Lightweight hawk for wood processing

Joined
Jul 16, 2013
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Ha, well... someday.

The RMJ Shrike S13 is too rich for my blood, that's for sure. I'll have to keep looking. 2 Hawks Voyager will probably come into my possession next.
 

bonafide

Leather Sheathmaker, JouFuu Leathers
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Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
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Posting a pic of my 2hawks Voyager vs a Competition. There's size/weight difference.

voyager.jpg
 

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Joined
Jan 23, 2011
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That Hultafors looks very nice; a good bushcraft axe.

I kayak also; don't do overnighters much. Nice thing about the hawk is you can disassemble it for packing in a kayak, which is tight on space. As pretty much everyone says, it's not optimized for wood processing. It's part weapon, part tool. I have a CS frontier hawk that I have used to split wood for kindling. With a hawk I hit the log along its side. It takes longer than an axe/hatchet, but it gets the job done.
7fl8.jpg


Unless you are winter camping, having a bonfire, or building a log cabin, I think the 2lb. axe is a bit overkill, especially for a kayak. At some point, you will want a hatchet. There are lots of decent hatchets around; I have the Fiskars hatchet, and it works pretty well. For making kindling and working with wood 4" diameter or less, that is all you'll need.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
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108
You've purchased an excellent bushcraft axe of a size favored by the likes of Ray Mears and Ben of BensBackWoods. It is still packable even if it is heavy at 32 oz.

Later you might want to consider, for your kayaking a light weight belt axe, between 11 and 22 ounces in weight.

YouTube has some great vids of non-professional experts using their small axes effectively. One is MrBushTramp and another is josephallen19.

Safety first: Small axes and hawks are incredibly dangerous because of their small arcs. Safe skills are essential. Ray Mears vids on YouTube are a good start. Kochanski's axe chapter in his book Bushcraft is outstanding.

Cliff Jacobson is a famous canoe expedition guide. His books have some meaningful crossover application to your kayaking. For expedition canoeing with a group of people he favors the synergy of a saw, axe and knife. His favored axe for his expeditions is 13.5 inches long and weights 22 oz.

An earlier comment made an excellent point about being on the water with a wood handle. You can seal and maintain the wood a number of ways such as rubbbing bees wax from a bees wax candle into the wood. Some use petroleum jelly or olive oil on the axe head.

A small, ultra-light, very good quality and inexpensive belt axe made by Vaughan I am selling on this website as an individual. It but needs to be sharpened correctly to be very effective. This belt axe could be a great way to learn, compare with your camp axe, and determine what you need for your kayaking without a big investment.

axe Vaughan Sportsman full right.jpg

Have fun.
 
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Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
92
My RMJ Shrike S13 is a modern Tactical Tomahawk. It weighs in at 21oz. Comes with a great sheath/carry system.
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It actually cuts wood pretty darn good
...........................................................
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.

Could you please estimate how long it takes for that kind of work?
 
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Mar 3, 2006
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I'd have to guess an say a minute or less maybe more . it's green wood so it chops easy. A couple days ago I had to cut some a field expedient target stands and grabbed my little Gerber hatchet (since hatchets cut wood better). The Shrike chops circles around the Gerber. I consider the Gerber a decent chopper. I have used axes and hatchets before but have to say for a light chopper the Shrike surprised me. If you compare the Shrike to some other "Tac" hawks you will see that some are simply a flat sheet of steel with an edge where the RMJ has a different configuration.
If I see anything chop worthy today I'll run a stopwatch
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
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Thank you for your reply mate.
Using the Shrike's edge as a scale I'd say that the tree is around 5" in diameter. My GB small forest axe will down a soft fresh tree like this with 10 hits, maybe 15.
It can also be used as a hammer unless the user is not experienced so the thin hammerhead is actually useless.
The SFA does not pack very well because it's 20" long, weights more than a kilo (from memory), has soft steel that rolls easily when it meets a hard odject meaning it is almost useless for breaching and demolition work.
So I guess if your primary interest is to cut small trees get a proper axe, if versatility is what you need get a tactical (or traditional?) hawk.
 
