Jump to content
I Forge Iron

Hawk drift dimensions & material

Recommended Posts

I want to make a hawk drift, been searching but can't find what I need. What should the dimensions be, length / width, round or oval.
What type of stock should I use, I have 3/4" med.carbon, 1" round mild steel, 1-1/4" stainless shaft, and jack hammer bits, not sure of the size of these.
I will be doing this by hand but I may be able to get some help with the hammering. I plan on starting with RR spikes, I have plenty of these and then moving to better steel.
Thanks Jerry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found dimensions while looking at several different drifts for sale. I like the idea of getting a handle and making a drift to match. I will probably do that. I want to make my drift mainly for the practice, I am not in a big rush to get it done. If it dosen't work out then I can by one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...


I can tell you that people in today's day and age will prefer an easily replaceable handle over a fully custom handle to the point of discarding a very expensive, high quality, hand made tool over the bother of fitting or making a handle, and purchase a cheaply mass produced tool that serves the same function in a less elegant manner.


At least I have acquired a few decent tools for this reason alone!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well if you are going to throw a hawk it will eat up handles; now if you make a gussied up hawk that can't be used even to chop kindling then it can use the same fancy handle forever. Putting a fancy handle on a working tools is like putting a fancy paint job on a ranch truck.

But in general folks nowadays don't seem to believe in "maintenance". Take kitchen knives: the old high carbon blades would start out as large butcher knives and with regular cleaning and sharpening last until 2 to 3 generations down the line you have a paring knife--and often a "favorite" knife at that. I have one such that I've been asked to "reboot" to about 3 decades ago as it's now too small for what they love it for...I'm going to try to re-do it with an old crosscut saw as the material to get the thickness and temper just right.

A lot of kitchen knives nowadays are disposable, you don't have to take care of them and toss them when they get dull.

Car tune ups and oil changes are other examples where what folks once did on a regular basis they don't want to do for the life of the car.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

It seems to me that the pick-ax style tomahawk handle is a bit of form following function. Making a handle that doesn't require finicky fitting, wedging, etc, is really a boon to a person out in the wild. The minimal handle fitting required for such a hawk could be mostly done with the hawk head in hand.

It's lame that people don't always appreciate quality. However this forum exists at least in part because enough folks agree that quality, hand made things are rewarding. More to the point - MAKING quality things is rewarding.

As for the disposable nature of things, I have mixed thoughts on the matter. Top of the line cooking cutlery still sells. I have little doubt my modest collection of well made kitchen knives will last generations. For the record, they'll likely outlast the cherished high carbon knives by virtue of being produced under better quality control with higher quality materials. One of my kitchen knives is a youngster compared to those in Thomas's story. It's only fifteen years old, but it's still perfect.

Designing an engine to require less fuel, less maintenance, and fewer oil changes isn't an indictment of our culture - it's responsible engineering. Why complain that you car requires less oil, fuel, and parts? What irritates me is that they don't last long enough. Whoever came up with "pre-planned obsolescence" really changed cars for the worse.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have found that it is easier to make a drift to fit a hawk head if you use an already made hawk as a template. Keep working on the drift until the hawk fits like a glove. Remember, most tomahawks have a tapered and teardrop shaped eye so it won't slide of the end of the handle...and it's a drift to finish off the dimension of the eye, not a slitter or punch.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started off thinking that all tomahawks should have teardrop shaped eyes but it occurred to me that teardrop shape is a natural outcome of wrap & weld "trade" style hawks. I noticed that lots of full sized axes have an oval shape that's more pointed on the bit side. There's a book I own showing how a full sized ax can be made with a flat bar. The eye area is fullered down before the strap is folded around and welded to make the body of the ax. I very much suspect that when axes are made in this fashion, the bit side of the eye get's pulled/pinched when the blade is drawn out forming the pointed oval shape.

I'm not skilled enough but I truly suspect a skilled blacksmith could make a wrapped eye tomahawk without a drift.

Either way I've come to the conclusion that punching a handle hole is much easier to do symmetrically when the punch and drift are mostly rectangular. Try as I might, the teardrop shape has proven to be much harder to align with the bit. Plus when I'm making my own handle, it's much easier to use stock that can be sawn to a rectangular profile before fine fitting.

I suspect there's much variance to what folks consider traditional.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

there is a lot more to the shape of axe handles than them just fitting the axe eye.
Hawk handles in particular have a shape that can be referenced with the fingers , you know by feel what size the edge is. I like this feature on most axe handles.
I would get a hawk drift to match existing handles .........or not!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...