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 Tomahawk vs. Hatchet

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Vegemite

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Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Sunday, February 28, 2010 7:23 PM ( #1 )
Is a hatchet/small axe better than a hawk for camp tasks?  Does it chop/split wood, better than a hawk?

I think think the tomahawk more specialized for fighting, so it gives up some woodworking capability.  Do you agree?

Thanks for replying.
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RD

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Sunday, February 28, 2010 10:14 PM ( #2 )
I go back and forth on this, I have both and usually take both on camping trips. The longer handle on the hawk (a Riflemans) and weight seem to make it a little easier to split / chop wood with. The hatchet is easier to use since it has a larger edge, and is a smoother taper to the back. I guess if it comes right down to it six of one half dozen of the other, or whatever is in my hand at the time. A couple of advantages of the hawks over a traditional hatchet the handle is easier to replace in the field if need be, the head will come off making a nice handy knife.
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Vegemite

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Sunday, February 28, 2010 11:29 PM ( #3 )
Thanks RD.  I forgot to mention the hawk is a better throwing weapon.  As I mentioned, I'm more interested in the wood processing capability in this discussion.
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dlyn454

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Monday, March 01, 2010 7:24 AM ( #4 )
I'm with RD.  I have my Norse and an Estwing Hatchet.  I like the hatchet for compactness and comfortable grip.  Can't really say which chops better.

The Estwing is what I was issued when cruising timber for Weyerhouser.  The head on it is one piece with the steel handle,  covered in leather washers for comfort.  We used to travel through the forest throwing them at a tree further down our lane of travel, pick 'em up and throw em again.  Countless throws. Though I can't really say it is designed well for that, we were young and full of vinegar.  I mention it just to say how tough they are.  The leather washer covered handles got pretty beat up, but nothing ever broke.  So when I wanted a hatchet thats what I got.  Don't use it a lot anymore, but it and my hawk serve me well when I do.  I suppose I use the hatchet more for fine work.
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Mike Sastre

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Monday, March 01, 2010 4:00 PM ( #5 )
Got an Estwing hatchet that lives in my truck. Just about indestructible!! Used Estwing hammers when I worked construction and home improvement. Never had to replace one.
ManOfMisery

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Monday, March 01, 2010 5:57 PM ( #6 )
I have an Estwing Hatchet as well that my dad gave me a few years ago. I've used it camping many times and it has processed wood without a problem. I have yet to buy a CS tomahawk but I think I'm going to grab a Trench Hawk when they come out.

MattBlack

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Tuesday, March 02, 2010 1:08 AM ( #7 )
Always loved Estwing hammers, they really are the best.
I may get the hatchet at some point seeing as you guys speak so highly of it.
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dlyn454

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Tuesday, March 02, 2010 4:48 AM ( #8 )
They are prone to rust, so I 'textured' mine  (worked it over with a stone in a dremel) and cold blued it.  That seems to have solved it.  The texturing seems to help hold the cold blue.
"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."  Thomas Jefferson to George Washington. 1796 Psalms 144:1 Blessed be Jehovah my rock, Who teacheth my hands to war, And my fingers to fight:
grindermcgee

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Tuesday, March 02, 2010 6:37 AM ( #9 )
If the Pipe hawk is anything like the Trail hawk, then it will be a way better hammer than most smaller hatchets.
Bushmann

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Tuesday, March 02, 2010 4:15 PM ( #10 )
I'd simply say this. Hawk - better chopper (longer handle, faster outside moving parts, more energy transfer) and then a Hatchet - better splitter, because it has a more wedged shape head.

I like the hawks more, because they are just more genuine, and cooler!

Hope that helps.
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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Wednesday, March 03, 2010 3:34 PM ( #11 )
If I took a tomahawk camping, every Boy Scout there would be wanting to "borrow" it. WHich may be a good thing if I let them cut my wood for me....
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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Wednesday, March 03, 2010 4:25 PM ( #12 )
I've never owned or used an Estwing Hatchet, but since it is all steel construction, wouldn't that send all the vibration straight into your arm?  After a while, I'd think it would make your arm sore and/or tired if you used it on a regular basis. 

