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Cold Steel Trail Hawk American Hickory Handle
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I'll be posting this review on the other Cold Steel Tomahawks as well, so please forgive the repetition.
First off, this is not a hatchet, and it will never chop (and cannot split) nearly as well as a fixed head hatchet. Conversely, a hatchet has not the balance/edge geometry to throw or stick as well as a hawk, and the permanent nature of the handle/head fusion will suffer under the abuse of throwing, or they will simply just not fly well (try throwing a gerber axe/hatchet some time).
That said, my BIGGEST POINT of this ENTIRE review/blog/blurb, based on all the negatives I just read on the CS Tomahawk line is...
TRUE THROWING HAWKS ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE LOOSE HEADS.
This is not a mistake... it is, in fact, the most durable design, and before metal heads it was very hard to accomplish. Just look at the negative reviews on the Vietnam hawk. This is what you can expect by trying to permanently affix your head on these types of hawks. The shock will transfer through the steel into the wood, which will give/crack/splinter under the relatively substantial amounts of torque/vibration.
I have years of experience throwing similar hawks... These are about the best "traditional" tomahawks made anymore, short of something pounded out by hand. It's unfortunate they are made overseas.. They are a little rough around the edges, but hell they are cheap! A little TLC before you start throwing will make them last for years.Read more ›
I bought two with the sole intent of customizing them as presents.
Both arrived at once in an overly large box with some brown paper thrown inside. Worst packing job I have seen from Amazon ever. The net result was several cosmetic blemished on both hawks from bumping and grinding while shipping. I hope they had fun doing it at least!
Out of the box quality is less than stellar. The very fact the head is held by a set screw defies the point of a tomahawk! Both hawks had heads that were poorly seated and wobbled horribly. Edge finish was poor and I doubt they could have cut anything safely or easily. Ultimately these were small isssues as I was going to modify them anyway.
Removal of the set screw and head shows the eye of the head has never been finished. The rough edges of the eye caused serious handle deformity when they were seated at the factory.
Soaking the head in stripping coumpound allows removal of genaric black paint. Casting finish is rough under the paint. However clear lines are visible from heat treating. It appears the heat treating is up to the first third of the blade and a majority of the hammer pole.
Debur and bevel the eye of the head to remove sharp edges. Work can be done on the cheap with files and sandpaper, but a dremel type rotary tool makes it a 10 minute project!
Strip the finish from the handle and smooth the upper portion to remove the lines put in by the unfinished head of the hawk.Read more ›
Out of the box, these hawks come a little rough around the edges. They are firmly attached to the handles with a set screw, and they could stand to be a little sharper. That said, they do chop very well as-is. I have to trim some elm saplings back a couple times a year in my yard, and I figured I'd take the opportunity to test the trail hawk.
It worked great. The lightweight head combined with a longer handle allowed me more precise control over the chopping than a traditional hatchet would.
As for making it "great", there are a few things that can be done to really improve the hawk, if you have some time to kill.
I removed the setscrew and tapped the handle out of the head. This scraped up the handle pretty bad, because of the burr left on the eye from the forging. I took the burr off with a round file, and buffed it a bit with some emery cloth to smooth the file marks. Then I stripped the paint off the head with an aerosol spray paint stripper.
For the handle, I sanded out all of the scrapes and gouges made by removing the head, and stained the handle. This makes it look a lot nicer.
To get the head to fit the handle perfectly, gently tap the head back on and then remove it. If the fit isn't good, you will only see 2 or 3 points where the handle and head make contact. Sand the handle at those high spots until the handle is in full contact with the eye, and it will be a perfect, tight fit.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've wanted a TomaHawk for quite some time now. Why??? Who knows, but I HAD to have one! I had looked in all the big box stores for one but was not satisfied with the selection... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Mrs. I
This is my first purchase from cold Steel and I am very happy with it. The hawk comes in good shape but there are a few things you should do when you get it. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
With the sheath, this is perfect for Renaissance festivals!Published 10 days ago by Mary-Lou S. Mayfield
Upon receiving this tomahawk I gave it a quick inspection due to other reviewers receiving chipped handles and blades. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Austin Parks
Needs a little work to make it great. Remove the paint from the steel. Throw away the set screw. Soak the head in acid to remove the shine. Stain the handle. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Rebecca Portier
I have alot of tomahawks and this is my favorite. Lightweight, great for hiking and backpacking, and makes more sense then a knife. Fun to throw and solid constructionPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer