We were able to get our hands on a couple of the new Beaver Bill Mouse Hawks. The Mouse is basically a smaller, lighter version of the Beaver Bill Thin Line model. Unlike a lot of other mouse hawks, the Beaver Bill model uses the same size handle as his full size throwing hawks just cut 4″ shorter. In the picture below is shown a Beaver Bill Mouse Hawk next to an H&B Forge Pierced Lady’s Hawk. Quite visible is the difference in the handle “diameter” and the mass of the head. There is also a big difference in the way these feel in the hand. The heavier head and skinnier handle on the H&B model makes it quite obvious when holding the handle that there is some weight out there on the end. With the Mouse Hawk, due to the larger handle and thinner head, it is not as obvious leading to a more balanced feel. I personally prefer to feel that weight out on the end especially for throwing. The bottom line though is how it performs when throwing and is it easy to stick.
One of the concerns we had with the Mouse Hawk’s throwing performance was how well it would stay “true” and fly end over end, particularly on the longer throws. The lighter head seemed like it could be susceptible to “flailing” around during the flight. A few throws with this hawk proved that not to be the case. The Mouse Hawk is a very capable thrower, and we found it a lot of fun giving it a thorough work-out and sticking it at every distance up to a 6 rotation at about 70′. The lighter weight makes it a very good alternative to the much heavier “standard” sized throwing hawks. I also enjoy throwing the H&B model but the Mouse Hawk seemed to out perform it in ability to “stick it easy”. I believe that is due to the thinner profile of the blade allowing the Mouse to penetrate deeper into the target. The target block wood also seems to grip and hold the blade tighter. This is obvious when removing the hawk from the target block. The H&B will frequently just pop out of the wood with a light touch where the Mouse Hawk will need to be wiggled back and forth to loosen it. At first look to the inexperienced eye, the Mouse Hawk, seems less substantial, Flimsier(?), maybe even cheaper looking than the H&B and most other hawk maker’s throwing hawks. It would seem better to have a thicker, heavier tomahawk head and maybe for some purposes this would be true. In my experience, for throwing purposes, the Mouse Hawk, and in fact all the Beaver Bill Throwing Hawks, which share that thinner profile characteristic, just seem to stick better, and that is the best asset of all.
If you have thrown tomahawks enough, you know that it doesn’t take long for the head to loosen up on the handle, sometimes sliding all the way off. The heavier the tomahawk head, the more of an issue this is. A few of my ‘hawks seem to have a tight grip on the handle and don’t slip much, but even these will come loose if subjected to an under rotation that causes the grip end of the handle to strike the target first. I have been testing a method that will lock the head on the handle much tighter than it was but any head will break loose, even with this method, if under rotated and the handle strikes first. What I do is simply take the head off and apply a thin squiggly line of hot-glue on the area of the handle where the head seats. I then slide the head back on and, with a hammer, drive the head on so it seats all the way back up the handle where it originally was. The hot glue forms an extremely tight gasket between the head and the handle greatly minimizing the amount of slipping the head will do. The best way to do this is to heat the head up in a toaster oven while the hot glue gun is warming. You want the tomahawk head hot enough to keep the glue soft while seating the head back on the handle. This way the glue fills in all the spaces between the head and handle creating a very tight fit. When the glue cools and hardens I trim off the excess with a razor knife.
In the picture above, the vise is not clamping the handle, just providing a solid surface for the head to rest on since you need too bang the handle pretty hard to re-seat it. Be careful because you will chip off the corner of your handle if you hit it on the edge. Try to hammer right in the middle or use another block of wood to protect the handle.
This is the bag I use to carry my ‘hawks in. One of those tool bag things I picked up at the hardware store. Sometimes I will have up to 10 ‘hawks in there at a time. Since this bag has canvas sides I knew that I needed something to put on the ‘hawk blades to protect the bag. I had previously picked up a leather sheath at a recent NMLRA shoot from a vendor but I wasn’t satisfied that this was my answer. It didn’t fit my ‘hawk very well and I needed at least 10 of them. Yes, I admit that a nice leather sheath fits in perfectly with the whole atmosphere of ‘hawk throwing and all that. In fact if you are going to be carrying one around on your belt or are a re-enactor then yes, get a nice leather sheath. However, my main gig is throwing and I needed something compact so it wouldn’t take any extra space in my bag, and it had to be cheap. The answer, “Sharp-Shields”. Very simple to make and inexpensive too. I picked up a 25’ roll of 1/4″ I.D. stiff plastic water tubing. It comes in a roll it and has a natural curve to it that matches the curve of the blade. I believe this roll cost me about $5 and is enough to cover more ‘hawk blades than I will ever have. I simply cut a section slightly longer than the blade with a razor knife then carefully slice through one wall length wise on the concave side with the same razor knife. Then I force each tip of a 10″ bungee cord through the ends. The bungees comes in a pack of ten or so for about $4. There you have it. Very low profile and cheap blade covers. Not as sexy as leather but does the exact job I need.
This past week end, the TomahawkGuys had another great time throwing the ‘hawks. The weather was a little cooler than normal but that only made the campfire feel even better. We played around for awhile throwing for distance, where “Night-Hawk” nailed another 6 rotation throw, before we settled down to a game of “Around-the-World”, then moved on to using the NMLRA paper targets as pictured above.