One of our favorite games to play with the throwing tomahawk is “Around the World.” We start with sticking in the upper left corner, then move to the upper right corner, lower right corner, lower left corner, then the left center square followed by the top center square, right center square, bottom center square, then the middle to finish. As long as you make a clean stick in the appropriate square you continue to throw. If you miss that square or hit the line then you forfeit your turn and the next player throws. On your next turn you pick up attempting to stick the same square as you missed on your previous turn. First person to throw around the world wins. If a player still has a turn left when another player finishes the around the world cycle then that player can throw to see if they can finish out also. If the game ends in a tie then an appropriate tie breaker can be used.
To play Around the World it is best to have a rather large block of 30″ minimum in order to fit all the markings on. The one pictured above is about 32″ in diameter. We make a 21″ square centered on the target block. That square is divided into nine 7″ squares as pictured above. If your block is not at least 30″ all the markings will not fit on there. You could still mark your target as shown in the picture below leaving off the larger outside square marking. The only difference is that the outside “squares” might have the corners cut off and would be a little harder to play on than with a big target. This game also has the added benefit of making your wood block last longer as you are not always throwing at the center of the block but trying to stick in the outer edges also. This really helps to develop your aim better than always throwing for the center.
This throw is very similar to a previous video where I used a knife and a tomahawk. This time I am using two Beaver Bill Mighty Mouse-‘Hawks and I am throwing at two different targets about eight feet apart. Both tomahawks are thrown at the same time. I noticed some strain in both shoulders from throwing out away from my body. A normal single ‘hawk throw would have the arm motion come slightly or maybe even a lot across the body. Throwing out from the body is not a normal motion I think. Just another throw to try if you have some tomahawks. If not, get going, you are missing out on tons of fun!
This throw uses both the new “Short Throwing Knife” from Beaver Bill and an early model “Mighty Mouse-Hawk”, also from Beaver Bill. Both Implements are thrown at the same time and at the same target. I am getting better at throwing with my left hand as I sustained some minor right shoulder injury and have been throwing a lot from the left while that heals. There are all kinds of techniques and challenges such as this that makes tomahawk throwing very fun and enjoyable. If you don’t have a tomahawk, go get one, gather some friends and enjoy your new hobby.
I recently added a new tomahawk model to my collection. It is a Mighty Mouse Hawk Hammer Poll made by Beaver Bill. As you may know from an earlier post, I collaborated with Beaver Bill in the design of the original Mighty Mouse Hawk and this hammer poll is roughly based on that model. It is a similar size and shape as the Mighty Mouse with the addition of the hammer poll that is welded on to the back of the head. Beaver Bill already has another Hammer Poll model that he produces that is made the more traditional way in that it is forged entirely from one piece of steel. This way this new model is produced will allow him to offer this at a lower price point. From my point of view, this model with the forge marks left on and the plain hickory handle and lower price will get more use as I am not afraid of taking this out and throwing it and using it. What I mean is that Beaver Bill’s other Hammer Poll model is so dang nice looking I would not want to mess it up by using it! Anyway, since my main interest is throwing tomahawks, I never really imagined what I would do with a hammer poll. It turns out that this hawk throws just as good as any other tomahawk that I have. The main difference is that it has some extra weight that it is carrying but that also provides more mass to the hawk and the blade tends to stick fairly deep, with a satisfying thud when it hits the block. The hammer poll might be a good choice for campers who need a tomahawk that is more versatile and can not only chop some fire sticks but also hammer in tent stakes. I really like the solid feel that this hawk has and am really happy with its performance as a throwing hawk too.
Last year I did a hands-on review of the Competition Throwing Tomahawk and the Mouse Throwing Tomahawk from Hatchets and Axes. This time I am reviewing their “Scout Throwing Tomahawk” and the “Polished Competition Throwing Tomahawk.” There have been several improvements in the Hatchets and Axes throwing hawk line-up since that last review and I think these new ‘hawks are good examples of those improvements. The main thing that I notice about both the Scout and Polished hawk is that the taper of the blade is more gradual in it’s transition to the edge. Practically this means that the edges of the new hawks have a narrower angle and are much more likely to stick in the target block. The edge on the older hawks have a wider angle and are more blunt so as the edge of the hawk hits the target, the thickness of the blade effectively blocks the hawk from penetrating and many times will just fall off the target. If you read my old review you see that I had to make a few modifications to those hawks so that they could be usable in my arsenal. The good news is that the new “Scout Hawk” and The “Polished Hawk” both stick very well right out of the box. I have not had to make any modifications to them. Another improvement is that the handles have a much nicer fit on the blade than the older ones did. I do prefer the scout hawk over the polished hawk for a couple reasons. First is that the scout blade is thinner than the polished hawk blade meaning even better ability to stick and that is what it is all about!
The “H&A” website says that the scout hawk is “…thinner and lighter…so that it will be easier to throw for younger scouts” and “Typical ages of scouts is between 12-14 years old.” Well, this is true but keep in mind that the scout hawk is still a very sturdy and heavy hawk. Do not think that you need a heavier hawk for older scouts or adults. You don’t! The second reason that I prefer the scout hawk over the polished hawk is the “finish.” I tend to like the rustic look with forge marks on the blade. The polished hawk does look nice when new but to maintain that polished look over the life of the hawk is going to be problematic to say the least. In conclusion let me say that I frequently get asked for my advice on a good throwing hawk for an inexpensive price. It is usually from someone who needs to buy multiple hawks for a group activity that they have planned and do not have the budget for more expensive tomahawks. I believe that the Hatchets and Axes Scout Hawk fits this need perfectly. Not a top of the line tomahawk but more than adequate. It has a very good price point and is even discounted if you buy in bulk, perfect for scout groups. They are ready to go right out of the box with no modifications needed to get them to stick.
