Throwing more "tech" at the mid-tech tomahawks

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Storm Crow
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Posts: 1976
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:09 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead re-make
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Throwing more "tech" at the mid-tech tomahawks

Post by Storm Crow » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:32 pm

I've been making full-tang tactical tomahawks since 2013, with the prototype process beginning with nylon-handled punched-eye 'hawks extending several years before that. The 'hawks were my first foray into making mid-techs, which I define as using modern manufacturing processes to build small batches of blades. Within my usage of the term, this can range everywhere from full-on CNC machined everything to hand-ground blades that start as waterjet-cut blanks. The goal is greater levels of production than hand-making every aspect of a knife, allowing higher quality than an average factory-made knife but a lower price than a full-on custom.

For the last little bit I've been pooling resources with JB Knife and Tool to help both companies move toward getting more work out into the hands of customers. Brian and John of JB Knife and Tool are good guys with a great deal of practical experience on the knife making and using sides of things.

For Blade Show this year, we threw some tech at the tomahawks and the result was me building the largest batch of tomahawks I've done so far. The blanks are waterjet cut and hand ground with an angled workrest, as it has been since I started. The grinder has been upgraded to an AmeriBrade and the work rest is the far more adjustable D-D Work Rest, but the basic process is the same.

Imageblanks by James Helm, on Flickr

Imageworkrest by James Helm, on Flickr

When it came time to make handles and sheaths, we made use of a tabletop CNC router. The handle slabs were shaped in three stages, with three different tool changes. This meant someone tending the machine and manually changing out the bit and collet, then re-zeroing the router before starting the next stage. It was still quicker and more consistent than the old way, using jigs with table routers. We're looking at a larger CNC router with an automatic tool changer for a future upgrade.

Imagehandles01 by James Helm, on Flickr

You can see some of the stainless steel tube rivets cut out in the little container at the top of this picture.

Imagehandles02 by James Helm, on Flickr

Sheaths were molded on forming molds I made a while back using steel layers waterjet cut and assembled to create a three dimensional form, pressed with my big hydraulic forging press. We are working on a design to be machined from one chunk of polymer to be used for vacuum forming the sheath halves. We rigged a temporary fixture for drilling holes and trimming the outside of the sheath halves using the tabletop CNC router. A more permanent holding fixture for trimming the molded sheaths is next up after the vacuum mold.

Even with the older molds and temporary fixture, the results on trimming sheaths was quicker and more consistent than the old method.

Imagehawks04 by James Helm, on Flickr

Imagehawks05 by James Helm, on Flickr

In addition to inventory for my own tables at the Blade Show, I made deliveries to a couple of dealers at the show. Here I am loaded down with two different deliveries.

Imagedelivery01 by James Helm, on Flickr

Imagedelivery02 by James Helm, on Flickr

A video showing some of the process of laser engraving the touchmark, shaping handle slabs, and trimming sheaths.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHQjmu7OGLE&t=3s

The 'hawks are made from 1/4" 80CrV2 steel, coated with Cerakote, handles are TeroTuf, sheaths are Boltaron.

Imagehawks03 by James Helm, on Flickr

Imagehawk03 by James Helm, on Flickr

The techniques used on the tomahawks are in the process of being implemented on my line of mid-tech knives as well. The first batch of knives that will be getting CNC routed handles is being Cerakoted at the moment.
Proud to be a Neo-Tribal Metalsmith scavenging the wreckage of civilization.

Forged blades: http://www.helmforge.com

Stock removal blades: http://www.helmgrind.com

The Wasteland Crow Project: http://wastelandcrow.blogspot.com

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Storm Crow
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Posts: 1976
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:09 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead re-make
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Throwing more "tech" at the mid-tech tomahawks

Post by Storm Crow » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:05 pm

One of my 12" Woodsman 'hawks. 1/4" 80CrV2 steel, Cerakote, and new tan TeroTuf handle slabs.

