How to Make a Tomahawk Without a Forge

Tomahawks are simple but effective hand-to-hand combat weapons, still used by the elite U.S. Army Rangers, but for the average person they can also be used fruitfully for yard projects like trimming limbs or chopping kindling wood. Here is a guide to building your own throwing tomahawk, roughly based on the U.S. Army Rangers model.

Steps

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    Find some scrap steel, between 3/16 and 1/4 inch (4.7mm to 6.35mm) thick, and at least 4 inches by 5 inches (10cm by 12.5cm) in size. You may find some in a junkyard or salvage yard, but it is also sold at industrial supply stores. Make sure it is not too heavy, but not too light that you cannot build up speed while swinging
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    Mark out a 3 1/2 inch (8.89cm) height by 5 inch (12.5cm) width, with a radius as shown in the image. The radius is hand drawn, as well as the blade curve, but an exact shape shouldn't be critical for the tomahawk to work.
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    Cut out the rough shape of the blade with a steel cutting blade on a circular saw to save time and effort when doing the finished cut later. You can make all cuts using a metal cutting bandsaw if you have one available, or even use a cutting torch.
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    Use a bandsaw or a jigsaw with an appropriate metal cutting blade to cut the curved edges of the tomahawk blade. Clamping the blade to a scrap piece of plywood that can be sawed through as you cut will make the task safer.
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    Use a grinder to smooth edges of the blade, and to sharpen the cutting edge of the tomahawk.
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    Clamp the blade to a welding table and position a 3/4 inch (1.9cm) pipe coupling along the straight, 2 inch (5cm) edge of the blade so that it is centered and aligned with the blade. Be careful here – if the blade ends up skewed, the tomahawk will not perform well.
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    Weld the blade to the coupling (which will be the thimble for attaching the handle), then clean the weld and look at the position of the blade in relation to it to make sure it is straight.
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    Cut a 17 inch (43.18cm) length of ash or other 1 inch (2.5cm) diameter hardwood dowel for the tomahawk handle. Shave the end about 2 1/2 inches (6.35cm) so it fits very tightly into the thimble on the tomahawk head.
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    Clamp the head into a vice and screw the tomahawk handle into the threaded pipe coupling until about 1/4 inch (6.35mm) is sticking past it.
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    Clean up the metal's edges and sharpen the blade of your new tomahawk, and you are finished.

Tips

  • Look at pictures online of various styles of metal tomahawks for ideas for similar projects, then modify the steps to suit your own personal tastes.
  • You can paint the tomahawk head, add feathers to the handle, and stain and varnish the handle if you like.

Warnings

  • Be careful and alert at all times when cutting, grinding, and welding.
  • The tomahawk is traditionally a weapon, so it is inherently dangerous, and not a toy for children to use. Store out of reach from children.
  • Wear appropriate safety equipment, particularly eye protection while using the tools described in this article.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal plate
  • 3/4 inch (1.9cm) threaded pipe coupling
  • Power tools described in article including a jigsaw, grinder, and welder
  • 17 inches (43.18cm) of 1 inch (2.5cm) diameter wood dowel

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