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Polypropylene tomahawk handle?

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by [email protected], Mar 20, 2019.

  1. Nicholas@97

    [email protected]

    Mar 20, 2019
    So i own multiple tomahawks. While i love the full tang tomahawks you can't beat the classic design of a tomahawk. I was wondering if it would be possible..or even practical to build a tomahawk handle out of polypropylene or a similar high strength plastic. Because while hickory handles are strong they can break, while polypropylene is almost impossible to break. Any feedback would be very much appreciated.
  2. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    It'll be heavy and flexible. What works better is poly-jacketed fiberglass; a fiberglass core for rigidity with a poly jacket for comfort and impact protection. A few European companies do this already with axes and hatchets that use slip-fit eyes like tomahawks do.

    3fifty7, A17 and Square_peg like this.
  3. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

    Jun 25, 2017
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
    A17 and FortyTwoBlades like this.
  4. Storm Crow

    Storm Crow

    Apr 12, 2006
    It has been done by a few different companies. In my opinion, polypropylene has too much flex to be ideal. I'd lean more to Delrin, nylon (possibly fiberglass-reinforced), or ABS (I've made trainers out of it that have handles a lot of impact stress).
    Square_peg, Nbrackett and A17 like this.
  5. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

    Jun 25, 2017
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
  6. Riz!


    May 5, 2014
    The Lagana V-Tac had a polypro handle and its tough tough. It does have a bit of flex though
  7. FortyTwoBlades

    FortyTwoBlades Baryonyx walkeri Dealer / Materials Provider

    Mar 8, 2008
    Delrin's just the brand/trade name of acetal. The biggest issue with most polymers is they're heavier and less rigid than wood is, so they tend to be floppy. And the casting process has to be decent because any bubbles on the interior introduces severe weakness.
  8. survivor45


    Feb 15, 2018
    As to your question.
    “Would it be practical?”

    I think you will have to have a machinist turn the handle for you on a lathe. My experience with most durable plastics is they can’t be easily shaped with your basic woodworking hand tools.
    That said if your in the Seattle area I can give a pice of Acetal (delrin) to try out.
    Square_peg likes this.
  9. Kevin Houtzager

    Kevin Houtzager

    Jun 25, 2017
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
    survivor45 likes this.
  10. Storm Crow

    Storm Crow

    Apr 12, 2006
    The American Tomahawk Company LaGana V-Tacs used nylon 6/6, nylon reinforced with glass fibers in the mix, but not a fiberglass core coated with nylon. I believe older versions used acetyl (the Delrin I mentioned).

    My experience working with these plastics is limited, but has been focused on handle experiments. Nylon, acetyl, and ABS all will shape with table saws and wood router bits, as well as a belt grinder. You may not have a slick finish when you're through like you would get with injection molding, but I think any of those would be an option worth investigating for a tactical 'hawk handle.
    Square_peg and survivor45 like this.
  11. justjed


    Oct 23, 2010
    I don't think polypropylene is the best choice. In my opinion, something with a higher strength/weight ratio, or something more dense, with less inherent flexibility than polypropylene, would be more suitable options.. POM, or possibly some variety of FGRP, would get my nod, and that's mostly for impact resistance. If you use a hawk, you will miss a swing now and then.

    That said, I'm content to stay with hickory, or walnut in a pinch.
  12. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    I grew up swinging a maul on a fiberglass core polypropylene shell handle.

    Worked fine!!

    Now, it was pretty darned ridgid because of the large fiberglass rod down the core.

    Definitely handled overstrikes better than hickory handles.

    My hawk handles are all Hickory.
    FortyTwoBlades and Square_peg like this.

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