This past Christmas I was surprised by a very appropriate gift that my son-in-law gave to me. He asked his brother if he would be able to make a custom “mini-tomahawk” that he could give to me as a present. His brother is very talented when it comes to building things and thought that would be a possibility. You see he already had been making his own throwing knives, so this wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. What he came up with is very cool and I was pretty excited about it. I just needed to figure out what to do with it. It doesn’t quite have the mass to stick in wood, well it might stick in a very soft wood such as cottonwood, but I thought it would be perfect for throwing indoors. The best thing that I have come up with so far as a target is a 2 inch thick piece of pink foam insulation panels. These do work great but are not very durable and the mini-tomahawk can do major damage to the target after just a couple hours of use. For the time being though it is my target of choice and throwing the mini-tomahawk is great fun, especially with friends! I may be able to convince our builder to make more of these to offer for sale if there is enough interest. Let me know if any of you would have an interest in getting your own mini-tomahawk and I will pass along the information!
Even though most of the USA got a nice blast of wintery weather this past week, the ‘hawks have been continuing to fly. The above picture was sent to me by my friend Steve, one of the original TomahawkGuys. He tells me that one of his children decorated his target block while they were out sled riding. He noticed however that the face was missing a nose and quickly decided to play “pin the tomahawk on the smiley face.” I think it completes the look rather nicely.
It was a good weekend throwing for the TomahawkGuys, we hope you are out there having as much fun as we are with the ‘hawks! We are continuing to field test the new Beaver Bill Mighty Mouse Hawk. NightHawk (Patrick) was using the only MMHawk that we have and came away feeling pretty good about it by the time we were finished. He wanted to test it out for distance throwing and worked his way back through all the rotations up to his current 7 rotation personal best. He then successfully stuck a nice 7 rotation with the Mighty Mouse Hawk, the only time he has ever stuck a 7 using something other than his favorite BB Thin Line hawk. I was also throwing for distance and we worked our way back through the rotations simultaneously since we have 2 target blocks set up together. NightHawk was using the “production” Mighty Mouse Hawk so I used my 2 Mighty Mouse prototypes that I have. I wasn’t really planning on doing a lot of distance throwing but I was feeling pretty good about my throws and sticking all the rotations in relatively few attempts even sticking the 6 on my first attempt. Got through the 7 and decided to give the 8 a few tries. I missed the first four attempts and was ready to give it up but decided to give it a couple more throws. I was throwing 2 attempts at a time since I have the 2 prototypes and I threw and missed the fifth attempt but managed to get a nice stick on the 6th! I was pretty happy about that since NightHawk was there to witness the throw and it ended up being a technically better stick than my previous 8 rotation throw just not quite as close to the center this time. We measured the distance and it came in about 108″ 3″ almost the same as my other 8 rotation.
The TomahawkGuys are happy to announce a brand new throwing hawk model that we think you will really like. This new tomahawk is a collaborative project between us, the TomahawkGuys and Beaver Bill Forging Works. I briefly hinted about this ‘hawk in an earlier post. They are now ready to go.
For a limited time they are only available right here on the TomahawkGuys site by following the special link. (Now on Beaver Bill’s web site also)
The Mighty Mouse Hawk is based on Beaver Bill’s Standard model Throwing Hawk whereas the regular Mouse Hawk is based on his Thin Line model Throwing Hawk. This means that The Mighty Mouse Hawk blade could be up to twice as thick as the regular Mouse Hawk. The handle length is 16″. The cutting edge is about 3.25″ long. The blade edge to handle is about 4.25″ and the weight is roughly 17 ounces with the handle. The Mighty Mouse Hawk is slightly larger than the regular Beaver Bill Mouse Hawk. It is very well balanced and feels great in the hand.
