what is best budget-mid expense tomahawk-hatchet that can be used for both bushcraft and tactical uses...

scdub

Basic Member
Joined
May 29, 2004
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1,601
Is there any alternative to H&b tomahawks,theyre behind orders for 4,5 months ,plus i have to pay customs and shipping.....something forged and of good quality,are hb hawks worth 2,5x price of crkt or cold steel hawks or something else,thats how much it comes with everything.at least double!
Since you’ve got a hatchet to tide you over, I’d still recommend H&B. Remember these are hand made by one dude (Jerrod Barber), and the fact that orders are backed up should tell you something. I wouldn’t be surprised if the price jumps and/or they hire help and turn more “mid-tech” as demand increases, so this might be your best chance to get one affordably. I’ve tested my (sharp) H&B Boy’s Hawk directly against a (sharp) CS Frontier Hawk, and the H&B performed, in my estimation, slightly better than the CS on downed redwood. This is even though the CS is slightly heavier and slightly longer than the H&B. Especially considering what the prices are for some of the mid-tech hawks out there, I’d happily pay $200+ for my Boy’s Hawk...
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Edit to add - I believe the performance difference is due to the slightly less acute edge angle and thicker geometry behind the edge of the H&B - it tends to pop out wood chips rather than wedge/stick like the CS. The CS might penetrate better but I wasn’t testing that...
 
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May 18, 2021
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I bought a CRKT Woods Chogan on sale. I sanded and oiled the handle, wedged the head, and put a mirror sharp convex edge. After a few solid outings, its great. Still sharp, no chips, head is tight. I also like it for the "hammer" face, on the back.
 
Joined
Mar 2, 2014
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2,344
The vaughan hatchet is veeery tough,ill keep it as camp tool but am still looking to get some type of hawk....is crkt better than cold steel hawks?especially out of box,and after a mod?i know how to put nice convex grind on it .....which heads are better ?heat treat and quality of steel?
 

Bloodloss

Gold Member
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Mar 5, 2021
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438
My vote goes to the Cold Steel Trail Hawk. Plain and simple design. Still light and fast even though it has a hammer strike face opposite the cutting edge. Handle is plenty long, so you can cut it to suit yourself if needed. You'll need to make a proper sheath for it though.
 

Hickory n steel

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Feb 11, 2016
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Really like the Vaughan, guys. Never seen one before...
The standard carpenters half hatchet ( commonly mistaken as a " roofing hatchet " ) has been around probably 150.years at this point.
The Vaughan is a great choice, but there are also loads of vintage heads out there to rehang and put to use as well.
 
Joined
Nov 29, 2000
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1,814
What about crkt hawks compared to cold steel....they seem to have better finish...any info

Both are made in Taiwan, drop forged 1055 steel heads. I doubt the heat treatment would be very different.
The biggest difference IMHO is the handle attachment: the CRKT is consistently fit very tightly, the Cold Steel can vary a lot and frequently needs cleaning up the eye.
The current Cold Steel finish is forge scale, they did away with the ugly black paint.
I personally never liked the shape of the CRKT heads, I prefer the Cold Steel ones.
Once properly fit the Cold Steel hawks are great users at a modest price.
 

Enzo’s Woodshop

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Oct 4, 2015
Messages
424
I have a couple, both on opposite ends of the price range.

I love my Fiskars hatchet. Splits wood pretty good for an axe of its small size. The black coating comes off relatively quickly in serious use, but it’s no big deal imo. The plastic they use is absolutely bombproof, and the 1055 steel does the job. I can get the edge razor sharp with almost no effort. Below, you can see the near-mirror edge I have on mine. Picked mine up for about $20 or so, and bought a nice leather mask for it from Andy Robertson.

My other hatchet, and the one I now use to rough out all my woodcarving projects, is a Park Swan built to my specs. It cost $530. It is easily the best tool for roughing out woodcarving projects in my experience. I can get extremely precise with it, and the full-length 1”-wide micarta handle is comfy for many hours of use. I can rough out entire batches of spoons and spatulas without a single hotspot developing on my hand.
Below I included an example of the precision and speed of the Park Swan. That chunk of Black Cherry wood went from log to a curved-bottom pencil tray in minutes.

S7 steel, a kydex mask from Park, and a leather mask from Mountaineer Leatherworks.


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Enzo’s Woodshop

Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider
Joined
Oct 4, 2015
Messages
424
None. If you want an axe for wood working, get a Gransfors Bruk, if you want an axe for hitting people, consider camping someplace else.
GB are great but unless you buy in-store, and are thus able to inspect each individual axe before you purchase, they can be a bit of a toss-up to buy online. Uneven grinds and some other issues are common, as their QC is pretty lacking these days.
 
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