Lightweight hawk for wood processing

Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
109
Hello all,

I really know nothing about axes, so bear with me. I need to find one for wood processing at camp, the trouble is that I kayak a lot so it simply must be as lightweight as possible because all my gear comes with me in the boat.

I've been thinking about getting a tomahawk, as those seem to be very lightweight, but I could care less about it's throwing capabilities or how tactical it is. I don't need a spike, but a hammer would be alright.

Any suggestions? Fiskars has a decent hatchet, but I thought I could do better by coming to the axe nerds :) Maybe something with a bit longer of a handle, without adding weight if possible? That and I kind of dig the look of a tomahawk, old school or modern. Just not sure if I'm sacrificing performance for aesthetics whenever I look at them online.

Thanks
 

LEGION 12

Gold Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
50,342
Check out H & B Forge or a 2 Hawks Voyager I'm a hawk guy so that's what I would suggest.
 

Square_peg

Basic Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2012
Messages
12,964
Wood processing? Firewood or building shelter? In either case a small axe is probably better. But a tomahawk will cut small trees for shelter OK.
 

shortwinger

Gold Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2010
Messages
1,055
Start out with a Cold Steel Trail Hawk or Pipe Hawk. They are inexpensive, easy to modify the.way you like and they are tough as nails. You could buy both plus a few extra hafts and still spend less money than many most on the market.

If you have a bit more to spend then take a look at the Coal Creek Forge Jack Hawk or the TwoHawks Longhunter. All of the models mentioned have numerous reviews on this forum and come highly recommended.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
109
Cool, thanks guys. I have to admit, perusing all these hand forged hawks gets my juices flowing. The CS Frontier Hawk, Pipe Hawk and Trail Hawk all look great too.

Any thoughts on modern tomahawks and their wood processing capabilities? I suppose they go by the term "tactical tomahawk"? Firewood, not shelter building.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2008
Messages
2,142
I like traditional hawks that have a hammer end for pounding in tent stakes. The tactical hawks usually have spikes which I find useless. The Pipe hawk is a nice upgrade to the trail hawk. More cutting surface and heavier.
 
Joined
Aug 3, 2013
Messages
592
Tomahawk isn't really the best for wood processing, go with a small fiberglass axe
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
109
I'm leaning towards HB Forge Large Camp Axe at this point. Seems a good compromise between weight and performance, and has a hammer pole.

I just wish I could actually go and hold these hawks before pulling the trigger. Decisions decisions.

How's CS' quality? I've read some less than favorable reviews...
 
Last edited:

LEGION 12

Gold Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
Messages
50,342
There's nothing wrong with CS It will take a little work to get it ready to use there's a thread at the top of this page all kinds of pictures of guys Modding theres you get what you pay for is the way I feel .
 

FortyTwoBlades

Baryonyx walkeri
Dealer / Materials Provider
Joined
Mar 8, 2008
Messages
24,464
As some others have mentioned, a small axe would be better for wood processing. The geometry of a 'hawk isn't very well suited to splitting tasks, though it can do them. If I was out in the woods with a 'hawk I'd make it one with a hammer poll and would fashion some wooden wedges. Start the split with the bit, then pull it out, insert the wedge, and hammer through.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
109
Hmmm, what about a Wetterling Large Hunting Axe then? Still clocks in at 2 lbs, and is 20 inches long.
 
Joined
Mar 3, 2006
Messages
1,152
My RMJ Shrike S13 is a modern Tactical Tomahawk. It weighs in at 21oz. Comes with a great sheath/carry system.
28tdgyu.jpg

4r5bba.jpg

I got it for work as a breaching tool but use it alot as a "bushcraft" tool (about every other day). It actually cuts wood pretty darn good in addition I've cleaned fish with it, used the spike end to puncture holes, traction for climbing, for long reaching and picking up/ moving things, and general trail maintenance to including snipping briars, copperheads and small branches.
Alot of folks say they do not cut wood that good but I wonder how many have actually tried with a Shrike or just speculate what it would do.
It's not cheap but pretty indestructable and with a real lifetime warranty. Compared to other high dollar items I have purchased I get alot of use from this one.
(and it's cool too)
 
Joined
Nov 28, 2012
Messages
24
Tomahawk is a fairly generic term which (especially including customs) covers a very wide range of designs and in turn capability. General comparisons or statements regarding tomahawk vs hatchet vs kukri etc, without mentioning specific models is of little value. I have a couple tommys that will out perform most hatchets and a couple that are all but worthless in the woods.

As to the OP's question, I have a Craig Barr that is really good and wasn't too expensive. Cross cuts and splits well. If you are on a budget, the CS pipe hawk is actually decent if you are willing and able to improve it. Takes some effort to get the most out of it. Refitting the head and re-profiling the edge.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Messages
1,696
Rather than a list of Brands, one made up of features you need would be better. Then you can surf the net for images and get faster feedback.

Kayak? Water - therefore, highly water resistant. A plain wood handle, unless specially treated, will absorb water and swell. Putting it in some kind of light water resistant wrap would help, or just sidestep that problem entirely by using one made entirely of one piece. Paracord won't be water resistant, one using a synthetic grip would be much less hassle or absorb moisture that creates rust.

No spike? Ok, although it will be handy grubbing, or even clamming, better than a hammer in that regard. Turn a hawk sideways and it will hammer, too. Depends on what you need to hammer, if it's tent pegs or such, a flat or hammer poll does it.

At this point, a traditional hawk isn't indicated, something with a one piece synthetic handle means a newer style one. Plenty of those, pick out three or more, then surf reviews and comments on them. It will narrow down, pick what you like. Then use it long enough to see why it does work and why not. That self education is a lot more valuable than the recommendations of fans who have nothing bad to say about a favorite. Don't forget to include a good kydex head sheath - one that protects you from your gear in case things get to rattling about upside down in hard rocky waters.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
Messages
109
I ended up ordering a Hultafors Forest Axe. 20 inches long, 2lbs head. A bit heavier than I was hoping, but it should be a champ around camp.

788.jpg
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2010
Messages
2,690
That will do better than a lightweight hawk for wood processing.
 
Top