I was looking over some of the photos that I took over at the Friendship Rendezvous this year and found this image of a mini-‘hawk. I somehow managed to control my urge to buy one of these, very tempting. This is hand forged from the folks at H and B Forge. It is not something that is listed on their web-site but more of a curiosity that they brought along to see if anyone would be interested. I believe they sold out of the few that they had rather quickly. They make a nice variety of interesting tomahawks and axes, check ’em out!
That is pretty much the motto that the TomahawkGuys live by. Especially true if you like to throw for distance but also for closer in as it keeps from having too many errant throws. When I am introducing ‘hawk throwing to a newbie, a large target is very handy also. In general, size matters! Recently, when we moved our target blocks to their winter range we switched out one of the older targets with a new, even larger block. I remember when we first started out we were using a small pine log section maybe 18″ in diameter. We really didn’t realize how pitiful this was as we were having fun learning to throw. We were maybe sticking only 40, 50 or 60% of the throws! How times have changed. We have since gotten very serious about finding good targets. This is maybe the most overlooked aspect of tomahawk throwing. It is easy to find and buy a tomahawk to throw, but finding a large target is a serious quest. We have spent a lot of time and effort in searching out and acquiring a stash of nice targets. It is actually an on-going process but once you have a nice target it should last awhile depending on how often you throw. The picture below shows one of the targets we are using now compared to the actual first target that we had. Quite a difference.
Another picture shows just how large this target is. That is a yard stick trying to stretch all the way across the face. I would say the average diameter of this section is about 37″. It is a piece of Sycamore that we acquired when another friend noticed that his neighbor across the street was cutting down this massive tree in his yard. We told the guy what we wanted and he agreed to save a few pieces of the trunk for us. We were able to get 4 target blocks from him. The sad thing is that many people consider Sycamore a junk tree with no timber value so the whole rest of the tree was hauled away to a dump!!
Also notice that we have our standard TomahawkGuys markings on this target. As much fun as randomly throwing and sticking a ‘hawk in the target block is, everyone agrees that actually playing games or competing amplifies your enjoyment of ‘hawk throwing. With these markings we can use the circles to score accurate throws from 2 or 3 or more rotations away. We use the squares to play “Around-the-World” or “Tic-Tac-Toe.” You can also download our “Paper Targets” to staple on the target face too. When you get a target block make sure to mark it up or use the paper targets and start keeping score!
This past weekend we moved a couple target blocks to their winter position. During the summer they are positioned under trees to take advantage of the shade so we don’t have to bake out in the sun. Well, for our winter throwing we obviously prefer to be in the sun so we move them to a nearby open field. It was a very beautiful day with the autumn colors close to their peak intensity. It is a great time of year to get out and throw some ‘hawks!
In the middle of October I ventured to Minneapolis to celebrate the Baptism of my first Grandchild!! My Son-In-Law is from that area and he and my daughter live there to be close to his family. Previously, we had set up some target blocks in their yard. Recently, his father and younger brothers became interested and have set up a range in their yard also. Not only that but one of his brothers has taken up making his own throwing knives! He had about 15 already when I visited there. During the party we were able to step out and throw a few hawks, dodging the spotty rain that been falling all day. I took a couple quick snaps of one of the brothers of my son-in-law. Who ever said that throwing tomahawks couldn’t be a formal event?
These next photos show the range-in-progress at my son in-law’s family’s backyard. It also shows the “arsenal” that they currently have, 7 tomahawks, including 6 Beaver Bill Thin line, and about 15 knives! At this time they do not have any large log sections so they are using a stack of logs cut from a downed Pine tree. Not only are they using the end faces from the logs but they have ripped a couple log sections in half and have some long skinny targets. This demonstrates that even though there might not be any huge trees around to get a large target from, you can usually come up with something to get you started.
This video presents some of my thoughts after using my new Beaver Bill Throwing Knife. I have resisted getting a throwing knife for a long while. Some of my “throwing” buddies have on occasion brought their knives to our range but they use those thin, light weight throwing knives. Those have never really appealed to me so I thought it might be a good idea to pick up a Beaver Bill Throwing Knife. That way I could have a knife to throw with when those “knife-throwing” friends come around. The Beaver Bill knife is thick, and at about 15″ long, somewhat heavy. The larger knife definitely appeals to me more so than those little thin ones do. The Beaver Bill Knife is made to conform generally to the rules for NMLRA competitions which encourage traditional “frontiersman” type knives. The NMLRA rules require holding the knife by the handle when throwing. I would not say it is impossible but rather somewhat difficult to hold the Beaver Bill Knife by the Blade when making a throw due to its weight. This knife might not be the best choice if you are interested in doing “half-rotation” throws. I am having a lot of fun with this knife and have added it into my throwing “repertoire.” Now go out and throw some.