Introduction: My Lil Hawk (Throwing Tomahawk)

Picture of My Lil Hawk (Throwing Tomahawk)

My first Tomahawk 

It is made from an old horseshoe rasp. It is folded and forge welded together ( and tapered to fit the handle and stay on. It is almost all sanded to 220 grit with obviously black pitted forge marks.

I carved the handle from a large piece of two tone hickory.

Can someone explain this to me? Why is the hickory two colors? i have numerous pieces like this. Is it the Phloem and the Xylem of the tree i need bio help!

But anyways yeah it looks cool regardless

Handle is wiped with linseed oil(Magic Stuff here) a must for all wood projects. It also does a decent job at blade rust prevention.

As for throwing it is light for a full grown man but still throws incredible. Probable less then a pound.

Questions anyone? let em fly!


vince_panuccio2002 (author)2016-10-16

can u use any other material than the horse rasp

ironsmiter (author)2013-01-03

if there is only one drastic color change, you have a piece that includes both heart and sap wood. The reddish part is heartwood. the whiter parts are sapwood.

2 warnings when using that wood.
First, it will dull the gosh darn living heck out of your saw blades. so make sure to keep an eye out, and sharpen or replace them when needed.
Second, if you DO have a piece of transitional wood(red PLUS white), SERIOUSLY consider cutting the white portion off. When used in a striking tool(hammer, axe, etc) you will LIKELY split at the transition. Maybe that wasn't clear enough? I'm not saying that IF it splits, it will likely be at the transition(although that is a truth). I am saying you WILL split, and it probably won't be pretty. Why go and use strong, springy hickory for your handles only to have them cleave themselves in twain under normal use?

IF you cut your own wood... AND you know the age/growth rate for the trees...
Choose fast-growth white hickory(sapwood). Alternatively, choose the heartwood if it is an OLD, slow growth tree. And here's why. The sapwood in large, slow growing hickory trees is about the weakest hickory wood you can get. Next in line is the old growth heartwood. This is because the large the tree, the slower it grows, and the slower it grows, the weaker it is. the heart of an old tree formed when it was still small, and quick growing. ;-) In a young, fast growing hickory, choose the sap wood first, then the heart if you need a larger piece. In the younger trees, the advantage to the sap wood is that it is lighter, more flexible, and has a greater resiliency. Any way you look at it though, a nice piece of clear hickory is going to be gobs better than an oak handle :-)

Well i understood majority of what you said, however if it grows slower its weaker....doesnt slow growth result in more strength. I always thought that tighter growth rings meant more strengh? and as a final question are you saying i should go with the heartwood then?and if so why do all commercial hickory handles that i see are made from the white stuff? is it just because it is fast growth?

I have no idea about hickory, and what I do know is vaguely remembered from a bow-making tutorial using ash. The recomended wood was not grown too fast, because that is weaker, but not too slow either, because that was (I think) more brittle. Oh and I also remember that hickory handles are best when the rings are the same way as the on a hammer or axe handle, the best would have lines pointing towards the head/blade.

Thank you for the input! Do you make your own bows?

I know it was aimed at flamesami, but yes, I have made my own bows. and from hickory no less ;-)
flamesami got it spot on, with regard to the trade offs.
but EVERY hickory bow, if made properly, will be a GOOD bow. Not the best ever, but good.
The only exception I know of is, I had a piece of PECAN wood(sometimes sold as hickory) and it was utter garbage as a bow. The wood simply took forever to cure to a usable moisture content, and afterwards, the bow ended up with a too-light draw weight. Ended up donating that one to the high school girl's archery bin, for their gym classes.

haha thts quite the tale!

nope, I don't have access to decent wood, otherwise I might try it. I remember seeing that 6 rings per inch was about perfect in ash, that hazel was hard to get right (has to be perfect..) I think I got this info from (a forum) where there are a few bowyers?) (bow makers).
Oh yeah, did my handle-aglinement bit make sense to you?

Just curious. and about the alignment,you just mean that you want the grain running with the handle right? if thts what u mean than yes i did that. when i start all my handle i split it off of hickory boards so i always run with the grain

well, that is right, but possibly not what I meant... if you look down at just the head of your tommahawk, it kind looks like this --o yeah?
well if you look at it with the handle in you can see the end-grain. Assuming it isn't from the absolute centre, there should be slightly curvy lines. those line should, as near as possible, line up with the direction of the bit.
this picture shows pretty much what I mean 
maybe not the clearest image though...
if you have an idea about how to hang an axe (put a handle on it) the maybe this link

oh i got it now. Thts y i was confused with y u said it cuz to me the other part was common sense. but i see what you mean now.and did u know u put the same link twice?

thanks ill look at it sometime. meanwhile im back to world domination

Just curious. and about the alignment,you just mean that you want the grain running with the handle right? if thts what u mean than yes i did that. when i start all my handle i split it off of hickory boards so i always run with the grain

Just curious. and about the alignment,you just mean that you want the grain running with the handle right? if thts what u mean than yes i did that. when i start all my handle i split it off of hickory boards so i always run with the grain

Speed of growth to strength of wood ratios are determined by species.
Oak and pine are great examples. Oak is a MUCH stronger wood if it's fast growth. In fact slow growth oak is downright WEAK. On the other end of the spectrum, old slow growth southern yellow pine is a nice rock hard wood. The "sustainably harvested" stuff you find in stores is grown so quickly, that's it's soft enough to dent with a finger nail. Good for profits, and ecology, OK for wall studs. utter junk for flooring.

To answer your 3-part "final question"...
If you don't know the tree your wood came from, the heartwood is a "best bet" compromise. YES, the commercial hickory handles are of the lighter sapwood because their wood supply comes from fast-growth managed forests.

If the industry NEEDED another reason to use the sapwood for handles... They can sell the heartwood as "red hickory" for flooring, where it's denser structure lends to better wear resistance. The side bonus is the color, since 'yellow hickory' is pretty close looking to much cheaper woods in color. Also, IMHO, the heartwood makes a better 'smoke' for smoking, and grilling.

About This Instructable




Bio: I enjoy the outdoors. Camping, fishing, canoeing, all of it. I love working with my hands. I take on any project. I love to work ... More »
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