The Mighty Mouse Hawk started out as a “happy accident” so to speak. We were at Beaver Bill’s forge looking over some Standard Model ‘hawks to purchase as I had yet to own one of his “Standards”, I thought it was about time that I did. I saw one that was noticeably different from the other ‘hawks. It was somewhat smaller and had a look about it that intrigued me. When I questioned Bill about it he said that it was the last one of a particular batch he was working on. Basically the sheet of steel that he had left was not big enough to cut out a full size blank so he used what was left and the resulting tomahawk was a bit smaller. I decided that I would get this particular tomahawk. I took it that same day to the range to give it a try and like all of Beaver Bill’s ‘hawks it performed just fine. Other than it’s unique size and shape it didn’t really stand out from his other ‘hawks. It was the following day when I decided to cut the handle shorter. After all it was similar in size to my other Mouse Hawks but it had a full 19″ handle. I cut it off to 16″ which is an inch longer than the regular Mouse Hawk’s 15″ handle. Suddenly the ‘hawk just felt “right.” I took it out in the backyard to give it a try and immediately I could tell this was a special tomahawk. The weight and the balance of this hawk felt really comfortable in my hand. Throwing it was much better now with the shorter handle. It stuck really well and I seemed to be able to throw with a high degree of accuracy. I can throw up to 3 rotations in the backyard range at my home and this tomahawk was performing nicely at the 1, 2, and 3 rotation distances. I was anxious for the weekend to come when I would be able to go to the main TomahawkGuys range in South Eastern Indiana about 25 miles from my home in Cincinnati. There I would be able to try out some distance throws. I just had a feeling that with this tomahawk I would be able to set a new personal best long range throw. My old record was 7 rotations from 98.5 feet thrown last year. Although, as a joke, I made a New Year Resolution that I wanted to break 100′ in the tomahawk throw this year, I wasn’t too confident that I would be able to do it due to some nagging shoulder issues. I had been working on altering my throwing style to a bit more sidearmed release to take some pressure off my shoulder and that seemed to be helping although it wasn’t as accurate as my straight overhead throw. This new release combined with the Mighty Mouse’s slightly lighter weight and balanced feel gave me confidence to try throwing the longer distances again. When Saturday came, I had an opportunity to talk with Beaver Bill again and I mentioned to him that I shortened the handle and that I thought this tomahawk would be the one that would allow me to set a new mark in the distance throw. Once at the range I worked my way through the one, two and three rotation distances as anytime we try to do distance throws we always work our way up to keep track of where our step is and the number of rotations. Then on to the four and five and six. Four and five can become somewhat consistent but starting at the six rotation distance things usually become somewhat “dicey” as we are just heaving the tomahawk and hoping that it will come in contact with the target block to verify our step. Some days we can’t stick even one at the six rotation distance, others we might stick several. This day however I was able to stick the six on my first attempt, I was in the groove. The seven rotation is pretty much the cutoff. We might go weeks or months between sticking a seven. My previous distance record was a seven rotation. Depending on the length of the handle and weight of the head, the step from where the release is could vary significantly. Even though I was on a roll recently with having managed to stick seven rotations several times this summer, none was from a farther step than my first time sticking a seven at 98′ 6″. I knew it was going to have to be an eight rotation throw to take me back over the 100’ line. I tried a few times to get the seven rotation but couldn’t stick it. I was starting to get tired so I decided to skip back and try a few eight rotations before I quit. The first two attempts miss the target but are fairly close so I decide to continue on. On the very next throw, as it is flying through the air, I am thinking that this could be the one. Then “Thunk” it sticks! I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t a perfect stick, a little over rotated in fact, but it was in the center of the target. I thought to myself “I knew this was a great tomahawk!” Well I couldn’t wait to tell Beaver Bill and thank him for that “accidental” tomahawk. Due to this achievement and the fact that I really liked the feel of throwing this hawk, I urged him to consider making more of these since there might be other people who would like it too. He agreed and we worked together on refining the design. I suggested a couple of minor performance improvements and he created a nice looking profile with an upward curving arc in the bottom edge as it comes away from the handle to reflect somewhat the Premium Model. The TomahawkGuys really like The Mighty Mouse Hawk and think you will too.
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.
This doesn’t look like much. In fact, it is not a very “pretty” stick, a lot of over rotation and the blade is on quite an angle. However, it is stuck in there! This is the result of my new personal best tomahawk throw for distance. This traveled 108 feet 6 inches while rotating 8 times before sticking in the target block. This was actually one of my New Years Resolutions, that being to break 100 feet in the tomahawk throw. I had my doubts for a while as I have been dealing with some impingement syndrome in my shoulder making it difficult to throw with my usual straight overhead style. I had to shift to a slightly more side armed throw to take some pressure off my arm. Could be why that blade is at such an angle! Unfortunately, there is no video of this throw, but believe it or not, that is my story and I’m “sticking” to it! The ‘hawk I am using here is a “prototype”, special design collaboration between The TomahawkGuys and …. I can’t say much about it now but hope to be able to bring you more info on this incredible tomahawk within a month or so…