I used my Norse Hawk to chop up some old 8 foot planks I've been meaning to get rid of for the past 4 or 5 years and it wasn't real easy, but it did the job.  It still had a real good edge after a solid hour of chopping.
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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Wednesday, March 03, 2010 7:46 PM ( #13 )
I used an Estwing hammer just about every day for years and shock was never a problem. Used to both hammer and pull demolition. An aside: straight claw Estwing makes a heck of a weapon. Worked a bunch in "the projects".
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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Wednesday, March 03, 2010 9:05 PM ( #14 )
Thanks, Mike.  I was out back this evening chopping up more of those 8 foot redwood planks with my Norse Hawk and decided to try out the SF shovel I got a couple months ago.  I was shocked when that shovel chopped faster than the Norse! I used a Lansky Puck on the edge for a few minutes and that shovel was cutting through that redwood faster than the Norse ever did. An absolutely amazing weapon!
dlyn454

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Thursday, March 04, 2010 5:47 AM ( #15 )
I never really noticed a problem.  I suppose the leather washers are good at absorbing shock.  Thanks for the comments on the shovel.  I really aught to get one of those.  I had been wondering how they really compare on chopping.  I suppose it is due to the thinner profile ?
"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."  Thomas Jefferson to George Washington. 1796 Psalms 144:1 Blessed be Jehovah my rock, Who teacheth my hands to war, And my fingers to fight:
jankerson

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Thursday, March 04, 2010 5:56 AM ( #16 )
I would have to say a Hatchet if I was car camping, but then I would have a full sized axe and a saw if I was car camping.
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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Thursday, March 04, 2010 8:39 AM ( #17 )
dlyn454


I never really noticed a problem.  I suppose the leather washers are good at absorbing shock.  Thanks for the comments on the shovel.  I really aught to get one of those.  I had been wondering how they really compare on chopping.  I suppose it is due to the thinner profile ?


I believe the thinner profile does help quite a bit.  With just a couple of whacks, the cut is about halfway thrugh the board.  After that it's just a matter of a dozen more hits and your done.  Not too bad for a shovel, huh?  I've seen the videos and always thought the SF shovel looked pretty good, but now I know it is.
fox

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Thursday, March 04, 2010 6:42 PM ( #18 )
I would have to say that the extra comfort of the ax in chopping over the straight tomahawk handle is a big issue in favor of the small ax for me.  I have the rifflemans hawk.  The weight & length make it a good chopper and but the width is a draw back on wood.  I also find that it does not hold an edge as well as I would like.
     I still carry it for versatility.  I small game hunt with it when I'm camping.  The other big plus is the cool factor and the fun of throwing.

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Wednesday, March 10, 2010 3:02 PM ( #19 )
if you ever need a really good axe estwing makes a very good one it has a shock absorbing handle comes with a great edge cut through an oak i was taking down in my back yard (2 feet across) like butter has a very good leather guard all aroung great axe much better than wood cause the head has no chance of flying off and better than fiberglass cause it does not bend as much
graham_s

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Thursday, March 11, 2010 5:05 AM ( #20 )
It depends on what you are doing.
A 'hawk and a hatchet have different blade profiles which reflect their different roles.
The hawk generally has a thinner profile that allows it to penetrate easily, where an hatchet is more wedge like for splitting.
If you're limbing or throwing, a hawk will be better. if you want to split wood, then a hatchet will be better.
As to the handle, a hatchet design allows for more comfortable working over a longer time period. The straight hawk design puts additional strain on the wrist which leads to an earlier onset of fatigue.
You pays your money, you takes your choice.
Personally, I'd rather have a hatchet. I don't need a weapon in the woods, and for cutting wood, you're better off with a saw. the main work I put an axe to is splitting, and that's something the hawk isn't really suited for.
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dlyn454

