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I Forge Iron

Machete & Ball-peen Tomahawk

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I finished 2 separate orders this weekend: a machete for my next-door neighbor and a tomahawk for my first online order. I have made a couple knives, but this is my first machete and my second BP tomahawk.

My neighbor loves the rough-grind look, which is great for me since I have yet to build myself a decent belt grinder (I have the chopped-up treadmill and motor waiting patiently!) I think it adds nicely to the brutality of this beast too; it is quite hefty, just as he ordered. He said he broke 2 Wal-Mart machetes and NEEDED something big, heavy and sharp. I can do that. It is mild steel; I trusted the spark test too much and did not quench test beforehand, so I thought I had HC. I think it will be fine as he will mostly be using it on family camping trips and small tree limbs in the summer. He was very excited about it and can't wait to use it.


  • Forged from 1/4" flat stock, quenched twice and file still bites
  • 16" long from tip to butt
  • White oak, stacked leather and brass handle; hidden full tang with epoxy.

The tomahawk was advertised with the hammered look, so I took to it with a ball peen after forging out its shape. I drifted the eye wider but in hindsight I should have kept going. As a result, I needed to make sure it would hold up so I threw it at a stump for about a half an hour and had no problems at all. Even stuck it a couple times!


  • Forged from a 16oz Harbor Freight ball-peen hammer (which I read somewhere is W2 steel), no quench.
  • 14" hickory handle, lightly charred 
  • hickory wedge in the eye







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like the look of the tomahawk the peened texture could cause rust though the burnt hickory has a great grain and contrast

might want to warn you neighbour about the trouble of mild steel (dents on edge,etc.)but for what he will do with it should be fine:ph34r: (don't quote me on that)

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Thanks for the kind words! I had not thought of the peened texture specifically enabling rust, although I did fail to mention that I finished both the steel of the hawk and the machete with a coat of Trewax as it is my understanding that it should help prevent rust. I should also add that the handle of the machete was finished with 1 coat of Minwax's "Antique Oil Finish." I figured it would do a good job of softening the leather while also helping to define the grain of the oak.

Although I intentionally did not put a fine edge (more of a chopper's edge) on the machete, it is also a concern of mine with it being MS. I tested it in the way he plans on using it and I saw no damage, though time will tell. Thankfully he is close and friendly; if it does incur damage, I can fix it for him. He also just ordered a sheath for it! That will be a fun new project for me.

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