Last weekend I had some free time to spend working at the forge. It has been a while since I did any blacksmith work and this tomahawk was a fun project to kick things off with. Here is a sneak peak!
I forged this small tomahawk from mild steel flat bar with a high carbon bit for good edge retention.
First I took the piece of mild steel bar and tapered the ends and bent it in half to form the initial shape of the eye.
Then I started forge welding the two bend halves together starting from the eye working towards the bit. I forge welded it up unto about 7/8″ from the end. This left space for the high carbon bit to fit in that was previously forged into a wedge shape.
Here the hawk is taking shape after I forge welded the high carbon bit in. I use the straight peen of my hammer to fuller and spread the metal out to widen the blade.
The tomahawk head is heated to non magnetic and quenched to harden the bit. It is then immediately tempered to soften the edge and reduce brittleness while remaining hard enough to hold an edge. This image is not of the hardening process, but I threw it in because it looks cool. 🙂
At this point the final finishing is done and the hawk is cleaned up and fitted with a nice new hickory handle. To get the scale off I used a wire wheel on the bench grinder, and then forced a little patina with yellow mustard spread over the hawk head.
The handle is burned, which is something new I have been playing with. The process for burning the handle is simple. First the handle is wiped down with boiled linseed oil and then a propane torch is used to scorch the handle. After doing this the handle is sanded and oiled again, and then several days later coated with paste wax. This gives the handle a very nice feel to it and is suppose to help preserve the wood. Plus if you don’t overdo the burning it looks nice as well.
Here are some more finished shots of the new hawk. This tomahawk is the smallest one I own. At first it seemed too small, but I think it is going to make a nice little pack hawk that will travel well in the woods. The handle is just 15″ long.
I will probably be making a few more of these in the next few months. If there is any interest in a more detailed “How To” let me know and I will try to remember to take more pictures of the whole process.
Also if you are interested in purchasing one of these hawks hand forged by yours truly, send me a message via the “Contact” page and I will get one made up for you.
Thanks for looking,