Where to Find the Perfect Custom Tomahawk
The tomahawk hasn’t changed all that much from its roots as a Native American tool and weapon. Today, it’s just as invaluable as a tactical tool for self-defense or as a versatile alternative to the traditional knife for survival and backcountry camping. Custom tomahawks are used by US military troops fighting around the world as well as by anglers and hunters setting up base camps in the wilds of the mountain West.
While there are a number of mass-produced tomahawks on the market today, none of these generic options comes close to the beauty, utility, or durability of a custom tomahawk. Thankfully, the art of tomahawk construction has recently undergone something of a renaissance. There are now numerous talented metalsmiths and woodworkers turning out one-of-a-kind, handmade tomahawks that can stand up to the toughest applications.
Types of Tomahawks
Generally speaking, there are three different types of tomahawks: tactical tomahawks, breaching tomahawks, and throwing tomahawks.
Tactical tomahawks are what most people use and what many customer builder focus on crafting. That’s because they’re incredibly versatile – tactical ‘hawks are just as dangerous in hand-to-hand combat as they are useful for building an emergency shelter or breaking through walls and structures. On top of that, tactical tomahawks come in a huge variety of designs to emphasize certain uses and features over others.
Breaching tomahawks aren’t all that common outside of the military. They’re a lot like tactical tomahawks, but heavier to withstand the force of prying open metal and breaking through reinforced structures.
Throwing tomahawks are primarily designed for target practice and self-defense. They are balanced to spin in mid-air, but the blade and handle are typically not burly enough to stand up to the tasks that you’d put a tactical tomahawk up to.
What to Consider in a Custom Tomahawk Design
When you’re working with a craftsman to design a custom tomahawk, just about every feature is up for discussion or modification. So, it’s important to have an idea of what the most important parts of a tomahawk are and how the design can affect function.
Almost every tomahawk has a sharpened blade on one end – but what about the other end of the head? Here, there are a few different options. A narrow pick can allow you to get your tomahawk into tight spaces or bring acute force down on surface, like a window or door. Alternatively, the head can feature a wide, blunt hammer that’s perfect for banging through reinforced structures. Some ‘hawk users even prefer having a second blade, which can be used for aggressive chopping or to provide a smaller edge surface than the primary blade.
The main blade can be small or large, with consequences for weight and usability. Most tomahawk owners usually want the axe blade to be as broad as possible – after all, that means more chopping area, more impact, and broader cuts.
However, keep in mind that the blade is the heaviest part of the tomahawk. So, a bigger blade can throw off the tool’s balance. You’ll need to decide where the balance lies for you to get the most out of your ‘hawk.
Many custom tomahawk makers produce not only a unique blade, but also a beautifully designed and durable handle. Wood is the most common material used, both because it is light and because it can be decorated however you prefer. Simple handles are stained, while some tomahawk craftsmen are capable of creating carved handles that improve grip and look spectacular.
The 4 Best Custom Tomahawk Makers to Check Out
1) Iron Tree Forge (http://ironjohnlogan.com/tomahawks)
Iron Tree Forge works with you to design a custom tomahawk from the ground up. The forge focuses on building traditional tomahawks using steel recycled from .50 caliber rifle barrels. There are options for inlaying metals into the handle for a distinctively decorated tomahawk, as well as a number of techniques available for complex engravings in the blade itself.
In addition, Iron Tree Forge makes “art” tomahawks that are primarily for decoration. These are ideal for military gifts and are extremely unique.
2) Larry Gotkin Tomahawks (https://larrygotkin.com/tomahawks)
Larry Gotkin keep a diverse array of custom tomahawks in stock that can be bought immediately. Each tomahawk is a one-of-a-kind designed created from Gotkin’s forge, and the designs push the boundaries of what could be considered a “traditional” ‘hawk. Gotkin also accepts commissions, so you can work with him to develop a custom tomahawk and use the tomahawks he already has for sale as a source of inspiration.
3) Beaver Bill Forging Works (http://www.beaverbill.com/main/)
Beaver Bill Forging Works has a wide variety of tomahawk styles based on the tools used during different historical. Styles range from 18th century French tomahawks to Apache tomahawks to more modern spike ‘hawks. Each tomahawk is custom made to order based on an existing design, so you have the opportunity to dramatically modify a tomahawk to better meet your needs and style.
4) Tommy Hawks (https://www.tommyhawks.net/axes)
Tommy Hawks produces unique, streamlined, and modern tomahawks. Many of the blades are small and lightweight enough for use in hand-to-hand combat, and the wooden handles are wrapped in paracord to enhance grip. Both the blades and handles can be engraved, and every tomahawk is custom-made to order by the forge’s owner.
Find your Perfect Custom Tomahawk!
Tomahawks are a versatile tool to have whether you’re deploying overseas or headed deep into the backcountry. While you could get a cookie-cutter tool for cheap, it’s well worth investing in a high-quality custom tomahawk that will last for decades of rugged use. There is no shortage of highly skilled craftsmen producing unique takes on historical and modern tomahawks. Better yet, many tomahawk forges will work with you to create your ideal ‘hawk from the ground up.