I just happened to be looking around in the tool shed the other day and came across this large diamond point chisel. I was actually looking for something to tighten my “eye screw” into my new tomahawk hanging target as shown on another video. When I was finished with that I thought that the tool itself might be a nice implement to throw. It is about 12 inches long, half inch in diameter with pretty good heft. Took it over to a target and it became a Bo shuriken as it is now in my arsenal of throwing implements along with my tomahawks, knives, and axes!
I don’t often share videos from other folks but I thought that this might be of some interest to our readers. Old video of Michael Davis performing for President Reagan by juggling a knife, cleaver, and a double bit tomahawk! Kinda’ long maybe but should bring a smile to your face. Pretty impressive jugging too. Oh, don’t try this at home!
I have mentioned in a couple recent posts about a new throwing axe I acquired. I have spent time with it and have thrown it quite a bit and can report my findings. The Razor from Precision Axe is designed and built for competition axe throwing. In fact, it is the only competition axe built in the USA. It has 6 inch bits and a “pinned” head to meet various competition regulations. Precision Axes is a small business located in California and operated by Craig Pinkerton and his family. The Precision Axes seem to be unique in that the head of the axe is not forged. I don’t know of any other throwing axes that are not forged from one piece of steel. Craig spent 4 years developing the Razor to be easy to throw, affordable and very durable. The Razor axes are made from 4 pieces of sheet steel that are cut by a computer controlled plasma cutter and welded together to form the axe head. That is followed by an 8 step process to prepare it for use and finally fitted with an American Hickory handle. This procedure is somewhat more efficient than the forging process and allows Precision Axe Co to pass that benefit on to the customer by way of considerable cost savings as compared to the forged axes offered by various European companies such as Gransfors Bruks, Ochsenkopf and Wetterlings etc. I admit that a forged head has more visual appeal than welded sheet metal and axe throwers are generally a more traditional minded group of folks. I asked Craig about that and he confessed that it has been a challenge to find converts among axe throwing competitors. He kept plugging away by going to competitions all over the west coast of America to introduce his creation to whoever would listen. Sometimes he would win converts after they were just defeated by someone who was using one of his Razors. The Precision Axe line has eventually expanded to several different size models for those who might prefer a lighter axe and even a size for younger teens.
I have been using the 3lb 5oz Razor model and it compares favorably to my other vintage axes that I throw. I find that the larger the implement the easier it seems to be to control the throw. That may seem counter intuitive but a knife is more difficult to control than a tomahawk and a tomahawk more difficult than an axe! At least that is my experience. This Razor is no different. Very easy to have a nice smooth controlled throw. Also easier to throw than my vintage axes because they have “chopping” handles on them and the Razor has a “throwing” handle meaning there is no bulge on the end of the handle to snag your hand upon release. Most of my attempts have resulted in sticks with just a few bounce offs mostly because of the target block condition. The Razor does not come with very sharp edges. In fact, for any throwing axe the edges do not have to be very sharp as the weight of the axe upon impact usually with drive the blade into the target block. For safety reasons it is best if they are not real sharp. My vintage axes do, however, have really keen edges on them and would likely stick better in harder wood target blocks. Since we try to use only softer wood for blocks it is not an issue or I suppose one could sharpen the edges if so desired. I am not decided on that yet but so far it has been sticking just fine. As you may know I like to throw for distance and have thrown the Razor at 3 rotations numerous times. All in all I am happy thus far with the Razor and it may not have the “character” of a hand-forged axe it certainly performs just as well and at a much lower price.
As an update I have tried some 4 rotations but still couldn’t quite get the axe to the target. A much younger throwing buddy also tried some 4 rotations and he came a lot closer but no stick either. However he did plant a direct hit with the end of the handle into the target block. This caused some not so pretty results as you can imagine. I have done this with my other axes and as with those the handle takes a beating as the head gets driven further down on to the handle. The eye of the Precision Axe head did get warped somewhat as it “stretched” over the handle. A traditional forged axe head would likely not see this kind of damage but the sheet metal construction of the Precision model allowed the eye to be distended. On the other hand it also allowed me to simply squeeze it back in shape with a vise and reset it on the handle (which didn’t break) using some bolts. Not quite as pretty as is was out of the box but back to 100% functionality. So my advice, this axe works great for “normal” throwing at 1 or 2 rotations but as with any axe if you start to hit the handle on the target block especially from 50 or 60 feet away, something is going to give!
I thought I would share a few pictures from a visit to 2014 Cincinnati Appalachian Festival. Mr. Denver Hinkston was there demonstrating how to throw the tomahawk and the knife. He had a nice slab of Cottonwood for the target block and a simple but effective target stand. He seemed to have a steady flow of visitors interested it giving ‘hawk throwing a try. As you can see it is fun for people of all ages. I heard it said that everyone loves to throw the tomahawk, it’s just that some don’t know it yet.
Here is a picture of the TomahawkGuys current throwing axes for 2014. We have the new “Razor” Precision Throwing Axe in the middle along with an old “Cull” boys single bit axe on the left and an old “Genuine Norland” double-bit axe on the right. Both of the older axes are great for throwing, I have yet to give the Precision Axe a good workout as it has been very wet this spring and can’t wait to get it out on the range to see what it can do!