Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tactical tomahawk weights

Finally go a chance to weigh the 'hawks.  I found that whether it had a hammer poll or a spike didn't change the weight much; the length did.

The short ones are around 25 ounces, and the long ones are around 30 to 31 ounces.


Benghazi Warfighters out the door

These were originally built as part of Blade Show inventory, but found customers afterwards.

Natural canvas Micarta and coyote brown Kydex:

Black canvas Micarta and black Kydex:

Here's hoping they serve their new owners well!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Feedback from Joerg on the slingsword

Joerg commented on Zombie Squad: "I have done quite a bit of slashing with the sword... coconuts, wood, the works. The blade is still as sharp as a razor. The quality just blows me away."

I always like to hear customer feedback.  :)  I asked his permission to quote him and he assented. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

A bit more about the 'hawks

Per questions from various folks, here are a couple of pictures showing the point of balance on long and short versions:

And some measurements.  The blades are 2 13/16" from point to point.  The hammer poll heads are 6 3/16" long, and both the pry spike and the combat spike heads are 7 5/16" long.

I am away from my shop for a few days and don't access to a scale to weigh them, but will do so when I can.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

New line of tactical tomahawks

This is something that has been in development for a very long time and has finally come to fruition: a line of tactical tomahawks.  I've hinted at them recently, but did not want to reveal what I was working on until they were ready for sale, and would not put them up for sale until I could trust a soldier's life on my work.  That meant a lot of prototyping and thorough testing, part of which resulted in this picture I've posted a few times:

On top of the clothes dryer is the end of a propane tank that has been forcibly converted into a sieve by the prototype spike 'hawks.  The second, untouched dryer in the background is destined to get mangled by the finalized tomahawks for a Youtube video.
For a long time I planned on building them with a traditional construction using a forged head with an eye and a separate handle.  I used nylon 6/6 for the handle, which felt very much like hickory as far as shock transfer while chopping.  I was mostly happy with the results, but still had some questions in my head about them.  One such question was the handle, while plenty stiff enough to transfer power when chopping, would flex too much when prying.  Since breaching is a major usage of a modern military tomahawk, it concerned me.

Then a Navy SEAL, who has become my best customer, requested a full tang tomahawk.  Logistically, it makes more sense to build something like that in a batch than individually, and it would solve the questions I had.  It's all a matter of balancing what the end user needs, and military end users have a greater need of being able to use their tomahawks as a multitool or wrecking bar that they can also fight with if the need arises.

So I shifted direction on the entire project and went the stock removal route, something very different from my usual approach of forging.  I drew sketches, lined up material suppliers, got CAD files built, and found a local waterjetter.  After the prototyping phase and a few minor tweaks in angles that had substantial increases in utility, I got my first batch waterjet cut.

The steel is 1/4" thick 4140, the same alloy I have built my own power hammer dies from; very tough stuff.  There are three different back ends available: hammer poll, combat spike, and pry spike.  Each one is available in either 12" overall length or 18" overall length, and with or without sharpened inner beards.  The handle slabs are 1/4" thick canvas Micarta with stainless steel flared tube rivets.  The steel is coated in Durabake in one of three colors with matching Micarta colors: black, desert, and olive drab. 

Here are blanks of one of each design prior to normalizing or grinding:

Pry spikes:

Hammer polls:

Combat spikes:

Stacks of blanks in the background and a blank cooling from normalizing in the foreground:

I really wanted to be able to debut the 'hawks at the Blade Show, and things came together just in time to do so (though the rivet tubing I ordered in plenty of time only got there the day before I drove to Atlanta! ).  I grabbed out one blank of each design to get ready for the show.

Then I got to grinding.

And heat treated them.

Then Durabaked, installed handles, and sharpened.

Hammer polls, unsharpened beards:

The combat spike is designed to penetrate well and then withdraw quickly for any needed follow-up shots.  It excels at that, and the spike punches through the propane tank end like butter.


Pry spike, sharpened beard.

The pry spike is narrow enough to fit easily into a door jamb, while stout enough that it also penetrates the propane tank end without taking damage.  Once the spike is nicely seated, the rounded top acts like a roller head pry bar, providing plenty of leverage.

The short one (olive drab) sold at the Blade Show, and this was the only picture I managed to get.

The handles have exposed pommels, allowing for some hammering ability with all designs and an extra striking area for CQB.

One advantage of shifting over to waterjetting is that I can build trainers fairly easily.  These are cut from 3/4" ABS plastic and are the same pattern as the hammer polls, but with the corners rounded for safety.  They are the same thickness as the handles of the real tomahawks and are beveled all over the same as the handles.

The extra holes allow you to slip a piece of foam pipe insulation or pool noodle over the ends and anchor them so you don't damage your sparring partner as much.  The hammer polls are a bit shorter than the spikes, but are still long enough to practice hooking and deflecting limbs.  The holes in the trainer handles allow practice with a lanyard.

Sheaths are forthcoming, but should be Kydex, bottom eject, jump-ready, ambidextrous, MOLLE compatible, with multiple carry options.  :)

These have been a long time coming, and I'm quite pleased to be able to finally have them on the table, ready to serve.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sword collaboration completed! Joerg Sprave content.

I got back from the Blade Show and found that the German customer had completed his work on the sword collaboration and had pictures and video up.  The customer is none other than Joerg Sprave, well known on Youtube for his mad genius at building rubber-based projectile weapons.  Among other creations, Joerg has built full-auto revolving slingshots, sling bows that shoot everything from Oreos to weaponized toilet brushes, and a rubber-powered shoulder-mounted bazooka that launches running chainsaws.  :D

Joerg has a great affinity for killing zombies.  In fact, we encountered each other's work on Zombie Squad.  So in keeping with a zombie apocalypse theme, he decided to take my short sword blade and build a handle that not only doubles as a slingshot, but looks like something that could be built from materials salvaged after the shambling undead arise to bring about the destruction of civilization.

Here are some of the materials:

 And here's what he built with them:

I have to say, this is one of the few spiked sword guards that I like, and that seems like it wouldn't be likely to accidentally stab the wielder.  The inspiration for going double-edged on the blade was the thought of a slingshot resembling anthropomorphic hilts on Celtic swords.  This one ended up looking similar, or the older antenna-hilted swords.  Sort of Mad Max meets ancient Celt.  :)

He also built a scabbard for it, angled to hang where the spikes are clear of the wearer.

And finally, with the triple-layered rubber bands installed:

I really enjoyed the video, especially the cutting test on the zombie head.  :D

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Little Rok that didn't make it to Blade

Among the knives I was scrambling to get ready for the Blade Show was a single edged Little Rok I had been planning on outfitting with Micarta and stainless hardware. It's second from the bottom here.

Then a good customer of mine contacted me needing a best man gift for his brother on short notice.  I snagged the heat treated blade aside, and it got desert ironwood and brass instead.  I managed to finish it up and get it in the mail before heading to Atlanta.  :)


Double edged long fighter

This one left my table at Blade today. Before it went I got permission from its new owner to take as good a picture as my poor photography skills and the lighting available would allow.

It's around a 10 1/2" blade of 5160, sharp top and bottom. The handle is black Micarta with flared stainless steel tubing rivets.


And of course, the sheath is Kydex with a TekLok.

I  hope it serves its new owner well.  :)