How to Make a Tomahawk Without a Forge




Posted in OutsideKnives

Introduction: How to Make a Tomahawk Without a Forge

   Tomahawks are simple but effective hand-to-hand combat weapons, still used by the elite U.S. Army Rangers, but for the average person they can also be used fruitfully for yard projects like trimming limbs or chopping kindling wood. Here is a guide to building your own throwing tomahawk, roughly based on the U.S. Army Rangers model.

Step 1: Find Some Scrap Steel

  Find some scrap steel between 3/16 and 1/4 inch (4.7mm to 6.35mm) thick, and at least 4 inches by 5 inches (10cm by 12.5cm) in size. You may find some in a junkyard or salvage yard, but it is also sold at industrial supply stores. Make sure it is not too heavy, but not too light that you cannot build up speed while swinging

Step 2:

    Mark out a 3 1/2 inch (8.89cm) height by 5 inch (12.5cm) width, with a radius as shown in the image. The radius is hand drawn, as well as the blade curve, but an exact shape shouldn't be critical for the tomahawk to work.

Step 3:

    Cut out the rough shape of the blade with a steel cutting blade on a circular saw to save time and effort when doing the finished cut later. You can make all cuts using a metal cutting bandsaw if you have one available, or even use a cutting torch.

Step 4:

   Use a bandsaw or a jigsaw with an appropriate metal cutting blade to cut the curved edges of the tomahawk blade. Clamping the blade to a scrap piece of plywood that can be sawed through as you cut will make the task safer.

Step 5:

Use a grinder to smooth edges of the blade, and to sharpen the cutting edge of the tomahawk.

Step 6:

   Clamp the blade to a welding table and position a 3/4 inch (1.9cm) pipe coupling along the straight, 2 inch (5cm) edge of the blade so that it is centered and aligned with the blade. Be careful here – if the blade ends up skewed, the tomahawk will not perform well.

Step 7:

   Weld the blade to the coupling (which will be the thimble for attaching the handle), then clean the weld and look at the position of the blade in relation to it to make sure it is straight.

Step 8:

  Cut a 17 inch (43.18cm) length of ash or other 1 inch (2.5cm) diameter hardwood dowel for the tomahawk handle. Shave the end about 2 1/2 inches (6.35cm) so it fits very tightly into the thimble on the tomahawk head.

Step 9:

   Clamp the head into a vice and screw the tomahawk handle into the threaded pipe coupling until about 1/4 inch (6.35mm) is sticking past it.

Step 10:

Clean up the metal's edges and sharpen the blade of your new tomahawk, and you are finished.



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    Here in Egypt, when we make a hammer, we soak the head (with the wood poking through it) in water so the wood enlarges inside and holds more firmly, I think you should do that to the tomahawk to be more secure.

    Uh oh! I think I know what I'll be making this weekend. I've often thought about doing this with just regular pipe, but thanks for the tip regarding the threaded pipe. It never occurred to me. ...and mikeasaurus' tip regarding the shim/wedge makes it that much more secure.

    I can see how the threaded pipe sufficiently holds the handle, but have you considered hammering a steel shim on the topside afterward to expand the handle head? (like the do with some wood splitting axes)