Aluminum Handle Tomahawk - Concept Sketch

Discussion in 'Park Swan - Wild Knife & Tool' started by Park Swan, May 2, 2019.

  1. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    I got inspired by the MSR tent stake hammer and pushed the concept into an axe design. This design is less than 3/4 lb and almost a foot long. The handle is 7075 and the steel is whatever you want it to be, it's a concept :) The steel head extends a couple inches into the aluminum handle and is press fit then riveted.

    What do you guys think? All comments welcome.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Edit: Just checked my math again, weight is coming in at an impressive .667lbs as configured with titanium pins. I'm happy because the design is actually beefier than it needs to be at this point (I'm pretty sure, engineers feel free to make me look stupid). The thickness of the blade portion near the top is .30" but it could be .25" to save more weight.

    Edit again: Just deepened a couple of holes and filleted corners to remove stress risers, weight is now .656 lbs.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2019
  2. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    .... wood instead? ;p Metal be cold to hold in winter... or wrap that bad boy in some leather.
     
  3. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Supporter

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    Metal might also transfer a great deal of shock to the hand. Maybe just the tomahawk head as a tool for purchase?

    Could allow for the user to use a great deal of handle options. :)
     
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  4. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Certainly could wrap it. Wood would definitely break though.

    I always thought the aluminum handle was a terrible idea in every way. Then I held this little MSR hammer and it changed my mind instantly. Sure, it'll be ice cold in the cold. That's the main downside I can see, but there must be others?

    @M.Hatfield I don't see shock being an issue at this weight but I am very curious. Wouldn't surprise me if it got uncomfortable after a long time.
     
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  5. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Supporter

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    Without gloves it is a material which does not respond well to sweat. Or any slick fluids really.

    I would challenge you to make a hawk head with COULD be attached to just about anything. ;)
     
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  6. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Hmm, I think they make those already, they're called tomahawk heads LOL
     
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  7. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Supporter

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    Yeah but how many tomahawk heads have you made? ;) :D

    I guess I would just enjoy seeing your unique take on one. :)
     
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  8. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    I'm moving in a week. In the shop I'm planning on getting a 16 ton forging press when costs allow. Should be able to give forged axes and hawks a proper go of it with the new setup :16:
     
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  9. byksm

    byksm Scout

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    Interesting concept.
    I'd love to give it a test run.

    Couple thoughts...
    A little longer handle would put more speed and leverage in your chops. Could be a trade off you might consider if it lacks power.

    Maybe a rubber dip on the handle to give more grip, cold and shock mitigation.
    Or maybe best the users make their own decision about handle wrap.

    Did you consider a hammer poll?

    Have fun
    -p
     
  10. Zaveral

    Zaveral Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I think it is a pretty good idea. Mountaineering Ice Axes are made like this and are very strong.
     
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  11. J. Pierce

    J. Pierce Perpetually Off Topic, Sorry. Supporter

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    I like the idea.
    Sure the aluminum is not ideal as a handle material, but an axe this size of any material is pretty much a compromise, trading performance for light weight anyway.
    And if weight is a concern, this design goes a long way toward easing your mind.

    I'm not sure what you have available for machines. But what about turning a slight recess into the handle to lay a cord wrapped grip into? That might alleviate some concerns for some people.

    It's nice to see some unique, well thought out designs. Keep it up!
     
  12. Zaveral

    Zaveral Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Hey you could store some survival stuff in the handle and make it a survival hawk!
     
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  13. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    *price*?
     
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  14. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Thanks for the feedback. It would add virtually no weight to make the handle longer, but there's definitely diminishing returns with such a light bit. You could make the while thing bigger, but then it's just a worse version of a normal tomahawk. I don't know what the ideal length would be where the payoff is maximized. A shorter one might even be kind of cool.

    Rubber dip is a very interesting idea!

    Ive been thinking about a hammer poll. Since this design would most likely need to be cast, at least the main part of the head, adding a poll would be a pretty simple job. Unlike my other tomahawks where adding material to increase width is a big ordeal. Which brings me to casting.. I don't have the slightest clue if this design is even feasible costwise. I know that you can have parts cast in S7 or even O1 these days but I don't know what it costs. The extruded 7075 handle would be a bit of cust up front to have the dies made but probably pretty darn cheap after that depending on quantity.
     
