An all around Utility Hawk - A Review


December 6, 2007, 08:15 PM
Alright chopping tool fans!

I'd like to post a review of a utility hawk i had made by Larry Nowiki from over on I had posted a request for a maker to provide a utility grade spike hawk, something made from quality materials and finished to a more utilitarian finish to cut down on costs. Well, I got exactly what I asked for from Larry. Personally for a user tool such as a tomahawk I'm a big fan of a more rustic look anyhow, something I'm not afraid to use and mess up the finish! I use my tools, and I generally use them hard. ;)

So, on to the review! When i originally posted my request for the hawk I provided a photochopped picture of what I was lookin' for. Larry responded, and within days sent me this:

which matched what i wanted to the T. Honestly, I was surprised. Pleasantly no doubt! Larry kept me apprised of the progress as he completed the hawk, ground it down, heat treated, and hafted it. Initially we had talked about a different type of haft, something new that Larry had wanted to try but the situation changed back to a plain hickory. The plain unfinished hickory was ideal for me anyhow and fit the utility finish I had been looking for. It arrived as I requested unstained and sanded to a useable finish. (I wanted it NOW) :D I finished it as soon as I got it out of the box using walnut stain and linseed oil, sanding to a smooth 600 grit finish between coats. I kinda dig the burned lines I've seen on others so I tried my hand at those - I dunno, I like it!

According to Larry the hawk is forged from a 5/8'' piece of 1070 hex stock, edge quenched in quick quench and drawn twice at 390 for 1 hour each. The convex edge came quite sharp, enough to cut paper but not to shave hair, which is perfect to me. I have no need for a chopping tool with a superfine edge, durability is the key.

When I finally got a chance to get out into the woods and test her out I was a bit surprised that the hawk chopped as well as it did. It is light but the length of the haft REALLY offsets the weight so it honestly could keep up with my gerber 14'' hatchet with no problem at all, at around 1/2 the weight! Took 2 chops to fell this 2'' diameter sapling. Now, keep in mind, I commissioned this as a sort of "multi-tool tomahawk", something to build simple shelters with, split kindling, make fir sticks, dig if necessary - a survival tool so to speak. Its light and I can always keep it with me when I'm in the woods. I don't expect this hawk to fell trees for timber even though I did chop through a 8'' diameter log, took about 3 minutes so it is certainly possible if needed!

It does excel at making stakes for a tarp shelter,,

splitting kindling,

and digging - even in the rocky soil of Virginia!

all of which I see as incredibly useful in a survival situation. Some may as why the spike? well, for me the above pictures show the utility of the spike, aside from its possible use in some sort of offensive situation. Sure a hammer poll works well for driving something into the ground, pounding open nuts, etc...

but so does a rock. ;)

Now, while i see no possible time in which I would want to throw this hawk - aside from its amusement value - i did give it a try just to see.

first, second, and third tries all stuck with a solid thud despite its light weight.

All in all, this is a fantastic utility tool that was made exactly to my specs, functions perfectly and I can only imagine I will spend years carrying it around the woods. Its cutting ability is great and I don't even notice it hanging from my belt or strapped to my pack.

For any more info, I do suggest contacting Larry at He's a great guy to do business with and produces a wonderful product.

thanks all!

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Pax Jordana
December 6, 2007, 10:26 PM
that really is a beautiful tool, despite your best efforts :p

I like it, a lot. There's definitely something to be said for uniformity, but obviously much more credit is due to individualized tools. It's exactly what you wanted, nothing more.

The spike especially is cool, I haven't seen that executed well on any factory pieces - at least, for digging. Everybody's production spikes seem to be skull crackers through 'n through.

I carry a cold steel vietnam tomahawk for about the same reasons, but yours would be a much better digger. Plus the handle on mine's too short :o it's why I carry a bigger gun y'know, gotta make up for it :D

December 6, 2007, 11:22 PM
What type of price goes on that?

December 7, 2007, 08:33 AM
$90 for the "forge finish" and unfinished haft (like the one i have)
$100 for a satin finish
$140 for a much larger model with forge finish
$150 for satin large model

sheath and filework are extra as is shipping.

let me tell you, the $90 for this one in my opinion is a steal, it performs every function i wanted perfectly and I really don't see myself being in the woods without it ever again.

December 7, 2007, 02:46 PM
90 actually doesn't sound bad. Estwings can easily run half that, don't have nearly the utility or personality.

December 7, 2007, 07:17 PM
that is a nice hawk, man!

Definitely a good deal for a hand forged hawk!

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