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New DIY Project: Forge Yourself a Tomahawk

Here’s how to take a wood rasp and forge weld it into a good looking, throwable tomahawk. This is a good basic blacksmithing technique.

Primitive skills expert Nicholas Tomihama takes a wood rasp and turns it into a beautiful tomahawk in this instructional video. It’s really not that complicated of a process, and all you need are a few tools to do it yourself.

First, Nick removes the tang from the rasp with a grinder. Then he grinds off a three inch section from the other end. This piece he’ll incorporate into the tomahawk a little later.

Next he fires up his forge and inserts the longer rasp. He heats it up until it’s orange in color. Then he begins hammering. He hammers primarily in the center section on one edge of the rasp, putting a natural taper into the piece.

Once both sides are fairly equal he returns it to the forge until it’s orange again. Then he fold the bar in half, inserting a one inch pipe into the place where the tomahawk eye will go. He hammers around the eye of the hawk, leaving the blade part slightly open.

He puts the three inch piece into the forge and heats it until it’s orange, before hammering one end so that it tapers. This he will insert into the opening of the tomahawk blade, bolstering the blade section by adding more metal to it.

Nick then returns the tomahawk to the forge, heats it until it’s orange again, and applies borax to the heated metal. This helps to clean the metal and acts as a flux. He heats it again, then inserts the heated three inch bit in between the two sides. He adds more borax flux and returns the pieces to the forge. Once the pieces are heated to color he begins hammering the them together. He then begins drawing out the blade edge of the hawk with a cross peen hammer.

He returns the one inch pipe into the eye and uses it to hold the hawk while he hammers everything true. Now he uses the grinder again to cut the excess off from the edges of the tomahawk.

After Nick sands the tomahawk to a fine finish he heats the entire piece again and heat treats the edge. Once it no longer sticks to a magnet he dips it into a container of canola oil until he gets the color he’s looking for. You can get the details of this part from the video.

Finally, after sanding everything to a shiny finish, he turns a piece of oak for the handle and fits the head.

The hawk looks beautiful and throws perfectly.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

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New DIY Project: Forge Yourself a Tomahawk