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  15. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Totally up in the air. My gut feeling is that the cost of production would only be feasible if I made a whole lot of them. My feeling on price is that the final product fills a different type of role than my work hawks and shouldn't be expensive for what it is. If I had to sell these for 250+ to make a profit I don't think it would be something I'd be want to produce. But that's just a guess since this is only in idea phase and I haven't tested anything or gotten quotes on materials or processes.
     
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  16. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    I was thinking that a pin through the lanyard hole could hold something in there potentially. You could even make a fawns foot style handle swell that friction fit into the bottom and was held in by a pin.
     
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  17. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    16" handle next to original length for kicks.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. CSM1970

    CSM1970 Guide

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    Is there a design reason for the hole in the hawk head where it attaches to the haft? Seems like a lot of impact stress is going to be focused there. How tough is Al at -35C? Cool concept, though.
     
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  19. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Thanks!

    Just overall lightness. I only find this concept interesting if it's super light. I may have a friend look at the stress with real math, but spring tempered tool steel at .30" with radiused edges seems like more than strong enough for such a light tool. Can't be sure without running the numbers.

    I have no idea of the toughness of aluminum at such low temperatures, though it is used for ice axes as @Zaveral mentioned.
     
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  20. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    7" handle, would weigh less than half a pound.

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. byksm

    byksm Scout

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    How long is your cutting edge?
     
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  22. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    2.25"
     
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  23. UAHiker

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    just stumbled across this thanks to friend. i'm very intrigued by the design and loving it so far! was going to mention the plastic dip or possibly even a golf or tennis club wrap? you definitely do have a good design and intuitively i don't see any issue as long as your wall thickness is thick enough. the only possible thing i can see (without doing an FEA or similar on it) i could see the rivet holes being elongated over a long period of time...... but otherwise i don't see an issue with using aluminum especially if your going with 7075 or similar, probably could even get away with 6061-T6.

    also honestly don't see a problem with aluminum being a problem considering planes fly at 35000ft and it's colder than -50C. granted they are seeing the exact same stresses but then again when turbulence hits.....

    the mold is going to be a huge upfront cost and depending on run size will determine cost...

    only other thought i had is possibly going with Ti for the handle... but that would add weight and carbon fiber is just too brittle for this application although it's stupid light :)

    like i said i'm loving the idea! just my thoughts being in the manufacturing industry as a mechanical engineer.... i could be wrong :)
     
  24. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Thanks for all the feedback @UAHiker and thanks to whoever directed him into this thread :)

    I'm wondering about the mechanics of that fit between the aluminum and steel. I have the same concern about the rivet holes, and also the steel and aluminum expanding and contracting differently with temp changes.. Maybe some space between them instead of a friction fit and get a solid gflex joint all the way around? Or maybe just the classic pressing while the aluminum's hot and the steel is frozen. Just spitballing.

    EDIT: I've looked at some basic costs for the aluminum extrusion, doesn't seem to be too bad if the batch is large. Its the idea of casting or milling that head in tool steel that could get very pricey it seems.
     
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  25. lodge camper

    lodge camper Supporter Supporter

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    i reread this post and realized my comment was kind of way out there for what you were asking. so please allow my edit.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
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  26. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Hey thanks for the feedback, don't worry I can take it :) It's not mean, it's what I'm asking for.

    I see what you mean about aesthetic. I run into the same sort of thing with my other tomahawks, although this design is even more modern than that, and the inclusion of aluminum as the handle conjures cheapness for me too, which is one reason I never considered it.

    I'm under no illusion that most people would want something like this, but I might want something like this, so I'm just following that instinct since it usually doesn't stray too far.
     
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  27. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    After much deliberation and thought, I'm very concerned about the aluminum in this role. It really seems like the aluminum will give enough quickly to allow the head to wobble. I'm not sure why ice axes aren't subject to this issue, still wondering.
     
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  28. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    [​IMG]


    *cough* Cough* *COUGH*wood*COUGH*
     
  29. Zaveral

    Zaveral Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I don't think the aluminum will give and cause elongation of the holes. If there isn't any room for movement when its first built it should stay firm. You could also ensure there is no movement by using a little glue. This glue made by loctite is used to glue 747s together.
    Adhesive, Epoxy, Hysol E-120HP, 50mL Hysol E-120HP(TM) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZXY3GZR/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_Ugo0CbRS2TX8N
    I use it to seal knife guards to hidden tang knives.

