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Old 05-18-2020, 01:05 PM
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Default Tomahawk From a Ball Peen Hammer

I am waiting on material for a couple jobs and was sort of looking for a quick project to do in the shop yesterday just to get out there, and stumbled across this old ball peen hammer head in a drawer. Not sure where I got it or why I never put a handle on it, but I decided it was about the right size to turn into a tomahawk with a spike poll.

The first challenge was I didn't really have any tongs that would hold it well. I settled on grabbing one side of the eye with 1/4" flat tongs and very clumsily hammering the ball peen into a square that I could hold with V bit tongs.

Once I could grab the peen end with the V bit tongs, I started working the other end down into the blade.

This is my first hawk and I was making it up as I went. It ended up and I was glad I didn't take the spike any farther from the start because in order to keep the blade the shape I wanted I had to stand the head up on end and upset the blade quite a bit to keep it from drawing out overly long and narrow, as well as to keep from getting a cold shut in the edge because I let it pucker too far.
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Old 05-18-2020, 01:10 PM
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I wanted a fairly tall cutting edge, and I've always like the looks of a bearded hawk so I also kept pushing the material down, and trying to keep a somewhat straight line at the top of the profile.

These pics just show the progression as I drew the blade out and shaped it. Admittedly this is going to end up more hatchet like than a true tomahawk. I am trying to keep the original eye so that I don't have to mess with making a drift, and I also don't want to end up with the eye/cheeks stretched out too thin.
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Old 05-18-2020, 01:19 PM
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Once the blade was about 90% I flipped it around and held it with flat tongs again and finished drawing the spike down all the way.

I had to do a little bit of work straightening the blade and spike in relation to the eye. Its not perfect but its pretty close.

Finally I cleaned it up with a wire wheel a little bit.

That is as far as I got yesterday. I am really happy with how close I got it to finished shape, and it is probably the cleanest forging I have done as far as hammer marks and what not. I don't have a flatter or any kind of tooling put together, so all the flats and everything are hammer finish. I need to clean up around the eye and poll with a round file, and it needs an edge but I honestly don't think I am going to do much grinding.

I am going to get it rasped up a little bit and then it will need to be heat treated.
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Old 05-18-2020, 06:27 PM
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Hmm, I guess there might be a use for all the old hammers I find and keep.
Nice job.


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Old 05-18-2020, 06:49 PM
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Well so much for not doing a full polish on it. When I got started cleaning up the transitions around the eye, I decided to just go full bore on it. I cleaned the whole thing up and heat treated it this afternoon. I did the first round of tempering with a torch so that the body of it is softer than the cutting edge and spike. Its getting a 2nd temper in the kitchen oven now just to be thorough.

Now I'll have to hunt down something to make a handle out of.
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Old 05-19-2020, 08:19 AM
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It looks very sharp, now it needs a bone handle, and you will need some scalps and feathers.
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:43 PM
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Very nice results.
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Old 05-22-2020, 05:43 PM
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Thanks guys. It was a fun project. I was curious what kind of steel it would be and I can't say that I have really tested it on anything but I was pleasantly surprised that it will sharpen up enough to scrape the hair off my arm. Still have to dig up something for a handle.
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Old 05-22-2020, 07:49 PM
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Let us know how it throws .
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