Hatchet vs tomahawk for long term camping?

catspa

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Oct 25, 2009
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Easy fellas, no need to get riled up. We can discuss this politely, even when we disagree.

The problem I see here is that in order for us to communicate effectively, words must have meanings. If I say the words “low angle block plane”, a particular tool comes to your mind - something akin to the Stanley 60-1/2 or similar.

Now suppose Buck cuts a racetrack hole and some small radiused notches in their next batoning knife, and some marketing moron says, “Say, let’s call this the Low Angle Block Plane! Sounds kinda Old Timey and Nostalgic! Should be good for 25 points of market share!” (Ever notice how marketing morons use too many capitals and exclamation points?!!!!)

Anyway, if cooler heads fail to prevail, as they often do, the MMs will do the toolnut community a grave disservice by casting doubt on the long understood meaning of that tool’s name.

Don’t take me wrong here, I own and like and use Buck products. But calling a batoning knife a froe does not make it one, any more than adding a pair of boobs to a man wearing a skirt makes him a woman. Instead it contributes to confusion and uncertainty in our conversation (not a good thing). Buck (a good company IMO) has done a goofy thing naming this product. I hope they knock that shiite off. It’d be better to make up a nonsense name like “spudwacker” than to commandeer an unrelated word that already has a meaning, like “frisbee” or “fried chicken” or “flatulence”. Or “froe”.

The Japanese, to my knowledge, have never used the word “froe”. They don’t need to - they have their own name for their own tool, and when they say “nata” to each other they know what it means.

Like we know the meanings of our tool names (and much more about their history and usage, thanks to Bernie and guys like him). When you clicked on this thread, you figured hatchet to mean hatchet and tomahawk to mean tomahawk. Please let’s don’t wreck that by thinking “axe, adze, brushhook, chainsaw - they’re all the same”. They are not.

Parker
 

catspa

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Nor is a coutre, though I once remarked that it looked similar.

Parker
 
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Mar 13, 2016
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My 2 cents. Neither the hatchet or tomahawk. Long term go with 2 lb.Hudson Bay with a 24-28 handle. Rationale. Long handled tools generate more cutting power, that means i can get the job done faster with less energy. Conservation of energy is extremely important in long term situations where food might might be limited.
If that doesn't fit your bill then go with hatchet that has longer handle.18-20 inches. Main reason there is the flat/poll on back of head. Driving stakes/pegs with the rounded back of a tomahawk sucks
 

EngrSorenson

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Conservation of energy is extremely important in long term situations where food might might be limited.
I agree that an option closer to the 2-2.5 lb boys axe range is appropriate, I'm not sure it's an energy "saver".
I agree it does the job faster, but that's at the cost of more energy expended- or to pick an apropos saying, "there's no free lunch".

I'm not sure if anyone else has this experience, but I've found that a good optimization of processing time vs. benefit seems to max out around 4" diameter fuel.
Basically anything that only requires half a dozen hits with a hatchet or a couple with a boys axe.
 

FortyTwoBlades

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Totally defined by its function despite its form.

Form follows function. The two tools are shaped similarly only at a distance, being quite different upon closer examination. About the only thing they share in common is the orientation of the handle relative to the tool. But their specific form and methods of use are drastically different. They have about as much visually in common with one another as a flathead screwdriver and a mortising chisel.
 

Ernest DuBois

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Form follows function. The two tools are shaped similarly only at a distance, being quite different upon closer examination. About the only thing they share in common is the orientation of the handle relative to the tool. But their specific form and methods of use are drastically different. They have about as much visually in common with one another as a flathead screwdriver and a mortising chisel.
Were you familar with the resale market of the coutre - I am - you would know it is a common confusion. Conservatively, fifty percent mislabeling. So your perception is your own fantasy not a reflection of reality. I'll leave you to revel in your personal orthodoxy then along with your limited interpretation of Van der Rohe.
 

FortyTwoBlades

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Were you familar with the resale market of the coutre - I am - you would know it is a common confusion. Conservatively, fifty percent mislabeling. So your perception is your own fantasy not a reflection of reality. I'll leave you to revel in your personal orthodoxy then along with your limited interpretation of Van der Rohe.

I'm familiar with them being mislabeled by antique sellers, but I'm also accustomed to hay knives being commonly listed as ice saws or whaling tools. Ignorance is ignorance, and should not be used in deciding on the classification of a tool relative to others.
 

catspa

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I'm not sure if anyone else has this experience, but I've found that a good optimization of processing time vs. benefit seems to max out around 4" diameter fuel.
Basically anything that only requires half a dozen hits with a hatchet or a couple with a boys axe.
I’d say 3-5”, but yes. I used to scornfully call it “old man wood” while cutting bigger trees. Now that I’m an old man, with a more efficient woodstove, I prefer it. Thinning it out of my woodlot (and other peoples’) probably makes up half of what I burn now.

Parker
 
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Jan 15, 2007
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Hey yall. Hope this belongs here, very first post. Recently I've gained an opportunity to go for a very extended camping trip. Putting together a gear list from the ground up, I'd prefer the best of the best as I will be relying on these tools daily for several months. Tomahawks seem a better option simply because hypothetically i can replace the shaft in the field, easier than a hatchet head. But hatchets seem a bit more rugged and hefty. I'm torn. Please give opinions, and please tell me if this post would be serviced better in a different place. Many thanks.

Jay
If you are drive-in camping a Fallers axe is hard to beat--3.5# standard head on a straight 24-28" Fallers handle. Just take another handle along if you are concerned about it breaking. If you are backpack camping take an 18-19" hatchet or belt axe with a spare handle. Tomahawks can be fun but they are not even a close second to an axe for usefulness. They neither cut nor split as good...wood that is...skulls and scalps are a different criteria. :) For a 19" handle my first pick would be a Hudson Bay profile and after that a hatchet. Generally an axe poll will do all that is needed in the woods. I prefer the Hudson Bay or Hatchet because you have the flat cheeks for shaving and shaping and still a wide eye for splitting. On a larger axe you want high centerline cheeks to prevent sticking. A Faller's Axe can do a lot of work without being too long to use for smaller chores.
 
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Hmmmm, a bit off the beaten track.... For long term camping I have used a 12" kukri and a 14" bow saw. Ive used a few hawks, they are light for serious woods-crafting and are mainly for fighting IMO. I've got a few Michigan axes - single and double bitted for the heftier stuff. That said the kukri does everything I need EXCEPT as a hammer poll.. The kuk will go with me to Valhalla- well, that's my plan😊...
 
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A bit late now, but I'd also suggest taking a look at the Woox Forte I designed. It's a heavier head but was designed specifically with extended field use away from supply chains in mind, including the ability to field-fashion handles for it.
Heyo, did you also make Woox Volante? Saw it at the local outdoors store and was thinking of grabbing it for my survival kit, since it's much smaller compared to Forte.
 
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