Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tomahawk destructive/abusive testing

The question came up on a forum whether I had ever managed to bend, break, or seriously damage one of my 'hawks.  Here was my response:

I have a customer who has beat the absolute crap out of his 18" War Chief.  Here's what he said:

"What a performer!! This thing took everything we dished at it for over an hour and came out intact and meaner than hell.  It chewed through various parts of a Chevy Silverado 1500 door.  A heavy, thick ceramic kitchen sink.  A padlock.  Concrete blocks and bricks.  Wood.  Pig/cow bones purchased for dog chews.  I can't even remember what else.  The only thing that slowed it down, and chipped it, was taking on 1/4 thick steel hinges on that door.  Had we kept at it, the hawk would have won.  I am blown away and so happy with the construction of this hawk, James.  It is built do everything I wanted it to do, and testing it out first hand was such a pleasure.

I got her sharpened back up, and I love the look of a new grind to the blade and tons of war scars."

And the pictures he took:

I asked him about what seemed to damage the spike and he said:

"I believe there was a section of the truck door that had thicker steel tubing running below the exterior sheet of steel that chipped off the tip of the beard and flattened the spike out a bit. The ceramic sink may have aided in that too- I can't remember- all I remember is that it was early on and then very little else affected the hawk after that :).

I took it to a shop here in town and had it professionally sharpened. "

More recently, " I'm still using it to clear out some of this shower floor, which is a weird concrete-mixture- It's this light brown/pink layer of "stuff" that held 100s of small stones in place- it's hard, but when struck crumbles and chips and everything. The hawk has been taking 1000s of direct blows into that as well as a lot of hits into these rocks."  He finally did enough damage to the spike that he took it back to the same shop and had them reshape the spike.

He's still quite happy with it and looking at buying another 'hawk from me.

This is the most abuse I know of one of my 'hawks taking, and I'm morbidly pleased with the outcome.  Though built for wood chopping, it withstood far more rigorous cutting without any kind of catastrophic failure and was able to be brought back to a working edge without major reshaping.  The spike, a sharply pointed weapon, took damage from the abuse without snapping off and remained functional through it.

That's not a bad new shape to it, either, and would still knock a pretty good hole in a bad guy's skull.  :D

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tactical tomahawk destructive testing video

I finally got video edited together and uploaded showing my tactical 'hawks' various configurations and then doing some testing with them. 

It's fairly thorough and therefore long.  If you'd like to skip ahead to different sections, here's how it's divided up:

Design and Options - 1:22
Sheaths - 13:52
Cutting Wood - 22:57
Destructive Testing - 28:37

More video later.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

15" tomahawks debut

I got back from the Usual Suspect Network Gathering show in Las Vegas a couple of days ago, where I debuted the new 15" 'hawks.  I was working right down to the last minute to get everything done that I could before the show, so I left Texas without being able to take any pictures first.

My lovely wife helped drive, watch the table, and generally make the show more fun.  God bless her patience!

I think this was the first time that tomahawks outnumbered forged blades on my table.

The 15" 'hawks lined up on the left corner.  From the left: Wrecker, War Chief, and Woodsman.

The three sizes of Wrecker lined up together: 18", 15", and 12".

The Woodsman sold at the show, so this is the only picture I have of it finished up.

I got pictures today of the two 15"ers that made it back.  The War Chief went without a sheath, which I will see about getting built in the next few days.  The Kydex is already molded, I just ran out of time to get it trimmed and assembled.

And the Wrecker, which did get a sheath in time.

As the 15" versions are the second generation of the tomahawks, there are a few changes other than just the length.  The most obvious is that there are now five rivet holes instead of three.  The rivets are also smaller diameter tubing, though with the same wall thickness.  So they are just as strong as the larger rivets, but have less handle material removed to accommodate them.  It's also still big enough to run paracord through for lanyard options.

The handle material is a new one for me as well.  It's a composite called Tero Tuf that is similar in concept and texture to canvas Micarta, but is actually tougher and as a bonus is less toxic to work with in the shop.  I like my lungs, so that's much appreciated!

These changes will be implemented into the 18" and 12" versions as well as the blanks that are already cut get used up and the new second generation blanks are cut out.