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Thursday, March 11, 2010 9:15 AM ( #21 )
Excellent analysis.
I would only say that as far as a weapon in the woods, a hatchet IS good.  That Estwing hatchet was a comforting thing when we were cruising timber in the Arkansas swamps and we were not SUPPOSED to have guns.  Snakes, hogs, gators, and we were deep in the home turf of the "Boggy Creek Monster"  (which we called the "Boggy Bugger")   We usually snuck along a .22,  but that hatchet was a welcome backup.
"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."  Thomas Jefferson to George Washington. 1796 Psalms 144:1 Blessed be Jehovah my rock, Who teacheth my hands to war, And my fingers to fight:
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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Sunday, March 14, 2010 8:36 PM ( #22 )
I was getting all ready to make my post when I read Graham_s post. I have to agree completly. I carry a folding saw in the side pocket of my carrhart pants, and it will cut through a log faster than anyone can chop. It weighs ounces, and until I need it, I forget its even there. When on trek, I like a mini hatchet.Its great for pounding stakes in, splitting wood, and several other camp chores. My hawk, I keep for throwing.......
 
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Vegemite

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Sunday, March 14, 2010 10:08 PM ( #23 )
Thanks for your replies, everyone.  You really helped me decide.  I went with the hatchet for wood splitting purposes.  If I decide on a hawk someday, you can bet it will be a Cold Steel.
Simple things are best. 
       
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Bushmann

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Monday, March 15, 2010 12:52 PM ( #24 )
Make it a Frontier Hawk veg! It's certainly the MOST underated hawk they make.

Norse hawk + better looking - bit of blade = Frontier Hawk.

I loved it. Chopped an 8 inch (diameter) tree with it down.

fox

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Thursday, March 18, 2010 11:53 AM ( #25 )
O.K. so I'm going to break my cardinal rule and talk about another companies blade for a moment.  I picked up an Ontario Knife Company SPAX at the gun show this weekend.  I have an old russian version of this tool that has been an emergency kit blade for years.  This version is basically an axe with a heavy curved blade to it.  It has a spike / "screw driver"/ ice axe pick on the back end.  It also has a cut out for opening fire hydrants and is very comfortable both in a chopping grip and chocked up.
     I generally don't like axes without a hammer end but this one won me over.  That all having been said it will not replace my tomahawk when I go camping.  I think it is far more comfortable for chopping but difficult to throw.  That having been said the extra abilities the hammer on my Riffleman's hawk and the throwing option make it the superior tool in a wilderness setting.  The Ontario will get more use around the yard and is probably a better skinning tool & urban survival tool.  It is not superior in the woods.

dlyn454

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Thursday, March 18, 2010 12:29 PM ( #26 )
You bring up an interesting point fox.   There is a running assumption that we are going to be way back in pristine wilderness with our hawks.  But there is not a lot of that near most people.  And even in real wilderness situations one can come upon abandoned cars and empty cabins and old farm places.  You remember those kids that crashed in the Andes and ate their dead, found a resort on top of the Mtn closed for the winter.   Also in a disaster scenario there is a need to be able to open valves and unscrew things.  Maybe those kind of chores are more realistic than some of the Dan'l  Boone chores a traditional hawk is designed for.
"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."  Thomas Jefferson to George Washington. 1796 Psalms 144:1 Blessed be Jehovah my rock, Who teacheth my hands to war, And my fingers to fight:
fox

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Thursday, March 18, 2010 1:22 PM ( #27 )
Again not trying to advertise for non-CS blades here but some of the options this spax gives me are excellent and I do live in a developed area (sadly).  I think the practicality of this for my situation right now is very high.  Remember it's good to prepare for what you like and want but also prepare for the most realistic scenario.
dlyn454

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Re:Tomahawk vs. Hatchet - Thursday, March 18, 2010 2:39 PM ( #28 )
Speaking of Boon---Fess Parker is dead.
"One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them."  Thomas Jefferson to George Washington. 1796 Psalms 144:1 Blessed be Jehovah my rock, Who teacheth my hands to war, And my fingers to fight:

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