrong. While I have of course not seen every hawk ever made none of the originals I've examined have so much extra handle.
Wedges are only necessary if it is the type of tomahawk wherein the head is fitted from the top ala an axe (these usually have carved handles of some fashion so that the head can't be slid up the handle), and thus requires a wedge.
and not just me - every pro hawk builder building them in the PC/HC fashion handle them up the same way as I do with perhaps minor variations in technique.....
aka Chuck Burrows
I'm looking at the picture of the three hawks you posted and they do not appear to have the heads slid up from the bottom, correct?
I based what I wrote on conversation with a man who has extensively studied archaeologic finds in NY around Ticonderoga and other sites from the F&I period.
Is it very possible that Fur Trade era hawks used in the west were done differently?
Vive le Roy!
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