Hello, all.

I am a knife nerd, not a Hawk nerd! I need help seclecting a good Tamahawk for Bushcraft and splitting of wood, basically an End-all Tomahawk that will take and hold an edge, and will have good impact resistance. And a geometry that will serve the part well enough to get the job done. I've been looking for cheap Hawks, 20-30 dollars. I've considered numerous Hawks but haven't really come to a conclusion...

Anyone know of any good ones?

I was looking at a couple cold steel hawks that looked good, and I've seen Gerber Hawks suffer damage from normal use, so not considering those... Any help from you guys would be greatly appreciated!



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Replies to This Discussion

My opinion is go with Gransfors Bruks Hunter or small forest axe. You get what you pay for. Not many of the cheaper ones can compare with these 2 in my way of thinking. Take care-Gooseflute7
Can't remember what month, but it's the latest one I receive by mail. Blade magazine has a review of 3 (if I remember correctly) tomahawks. You might find the article interesting.
Check out A.G. Russell online. Search on tomahawks; he sells a SOG for about $43. Also look at the lineup of axes.
I don't have one but from what I have read the wetterling 's are just as good as the Gransfors.
I love the hawks from Keith at Great River Forge. I had him to take a med. American hawk and add a hammer pole to it. Cost a few years ago was about 65 and well worth it. You get to keep the look of the hawk, and use it for a lot more stuff. And if the handle ever gets broke, their cheap, or just whittle one. I keep mine with my survival gear, along with a cold steel hawk. Both are fairly light weight, and can be carried easily.
Also, since it's a traditional type hawk, just stuff it in your belt, and pretend your a mountain man.
I use and carry a tomahawk quite frequently on my outings.I can recommend a Condor Knife and tool Throwing Axe w/out handle OR a SOG Fusion Tactical Tomahawk.Do not be fooled by the "Throwing" title on the Condor.It throws like a champ,but with some cordage lashed to the handle,it is a great tomahawk for survival and multi use. Now the SOG Fusion Tomahawk is just bad ass. I know we sell the SOGs for 50 bucks and it is a little more than your price point,but this hawk is amazing.I have used it for camp chores in the wilderness,and as a pick with the back spike part.If you are serious about a great tomahawk that will last, these are my picks.I have pics of my axes/hawks you may appreciate.
I've been using the Cold Steel Trench Hawk for awhile now on my sojourns, and it's filled the bill as camp axe very well for me. The spike can be used for splitting, picking up and moving wood. The hawk is generous enough at 3 1/2", and at 24 oz it's fairly lightweight. The handle is 17", made of polypropylene and the sheath can be modified for belt carry, without having to pull the handle up through the sheath.

Wow!Glad2 c u got and have tested the new CS Hawk!I was going to buy this,but after I created my FrankenAxe v.2 Prototype,I really dont need another hawk just yet.Notice I say just yet...I was a tester of the original 3prototypes Lynn Thompson created in 2007.These had a 16" overall length and were made w/green G-10 handles.I offered him $100 cash for one but was peresonally declined.I TOLD lYNN that he needs to make those 4 production as they will sell good.Took a while but here it is,new and improved!!If you have the urge to throw it....it flys and sticks with a vengence!!
I love tomahawks, I collect tomahawks as I'm into blackpowder re-enactments and they are a hoot to throw but they make terrible camping/survival/trapping tools…For sure they’re used for those purposes but there are better suited tools for the job—most hatchets will outperform a tomahawk.

Forget about the romance of the mountain man going out with his trusty Hawken rifle and tommyhack and doing all his chores with that--sorry, but they carried axes, usually full size, with them and relegated the hawk to personal defence...You can get what were called squaw or camp hawks with a flattened pawl for pounding in stakes as the throwing or traditional hawks don't work that well since they're round and the spike, while excellent for piercing a skull doesn't work worth fecal matter at anything else.

Hawks lack cutting surface, wedge, weight (mass) and handle length (leverage) to work properly...Of all the Cold Steel models, the "Trail Boss" is the one I'd take and there are numerous "Cruiser" style models from other makers that will also suffice--Gränsfors Bruks, Wetterlings, Snow & Neally, Hultafors, Mueller all have at least one pattern.

"Cruiser" style is a handle about 24"/61cm long, with about a two (900 gr) pound steel head shaped like a big tomahawk with about a 6" cutting surface and with a flat pawl for pounding…About 5" longer and 1 lb heavier then a hawk but it gives you sufficient mass, extended leverage, and a cutting edge to make short work on cutting down trees...Granted not as well as a full size felling axe (34" and 3½# head)would do.