Imagehawk04 by James Helm, on Flickr

Imagehawk05 by James Helm, on Flickr

And customer photos clearing around some trail cameras. He tells me he'll be clearing a shooting lane through oak and cedar with it soon.

Imagehawk02 by James Helm, on Flickr

Imagehawk01 by James Helm, on Flickr

Imagehawk03 by James Helm, on Flickr
Proud to be a Neo-Tribal Metalsmith scavenging the wreckage of civilization.

Forged blades: http://www.helmforge.com

Stock removal blades: http://www.helmgrind.com

The Wasteland Crow Project: http://wastelandcrow.blogspot.com

Image

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moab
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Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:07 pm

Re: Throwing more "tech" at the mid-tech tomahawks

Post by moab » Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:03 pm

How much are these stormcrow?
"Ideas are more dangerous than guns. We don't let our people have guns. Why would we let them have ideas?" Josef Stalin

Storm Crow
* * * * *
Posts: 1976
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:09 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead re-make
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Throwing more "tech" at the mid-tech tomahawks

Post by Storm Crow » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:56 am

Moab - I'll send you a PM.

We did a mostly-successful test with vacuum-forming sheaths this weekend. Hopefully will be able to do some tweaks and further testing later in the week.
Proud to be a Neo-Tribal Metalsmith scavenging the wreckage of civilization.

Forged blades: http://www.helmforge.com

Stock removal blades: http://www.helmgrind.com

The Wasteland Crow Project: http://wastelandcrow.blogspot.com

Image

Storm Crow
* * * * *
Posts: 1976
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:09 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead re-make
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Throwing more "tech" at the mid-tech tomahawks

Post by Storm Crow » Thu Oct 17, 2019 5:34 pm

Well, the vacuum forming was not giving the level of retention needed to hold a tomahawk securely in a bottom-eject sheath, so we cut a new mold to be used under my hydraulic forging press.

The material is 3/4" HDPE.

Imagesheath01 by James Helm, on Flickr

The design allows for molding both sides at once, an improvement on the one half at a time design of my old molds. I'm using .08" Boltaron for the sheaths.

Imagesheath02 by James Helm, on Flickr

Trimming is done on a holding fixture in the CNC router, which is also what was used to make the mold.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHT3wMDY ... e5w03c010c

The completed and assembled sheath.

Imagesheath04 by James Helm, on Flickr

By comparison, one of my old molds and trim jig. They're pieced together from waterjet cut pieces. The mold is one of a pair, since it only molds one half of the sheath. The trim jig holds both halves of the sheath at once, but mounting them was always aggravating. Holes were hand -drilled, slots were cut with a Dremel in a router table attachment, excess material trimmed with a bandsaw, and the profile trimmed on a router with a bearing bit. The CNC router does all of that more quickly, safely, and consistently.

Imagemold by James Helm, on Flickr
Proud to be a Neo-Tribal Metalsmith scavenging the wreckage of civilization.

Forged blades: http://www.helmforge.com

Stock removal blades: http://www.helmgrind.com

The Wasteland Crow Project: http://wastelandcrow.blogspot.com

Image

Storm Crow
* * * * *
Posts: 1976
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:09 am
Favorite Zombie Movies: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead re-make
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Throwing more "tech" at the mid-tech tomahawks

Post by Storm Crow » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:03 pm

The first sheath off of the new tooling ready to ship out to a very patient customer. 15" Wrecker, sharpened inner beard, Boltaron sheath, quick-detach shoulder sling.

Imagebob01 by James Helm, on Flickr

Imagebob02 by James Helm, on Flickr

Imagebob03 by James Helm, on Flickr
Proud to be a Neo-Tribal Metalsmith scavenging the wreckage of civilization.

Forged blades: http://www.helmforge.com

Stock removal blades: http://www.helmgrind.com

The Wasteland Crow Project: http://wastelandcrow.blogspot.com

Image

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