Joined
Aug 11, 1999
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Well, you've already picked up a decent axe but if you want the lightest tool for processing wood, a decent folding saw is the way to go. Ray Mears makes everything he does look easier than it would be for me, but this technique is indeed easy to learn and do well:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSOXU0rrqOM

In thicker wood, faster than most small axes or hatchets, and generally safer. If you're processing daily for camp, even a cheap Fiskars sportman's wood saw will work fine. (At 3.5 oz, I pack one even for day hikes.) But a Bahco Laplander or similar size Silky would be great if you're processing wood for a group.
 
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Feb 9, 2008
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I am using saws for years. The problem with the saw is that a saw is just .... a saw and nothing else. The axe is much more versatile.
 

LEGION 12

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This thread got me thinking I need the same thing gonna pickup a Wetterlings Large Hunters Axe to add to my hawks.
 
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Mar 3, 2006
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I am using saws for years. The problem with the saw is that a saw is just .... a saw and nothing else. The axe is much more versatile.
Besides who wants to fondle a saw while watching "Last of the Mohicans" or The Patriot :D

(I do use a silky saw.)
 
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Feb 9, 2008
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This thread got me thinking I need the same thing gonna pickup a Wetterlings Large Hunters Axe to add to my hawks.

Well I think I can help you make the decision….
I don’t have any Wetterlings but I do have their direct competitors.

Inspired from a recent conversation with our friends WJC01 and storyville about hawks, axes and saws for wood processing.

Real life use of my GB SFA (and maybe a little biased and set up)





Tall branch reaching for pruning, collecting nuts, climbing (?)



Hammering



Digging (just kidding)



Crashing



Driving big nails



Pulling/moving previously cut branches



Seasoned almond tree is hard like ironwood



1 ½” penetration



OK, OK I cheated here. I hit the edge of the log and hit it horizontally so this was actually wood splitting.

No need to show all the usual wood processing tasks.

Four years ago I cut more than a ton of almond tree fresh branches in pieces with that axe. Took me a couple of days to clean the very thin branches first and then to cut nice pieces for the fireplace.

Hard to prove its usefulness as a weapon too (never needed to).

If there is a hawk out there that can do wood processing that well I’d like to buy it no matter the cost.


A good Japanese saw is way much better for cutting thick branches.



When I prune my almond and olive trees I use mainly the saw. The axe comes later as described above.
To down big trees I take the Husqvarna though.



BTW I am waiting a custom hammerhead hawk from a friend mainly for wood processing and also for real hard use and easier/lighter packing in my backpack. Hence my recent thread here:
http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php/1094651-RMJ-and-“normal”-tomahawks
I’ll let you know about the results.
 
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No pics but used the spike end alot ripping and raking the rotten outer shell of some downed trees that form a semi-jungle gym in a "secret hideout" spot near the creek. Once the squishy rotten bark is removed and dries and becomes user friendly spot again.
Great shots of the axe in a multi-purpose role there Harryf3.:thumbup:
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
92
The spike transforms the tomahawk to a small pickaxe and this can be really useful sometimes. The hammer/poll is much more useful for my daily activities though. So it all depends on the intended use. My most used tools are the axe and the hammer. So to have both these in one tool and in a small package (read: hammerhead hawk) sounds interesting to say the least. Real life use will shortly prove if I'm right. I'm expecting a drop in the overall performance that's for sure.
 
Joined
Jul 16, 2013
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109
Well lads I got to use my axe this weekend. Went 100 km down the Athabasca river, camped 3 nights. Axe performed like a dream. I think I made the right choice. It's just long enough and heavy enough to make splitting wood worth it. I think if I had a small hatchet I'd process the wood less and just end up dragging large pieces of wood through the fire. That said, I did not find the size or the weight to be any issue. It's still quite small... it's practically a large hatchet really. I appreciated this as I cleared a space for my tent hammock.

Only took one pic... and it's pretty boring. Figured I'd share anyway. Axe on the right is my buddies (and is in terrible shape). It's about 4 inches longer than mine, and feels about a pound heavier too.

VaECjaw.jpg
 
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Feb 3, 2006
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A little late to the party but if you have second thoughts on lugging all that weight around you might want to look into a saw. A silky pocket boy processes a lot of wood for it's weight. Along side a sturdy belt knife and it's much faster, safer and lighter than carrying an axe. YMMV
 
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