Kwisatz

Tomahawk and Axe handle proportion or ratio guide?

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I am finishing up a blade to be used in an axe or spear that I made from a lawnmower blade. Its 13 inches long, 2 inches wide, & 1/4 inch thick. Of the 13 inches long, 9 will be blade. The tang goes 4 inches into the handle. The weight is 1 pound, 10.3 ounces.

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My issue is that I can’t seem to find a guide on what proportions a blade should be to the handle. I don’t want to mount it and then have to take apart again over and over if its not right. Any suggestions, videos, books, or places I can look?

Thanks for the help.

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First could you explain to me why what works for *me* must work for you? My knuckles might drag the ground as I walk and so all my tooling might need to take that in account while you being 6'8" will use the giant economy handles all the time. You really should do a mock up out of easily whittled wood, (a drawknife speeds things up!). Then you can store your mock up hanging on the shop wall for the next time you do one similar.

Now go visit a good hardware store and try out various axes and see how they work for you and measure the one that feels "right"

REMEMBER commercially sold items are usually not the *best* design but are the Cheapest that they can manage to sell!

As that's a non-standard item you may want to look at other types of handles that can be modified. Also look at how other cultures handled the same issues (like use of root burls to deal with splitting issues for tanged axes)

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A decent rule of thumb I use trying to figure this kind of thing out is, "it's easier to shorten something than make it longer" What I'd do is make it longer and fatter than I think I'll need and trim it to fit later.

I would make a smart remark about Thomas' knuckles dragging but I'm sure he's heard them all. <snicker>

Frosty the Lucky.

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Thomas makes a great point. Also, form follows function. How you use it and what you use it for are considerations. A bladed item will have different properties and balance depending on whether the main function is cutting wood, throwing, ceremonial smoking pipe, or hand-to-hand combat.

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Thanks for the feedback. I am not a knuckle dragger, for the record. LOL. At 5’6” 220 I am built more like a rhino than a giraffe. I am going to “feel up” a few handles at the farm supply store. They have all kinds of axes and woods. I think I will forge a small draw knife to do wood working.

For the record I HAD NO IDEA bladesmithing/blacksmithing was this all consuming! LOL. I just wanted to pound hot steel. You know, the fun part. I have had to start researching carpentry, metallurgy, tempering, annealing, file work, the list goes on and on. *sigh*

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As far as hawks are concerened, I found mysely using hardwood hoe handles from our local hardware store. True, they are round, but I can get three 18" handles from one hoe handle at about $8.00 a handle vs $3.95 + S&H for one online, and the round hoe handle can always be sanded or carved to shape.

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Another place to check out for handle material is the local Scout shop. We got walking staffs for the boys in my son's Webelos Den and while I was purtyin' it up for him, I was thinking it would make great stock for handles. Not sure what wood it was made out of, but it's over an inch (1 1/2"?) in diameter and near 6' long. IIRC, it was about $5-6. 4x 18" handles out of it.

Something to consider.

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A rendezvous demonstrator once told me that a throwing hawk should generally be proportioned so when you grip the head, the handle extends to just beyond the crease in your elbow.

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If you go to North Carolina PBS you can watch several years worth of Woodwright Shop with Roy Underhill. He goes into riving and shaping billets of wood on a regular basis. I just rived out some staves for a hawk handle from black locust a few days ago.
I agree with make it longer and fatter than needed. I would add a pic of a flame hardened hadle but I can't seem to get the pic loader to work.
A draw knife and a spoke shave will do wonders. The last two handles I made only got a touch up sanding just to blend in the burn marks and highlight the grain.
Best of luck, hope this helps.
BTKS

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