    Here is a pic of my old ice axe
    IMG_20190506_205938521.jpg IMG_20190506_205955148.jpg

    It's been over a decade since I last used it, but you can see it is of simple construction with nylon/plastic spacer to take up excess space between the head and the aluminum body.

    I think Aluminum is tougher than you give it credit. Consider that AR-15 / AR 10 upper and lower receivers are made of 7075 and only have 2 pin holes that hold them together. They don't shoot loose.

    Airplanes are made of sheet aluminum held together with rivets. Rivets are important because they swell and take up any slop in the holes.

    I'm not an engineer like UAHiker nor have I stayed at a holiday inn recently but I think the aluminum handle has merit.
     
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  30. UAHiker

    UAHiker Supporter Supporter

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    i agree with @Zaveral , i don't think your giving aluminum enough credit. i had a similar concern about the difference in materials but like i said with out doing a full out study on it, my "gut" feeling is you shouldn't have an issue even with the differences of expansion/contraction of steel and aluminum as long as the tolerance stack up is good, wall thickness of the aluminum and the joining method is good as well. the joining method, tolerance stack up, and engagement between the handle and head is going to play a good roll in the hole elongation (if any) but my gut is telling me you shouldn't have a problem. Just so you know too there are different types of press fits as well which could be used as well. you could also consider possibly using a spacer of a different material say Delrin, PP, or other plastic/resin that could act as a bushing or buffer in between the head and handle as well.

    i haven't seen or held any ice axes in person and with out actually having and taking one apart i can only only speculate that zaveral has it pretty close to having it right as why ice axes don't have any issues.

    like i said i'm no design engineer just my old schooling and years in the manufacturing environment :)
     
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  31. byksm

    byksm Scout

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    I think you need to prototype this with some off the shelf extruded stock.
    That way you can play with handle leangth, mounting and see first hand in use how it holds up.

    A machine shop can mill a prototype head. It wouldn't be cheap but probably less than the start up for casting.

    If you can afford multiple prototypes, I'd send them out to a couple users for feedback.

    I'm going to pm you when I get a little time later.
     
  32. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

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    It looks very intriguing but honestly, I much prefer the paracord wrapped and skeletonized handle seen in your avatar. But that's just my opinion. Don't try to improve on perfection. PM me with instructions on ordering; I'd like one please.

    Steve
     
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  33. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    A lot of stuff about ice axes keeps coming up in my related searches.

    Construction of an oldschool ice axe head:
    [​IMG]

    Drop forging search yielded this video which has a few snippets of ice axe forging. Drop forging wouldn't work on its own with the current design but it's something to think about!
     
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  34. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    I do like that style... my concern is this - the idea stemmed from playing around with an aluminum handled hammer. If I change the design to use a wooden handle, won't I just be making a worse, more expensive wood handled tomahawk? I'm not sure. It would be super cool though IMO. The handle in that type of design could also be made from a solid block of terotuf or micarta.
     
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  35. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    You may very well be right. I've never used an ice axe, are the shock forces comparable to a hatchet on wood? I could be wrong, but it seems like a tomahawk would be subject to a much higher volume of shock forces than typical of an ice axe. When I go out to play with a work hawk in the yard it might see a thousand or more strikes in less than an hour.

    I'm thinking of hardcore epoxy as well. Even more than the rivet area, my concern is at the bottom of the steel inserted shaft where the outer edge is contacting the inner aluminum wall. A little epoxy would likely solve any issue though..that would be a heck of a glue joint and the forces just aren't that high for such a small tool.
     
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  36. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    All stuff worth thinking about! Tolerances would need to be excellent, but of course an epoxy joint would be much easier to work with for that reason, and maybe cheaper/more feasible depending on the processes used.

    I was thinking of old wood joinery where the pin holes are offset by an 1/8" or less on a big joint, so that when the pin is driven in it pulls the joint together super tight. I wonder if something like that would apply here, of course it would be a very tiny offset in this case.
     
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