Estwing makes an excellent leather washer handled, all steel hatchet that is excellent for camping chores but I find their cruiser style axe just a little too, too light for really efficient splitting and chopping...Gerber/Fiskars makes synthetic fibre handled ones and the larger ones work fairly well--heavy head and long handle makes for a faster swing equalling good cutting/splitting properties; the smaller hatchets don't work well as a chopper but superbly as a wedge when hammered into a stick of wood.

To chop wood you require mass and leverage and a thinner profile so you can render/split apart the wood--you actually don't need your axe to be razor sharp as too sharp of a blade will get stuck...Axes don't work by cutting but by crushing; their way through the fibrous material that makes a tree.

To split wood you need mass, leverage and a large wedge to do it efficiently and that's the whole basis of a larger then a tomahawk/hatchet tool...When you work, you burn off calories; work hard and more calories get burnt off! Now you have to replace those burnt off calories to be able to sleep properly, help to keep you warm and most importantly, to give you energy to continue...When you are in a survival situation, you have to preserve your energy since you'll have a very limited supply of proteins available to you--you don't have any food.

The double bitted axe of Lumberjack fame was usually quite sharp on one side and nearly dull on the other...One was to chopping down the tree and sizing it to length and the other was for limbing it...Mostly they used saws to fell and size the tree...You can get smaller sized double bit axes but they're mostly for throwing competitions

The more efficient you work, the less calories you burn off which means less protein needed to be found/hunted/fished to re-stoke the internal furnace!

If you can find some small deadfall trees—like second growth poplar/aspen/birch or even long tree limbs you can then build the more efficient use of energy fire…Take the limbs/trees and circle them around your fire pit with the pointy ends facing the fire…Start your fire using tinder and kindling and when it’s drawing well push in the limbs surrounding the fire and keep doing it until they’re used up and then just replace with other limbs/trees…No chopping of tree to size, no splitting, limbing (if necessary) can be done by breaking them off with your hands, if they’re really long you can break them by sticking the butt end between two closely spaced trees and using the thin end as a lever, walk the thin end of the tree and it will break off—something like a turkey wishbone idea…Nice part about it is that absolutely no man made tools used—excluding your method of fire starting method(flint & steel, fire stick, Fire Ribbon etc.)

[url=http://www.gransfors.com/htm_eng/index.html] Gränsfors Bruks[/url]

Shlomo- I have to agree with you on the practicality of an axe or hatchet over the romantic image of the tomahawk. I recently bought a Gransfors Bruks Small Forest axe but have not yet had an opportunity to use it yet while camping. Actually it's just too dang hot down here in north FLA  for camping if you ask me? I studied up a bit on axes before settling on my G.B. although you have mentioned a number of other good ones plus a couple I'm not familiar with.  

Realistically, I think it's pretty impossible to find just one that's perfect for all needs. In my opinion, you need a long handled axe with a good  2 1/2 -3 1/2 lb. head for felling a tree  (but I'd really prefer to use my chain saw for that) & cutting it into manageable sized rounds. Of course if you are in a survival situation you won't be cutting down trees and probably won't be carrying a chain saw or hatchet either.

 The G.B. Small Forest axe will be great for limbing a tree and also for chopping up kindling.  After that, a heavy maul is the ticket, as you stated, plus a steel wedge or two to split the rounds into halfs & quarters. A neighbor recently gave me his old maul which was in deplorable shape but I replaced the handle & sharpened it up, first with a file, then an oil stone using about a 30-35 degree angle.

Funny how one thing leads to another, but doing this stuff  helps keep me in (somewhat) reasonable shape. I also learned a lot from watching You Tube videos on the subject & also reading "The Axe Book" which you can get for free simply by contacting a Gransfors Bruks rep. & requesting a copy. Their website also has a lot of educational info because it shows their variety of axes & hatchets plus various head styles, their use & history.

I already have a smaller hatchet but it's a "cheapy" and although it has been a useful camp tool, it dulls down fast and I wanted to own a quality small axe, hence my recent purchase.


I will have to disagree to a point. A tomahawk is not made for cutting down trees. Tho I have made short work of 4 inch diameter ones.  For camp firewood, small saplings for shelter, cutting up deer and other such chores, a tomahawk cant be beat. Plus the light weight makes for an easy carry.
Sorry Ron James but I can get a serviceable AXE with the almost the same weight as a hawk, Estwing's Camper's Axe...There are also the Gerber/Fiskar, Buck, etc. synthetic handled ones.

A modern version of the hawk for use by military and fire crews is a different matter and those aren't for defense but ripping apart doors or steel drums etc. by the likes of

American Kami

RMJ Tactical

D&L Sports


K5 Tactical especially their great Tactical Hawk- Hammer Poll (An Estwing on steroids)

Mineral Mountain

and as you can very well see they are longer in the handle, heavier in the head and have some method available for pounding in nails/stakes


White River Knives

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