ATC Vietnam Tomahawks vs the Cold Steel version

Daniel L

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 2, 1998
Messages
1,912
Hi all,

This isn't a troll - just a genuine question since I'll never have the luck to handle one from ATC unless opens a store in New Zealand!

I've got the CS version and wanted to know what the differences are performance wise.

One thing I don't like about the CS version is that there is no grind other than at the edge - ie it's bascially a slab of steel on the main head with a grind at the edge only. Thus, it's hard to sharpen, and chopping performance is pretty low (compared to my WWII kukri)

I always found the handle "slim" too - kinda like holding a thin stick even tho I have smm-medium hands. Overall it was worth the $30 I paid, but I'm interested in the real thing...

Thoughts and comments appreciated!






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Daniel
 
Joined
Nov 2, 1999
Messages
2,805
Good Question!!! Distinguishing to two is not difficult....

From a steel standpoint, Cold Steel used 5150 whereas ATC uses the original steel which Peter LaGana used in the 1960's, 1060 Spring Steel. 1060 is currently used in premium grade axes found at most higher end stores stocking felling axes and hatchets. Its toughness can't be beat and its history, tried and true.

Our information indicates that after the first few hundred Tomahawks were made, Cold Steel began manufactuing the Tomahawk overseas and made that known in their advertising.

ATC's steel is U.S. Steel, drop forged to shape here in the United States.

The hickory handle which ATC fits to each Tomahawk is fashioned from a template which we made from the original handles in 1966...straight tapered and flared at the butt.

The Cold Steel handles were similar, but not identical, and this is evident when feeling the difference between the two.

The handle "eye" is also reveals a SIGNIFICANT difference, as the Cold Steel specimens we examined were straight punched....in other words, no taper.

The new ATC Vietnam Tomahawk "eye" provides what we call a "Step Lock", where the upper dimension of the eye is larger than the lower half, separated by a small ledge or "step", over which the wedged hickory spreads and locks. VERY VERY STRONG

Now, onto some easily visable differences...

Here is a pic of a stripped Cold Steel Vietnam Tomahawk Head and an original Vietnam Tomahawk, made in 1967 that was owned by Paul LaCross...(he tig welded a pipe onto the head for the handle making it permanent).

View


The viewable differences include:

1) The original Hawk sports five hand ground bevels whereas the Cold Steel has one, which is the primary cutting edge.

2) The Spike dimensions are sharply different...the Spike on the original VT has a point lower than center, for enhanced penetration on a chopping stroke and for what Peter referred to as the ability to "cut on the way OUT of a helmet", whereas the Cold Steel spike, while cleanly done, is smaller in dimension and more diamond like in its point.

3) The leading edge of the original VT sweeps gracefully up to a stark point, which Peter credited to its tremendous slashing capability, whereas the Cold Steel leading edge is somewhat abruptly ended and rounded off.

4) The Cold Steel manufacturing process for the head alone was probably marked by drop forging, flash grinding (cleaning the perimeter), heat treating, shot blasting, primary edge sharpening, then painting.

The ATC process includes a few extra steps...beyond grinding each of the five sharp cutting edges by hand, our heads go through a grinding process which applies a clean taper from the eye all the way out to the cutting edge and tip of the spike...in many cases, it removes any marks from the drop forging process. When we run it THIN, you can't even tell the Tomahawk was drop forged!
eek.gif


Our first few Tomahawks sport what we call Peter's "armor penetrating" grind, which allows the Hawk to crush through helmets and the like with no damage...subsequent Tomahawks will be a bit thinner.

5) ATC bakes its heads with a black, rust inhibitor....the original Heads, as well as that of Cold Steel, were painted in Olive Drab.

6) ATC stains its handles, so if chipped, they still remain non reflective, whereas paint chips and reveals a bright hickory interior.

7) ATC Vietnam Tomahawks include the finest sheath which can be found with a Tomahawk...made by Eagle Industries. The OD Green ambi sheath is an envelope style, made from triple layered, 1000 Denier Cordura, reinforced with webbing at the seems. The Caracci designed sheath is hot formed Hawk plastic covered in 1050 Denier Ballistic Nylon, and is worn on the belt with the handle UP!


Hope this helps!!!

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Andy Prisco,
Co-Founder, Manager
American Tomahawk Company
877-557-5200
http://www.americantomahawk.com
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[This message has been edited by Andy Prisco (edited 06-24-2001).]
 
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...just thought I would upload another pic to talk about the extra grinding and shaping we do......

View


...look closely at the surface around the logo....how we thin it out and grind it down to create a nice even taper to the edge....and this is an "armor penetrating" edge no less!!!

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Andy Prisco,
Co-Founder, Manager
American Tomahawk Company
877-557-5200
http://www.americantomahawk.com
----------------------
 
Joined
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Messages
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Andy;
Could we get a view of the VT head from top and bottom? I would like to see the shape of the eye. Thanks.
BTW thank you for the informative and non-ballistic response to the original message in this topic. I was wondering the same thing myself. The fact that you did not go ballistic or defensive about the question shows that you are a class act. Some folks around here are developing some very thin skins.
Just from idle curiosity, I wonder how Lynn Thompson would have answered the same question?

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Although it does not mindfully keep guard in the small mountain fields, the scarecrow does not stand in vain
Bukkoku

[This message has been edited by fudo (edited 06-25-2001).]
 
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Thanks for your comments. I'll try to put up a pic like the one you suggest when I can.

We are not looking to create any problems with any company which has reproduced the Vietnam Tomahawk over the past thirty years, and there have been more than a few.

It's important to note however that not one reproduction manufacturer, while generous to the extent that they chose to make the design and keep it alive, did not seek Peter LaGana's approval (..not that it is necessary, but simply courteous) or at any time issue him any remuneration whatsoever for the use of his name in their advertising.

Peter LaGana and his family benefit from each and every Vietnam Tomahawk sold by the new American Tomahawk Company. Peter is also involved in the quality control of its manufacture, making sure that the design is properly executed each and every time.



------------------
Andy Prisco,
Co-Founder, Manager
American Tomahawk Company
877-557-5200
http://www.americantomahawk.com
----------------------
 

Daniel L

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 2, 1998
Messages
1,912
Thanks for the reponse Andy - that was a great answer.

I can the obvious difference will be the distal taper - that will make it fast and sharp!

I'll start saving...
smile.gif


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Daniel
 

Brian Jones

Moderator
Joined
Jan 17, 1999
Messages
7,560
I've handled both models -- the first thing I noticed was the blanace of the ATC Vietnam hawk -- the cold steel is too top heavy for good CQB in my opinion....

Best,

Brian.

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Brian Jones
Co-moderator
Wilderness & Survival Skills Forum

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I suspect that the CS version is a good $30 hawk. Your hawk looks liek a good $130 hawk! If I were you Andy, I'd bookmark this thread and use it when people ask why they should spend over $100 on a hawk when they can get one for much cheaper! Staining handles, 5 edge grinds, eye step lock, .... all that stuff makes for a better hawk and this hawk seems adequately priced then!

By the way, the pic of the edge of that hawk is one of the neatest knife/hawk/whatever pics I have ever seen!

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"Come What May..."
 
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Messages
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Say Andy,I haven't checked the hawk forum for awhile so please forgive me for asking a couple of obvious questions.

First, Do I understand these postings correctly, that your new LaGana VT has all 5 of the original edges? Is the blade sharpened on both top and bottom so you have the primary edge and two others? From your picture it looks like it may.

Second, how much does it cost?

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All you need is love... a sharp blade and a full clip

[This message has been edited by Tonie (edited 06-27-2001).]
 
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