Friday, August 15, 2014

15" tomahawks cut out

I picked up the first batch of 15" tomahawk blanks from the waterjetters today!

15 blanks, 5 each of the three designs.

In comparison with their bigger and smaller brethren:

War Chief:



I'm busily working on getting inventory ready for the Usual Suspects Network Gathering show in Las Vegas at the end of the month.  My goal is to have a small handful of the new size on hand at the show.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Grinding jig

I modified my test jig with polypropylene bearing surface sourced from a Wal*Mart cutting board, held on with the motley assortment of bolts I had around the shop.  Slides much better without being too slick.

Shop Cat is so helpful...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shop upgrade and test grinding

Been working on a new stand for my KMG to accommodate an extra-long work rest for jig grinding waterjet cut bush sword blanks.

This Little Rok is the first of my waterjet cut blanks to get ground on it.  Still a bit of tweaking on my process with the new setup, but I think I'm most of the way there.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Big ol' bunch of tactical tomahawks

I've kind of gotten behind in posting pics of the 'hawks that have gone out my door.  They've been keeping me busy!

War Chiefs:



The photos on the pink rock were taken along the banks of the Rio Grande just south of Taos, New Mexico, during my honeymoon.  They didn't all get shipped during the honeymoon (who knew that not all post offices carried the long flat rate boxes?) but some did and the rest went out after we got back home.

I had a 12" Woodsman and 18" War Chief sell at the Blade Show without getting some pics first.  And a couple of 18" trainers too.  :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Home again

I'm back home after an AWESOME honeymoon that spanned much of the Southwest.  My wife and I are working on consolidating households, which means turning my barbaric burrow of bachelorhood into a semi-barbaric abode of quasi-civilized co-habitation.  Curtains in the windows and everything!

In the meantime, I'm also working on catching up on e-mails.  Please continue to be patient with me as I try to get back with you.  If you haven't heard back yet, feel free to give me another ping.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Workin' for the weekend

I'm getting married on Saturday.  Between now and then, I need to finish up all this:

All the 'hawks and five of the knives need Kydex sheaths.

If everything keeps going as smoothly as it has been, I can pull it off, though I will probably be taking them with me to mail to customers from the honeymoon trip.  My loverly bride-to-be, bless her heart, is ok with this.  :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Gettin' hitched!

I'm getting married on March 29th (WOOHOO!!!).  I've been putting in some long days trying to get as much work finished up and off to customers before then as I can, and have gotten behind some in my e-mail correspondence.  So if you haven't heard back from me as quickly as I should answer, please be patient and give me another ping.  I'll try to get back with you ASAP.

On a related note, I will be taking my laptop with me on my honeymoon so that I can answer e-mails, but don't be surprised if there's a delay then too.  I intend to be very occupied.  :D

Friday, February 21, 2014

Wrecking some padlocks

There was a request in a forum to get pictures of breaking padlocks.  It was a test I'd been planning on for a while, shooting some video of it, but hadn't gotten to that point yet.  I decided to go ahead and test it out with shooting photos and get the video at a future date.

I tried padlock breaking for the first time with one of my Wreckers that I was hanging onto for myself to shoot some demonstration videos later.  I wasn't as quick or graceful about it as Ryan Johnson, but I was successful.  My spike doesn't fit as well in the shackle of the padlock as the RMJ does.  Don't know if that will lead to changing the design down the road or not as busting padlocks is not the only design consideration with them.

Prior to starting on the lock, a standard Master Lock:

After the shackle broke:

Hard to tell from that pic.  Let's take a closer look:

You can see that I struck at the body of the lock with the point of the spike.  I honestly don't know if it was prying or striking that broke the shackle.  It wasn't a dramatic event and I didn't see it was broken at first.

I decided to try it with a lock with a shorter shackle.  It was even more difficult to fit the spike in with the heavy chain links.  I ended up striking with the spike until the lock popped open.  You could not re-lock it afterwards due to the damage.


Here's a close look at the longer-shackled lock:

And the various places on the shorter one that got hit:


It was hard to get my camera to focus on the end of the spike's point, but you can see that while the steel wasn't untouched, it almost was exactly like it started out.


I still plan on shooting video of lock breaking sometime down the road.