1. Welcome to the New & Improved BladeForums. New software info here. Please report problems in Tech Support, and read existing threads before posting! - Spark
  2. I've changed the default forum style to Flat Awesome based on feedback. Don't like it? Click here to change how the forums look Feedback on this is welcome here.

help making a tomahawk from a ballpean hammer

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by cjd1980, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. cjd1980

    cjd1980

    226
    Sep 3, 2008
    hi guys
    I would like to make a tomahawk from a old ballpean hammer head that I have. I was wondering if You guys had any advice on going about it or if there were any WIPs or tutorials that you could point me to thanks for the help
    Chris
     
  2. mgysgthath

    mgysgthath

    Dec 15, 2009
    I have an old hammer head (claw) I was thinking of turning into a hawk as well, though I have no expectations of it hardening under my simple processes, I'm more doing it for practice and fun, and if it hardens great. I'm interested to see how you do with yours, if you go ahead with it.
     
  3. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    I make hawks from HF ball peen hammers. Get the five piece, 12oz. to 32oz. set when on sale, and make small, medium, and large hawks. The steel is something around .40-.50% carbon and is just right for hawks.
    They don't take long to forge out, and are good projects for the crowd to watch take shape at demos.

    Put the hammer head in the forge for a minute, and the head will come off the handle easily with one whack from the forging hammer. Save the larger wooden handles to make hawk handles for the smaller hawks. The surface char will grind off.

    You will need a pair of large bolt tongs and a pair of rivet tongs.
    Do forging and drawing at high red to orange heat, and re-heat when it drops to low red.

    Using a 16oz. to 20oz. head:
    Start by drawing the ball straight out into a 4" long tapered spike. Hold the peen head in the bolt tongs.
    I like the spike sides flat and the top and bottom rounded, but the shape is up to you. Don't curve or finish the spike yet.
    Use the spike to hold in the rivet tongs, and start flattening the peen. Once it is flattened a bit, start "pushing" the metal toward the outer edges from the eye direction.
    At this point, drift the eye with a hawk drift. Once drifted to size, I have a 2" piece of mild steel that I have shaped the same as the drift end. It is the size that I like my handles. I drive this in the eye, and leave it there. This prevents the eye from getting too distorted while finishing the hawk head.
    Continue to draw out the hawk blade. Once it is out about 1.5-2" inches, start dropping the beard downward. Shape a little more until it is getting to look a bit like a hawk blade.
    Continue drawing the blade until it is shaped and done. Leave the edge 1/8" thick.
    Finish shaping the spike and curve it down as desired.
    Once all is looking right, give the metal plug in the eye a whack and knock it out of the hole. Clean the hawk up on the grinder, and/or with files until shaped and smooth. About 220 grit is fine.
    Heat the hawk in the forge and quench the blade edge in oil up to about 1" from the eye. Let cool in the oil for a minute.
    Heat the spike only, and quench to about 1" from the eye. After about 10 seconds, quench the rest of the head.
    Temper at 450-475°F.
    Make a handle from some nice curly maple ( or buy one pre-shaped from a supplier), and finish it to accentuate the curl.

    The edge can be made sharp and at 25° for a cutting/fighting hawk, or at 30-35° for a throwing hawk.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  4. Calvin Richardson

    Calvin Richardson

    377
    Oct 13, 2011
    Thanks Stacy!! This is something I have been wanting to try as well. Can't wait!
     
  5. cjd1980

    cjd1980

    226
    Sep 3, 2008
    thanks Stacy

    I'll be giving this a try next weekend I've been wanting to do it for a while and am very excited to give it a go
     
  6. knife to a gunfight

    knife to a gunfight KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 17, 2007
    Got any pics Stacy?
     
  7. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
  8. Battle Creek Knives

    Battle Creek Knives

    Feb 23, 2010
    Stacy in that pic on page 16 do you remember what size hammer head that was??

    absolutely beautiful work I love that spike shape..
     
  9. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    16 ounce, IIRC. But it could have been a 20 Oz. I use 16,20 and 24oz. for most hawks.
    The larger heads - 24,28,32 - will make a nice camp hawk for cutting wood, and for splitting kindling.
    The medium heads - 16-20-24 - make nice small hawks, which can be belt carried.
    The smaller heads - 12-14-16 - make nice "Mouse Hawks". They can be made very sharp, and used as a skinning knife, a utility blade, etc. for belt carry; or have a sharp but steeper edge angle and be used by the fireplace to split kindling.

    You can draw out a small hawk from a 12oz. head in a very short time.

    I have been told that the heads from HF are 4140, and that seems right from my experience with them. HT is super basic.
     
  10. bobbywett

    bobbywett KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2006
  11. Spalted

    Spalted My name is Britt Askew I like making knives Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    581
    Dec 9, 2010
    My wife loves to get together with her sisters and mother on sat mornings and go to yard sales. I told her if she saw a hammer for a dollar or less to bring it home. I now have a box of cheap hammers
     
  12. Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith

    Stacy E. Apelt - Bladesmith ilmarinen - MODERATOR Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Aug 20, 2004
    Those HF hammers are the ones I use. They have been in wooden handles so far, but may have old wooden handles for grinding into small tool handles.
     
  13. bobbywett

    bobbywett KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jul 23, 2006
    I've actually got a set of those fiberglass handled ones already. Been searching the net and found a set of drop forged, wooden handles on EBay for $14.00 and a set of Pittburgh Tool co for $24.00...

    Thanks Stacy for the idea.
     

Share This Page