--WORK HAWK V3--

Discussion in 'Park Swan - Wild Knife & Tool' started by Park Swan, Jan 9, 2019.

  1. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    First, I would like to say thank you sincerely to people who have purchased one of my previous work hawks, and thank you also to anyone who has expressed interest or inquired about this project. The only way I've been able to do it is with your support and it means everything to me.

    The time is finally here for another batch of work hawks.

    BACKGROUND + CONCEPT
    Designing and making tools of many kinds is my day job, and I really love what I do. The work hawk though, is a passion project of mine that reaches back over seven years. Before I met my wife, when I couldn't scrape together the change to buy real knife steel, I was dreaming of one day making a lightweight woodworking-dedicated hand axe for the backcountry adventurer.

    The work hawk design was borne out of a love for backpacking and bushcraft. I love packing light and traveling far but I also love chopping and carving and building small structures. What I really don't like is the feeling that I wan't to cut something or make something but I don't have enough tool to get the job done, so I set out to create a tool for weekend+ backpacking trips that would give me confidence, versatility, and chopping power at 1lb weight. My tool of choice for years was an e-nep made from a large sawblade that weighed close to a pound, which was a great knife for this purpose but never seemed quite like it was worth its weight.

    This tool has seen a lot of changes. My design started as a large knife actually, but I never could make use of all that blade during testing. The second iteration was a bit of an aberration, a 7" cleaver blade combined with a 9" handle offering three separate grips for the hand. Still, the extra blade was adding too much weight and helping very little, and I realized that I really needed to be able to get my hand behind the blade to make small work comfortable. I simplified my handle and created a hatchet-shaped template which was then tested and re-tested, and with the help of some structural engineer type folks, weight was brought down to my specs while keeping the tool balanced.

    Although I am a huge lover of axes and hatchets, I'm steadfastly unconvinced that the traditional axe model is the ideal tool within a certain weight and size range for a few reasons. A properly designed and built full tang hawk can provide an ideal medium between a large knife or a small hatchet in the same weight class. It can chop like a hatchet into thicker wood, but can also be easily used for snap cutting small brush or vines because of the superior balance. A large knife can also chop well and make quick cuts, but can be unwieldy for smaller work because you have to control 7+ inches of heavy blade out in front of your grip. With this hawk, you can chop down small trees, skin game, make fuzz sticks, prep food, clear a campsite, perform basic woodworking tasks (drawknifing, shaving, cutting notches, carving), etc. While there are other "full-tang tomahawks" out there, it should be very clear that they are not designed or optimized for woodworking. Fat edges and steep grinds are for breaching and punching holes in sheet metal while retaining a 'usable' edge.


    [​IMG]


    DESIGN
    This design takes advantage of the incredible progress we have made with steel composition and heat treatment. Without these technological advances, it wouldn't be possible to do powerful chopping into North American hardwoods while maintaining such a thin edge. I make work hawks with many different styles of grind, but they are all thinner than a traditional hatchet or tomahawk would be. I like a very small, lightly convexed edge that opens into a low-degree flat grind.

    The Work Hawk V3 features a few subtle but important changes to the previous models.

    V3 is .75" shorter than the previous regular-size Work Hawks, while maintaining a very close total weight. Total length will now be 12". This was done by shrinking the hole in the head and moving it further towards the handle. The new hole placement allows it to accommodate an index finger so the hand can be even more behind the cutting edge for close work. Choking up like this is great for extra control over the toe of the bit (top corner of the blade edge for the non-axe-freaks) for precision work, especially something delicate like skinning or fine carving.

    Since shortening the handle changes the arc of swing and how the bit contacts wood in most cases, the handle has been rotated just a hair forward underneath the bit, mostly at the very bottom since this plays out most in the hardest chopping. The bottom end of the handle has also been slightly widened gradually before the flare for a more hand-filling grip.

    The top hole for attaching handle scales has been lowered down to further adjust the weight balance, as well as allow for a handle that doesn't interfere with material in the deepest chopping or the most shallow cutting angles.

    Jimping on the hammer poll has been subdued into a smaller series of ridges based on user feedback. On the original models, I went extreme because I was thinking of glove use and my own personal preference for an aggressive texture. Many folks appreciated the jimping but didn't feel it was fully necessary, while others thought it could be done away with altogether. A compromise here seemed appropriate; the smaller cutouts should present little or no pain when gripping the whole head, but still serve their purpose as an aid in handling the Hawk in odd ways (such as an ulu) and providing traction when striking wood with the hammer poll.

    The material for the first batch of the Work Hawk V3 will be S7 differentially heat treated by Peter's. If you are unfamiliar with S7, there is a plethora of information online published by more qualified sources than myself which praise it's incredible toughness and capability for chopping tools. Previous models have employed 52100 and 80crv2, both of which performed excellently. S7 will outperform those steels in this role to a degree that I feel justifies the additional material cost.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I placed an order earlier today to have these blanks cut by a machine shop from S7. Their estimated turnaround time for the job is eight weeks. It's a long time to wait, but it's worth working with people you know and trust. The lead machinist is a former head machinist at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks and a friend.

    I will be posting updates in this thread about the progress of this batch, so feel free to subscribe to the thread or check back in over the next couple of months. I would also love to hear from people about what would be interested in regarding finishes, handles, paracord wrap or no handle options, etc. Your feedback helps me figure out what kind of handle materials to invest in moving forward.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
  2. snowmangoinmo

    snowmangoinmo Hunter/Tracker Supporter

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    I'm liking what I'm reading! Getting excited to see this come to life here!! I'm thinking para-cord wrap handle myself.. JMO
     
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  3. PauliWalli

    PauliWalli Supporter Hobbyist Supporter

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    Exciting stuff Park. Can’t wait to see and hear more. You’ve really put a ton of thought into this and I’m sure it’ll show well.
     
  4. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Thanks! I gotta admit I am a bit of a weight weenie and partial to the paracord wraps myself...
     
  5. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Thank you my friend!
     
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  6. PaPa K

    PaPa K Supporter Supporter

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    I will be watching your project progress. Interested in this size range of Hawk. Best of luck!
     
  7. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Thanks Papa K! Maybe a passaround will be in order at some point...
     
  8. lowtidejoe

    lowtidejoe Supporter Supporter

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    Definitely interested. Could see this being sweet either handled or barebones. Would probably want to do a super lightweight wood like saguaro rib bound up with yucca cordage. Looking forward for what’s to come.
     
  9. manitoulinbound

    manitoulinbound Apple Fritter Lover Supporter

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    Sweet fancy Moses that looks good! Can't wait to see the progress.
     
  10. GunGoBoom

    GunGoBoom I'm not lost, I've just misplaced myself. Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Exciting! I'll be watching for sure. I'm a sucker for burlap micarta and tumbled finishes.
     
  11. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    I'm not sure I've ever seen a yucca-over-saguaro handle scale before, sounds like an excellent idea!

    Thanks! Just keep an eye on this thread.

    Sounds like a nice combo. I'm a big fan of tumbled finishes as well. It'll be interesting to see how the s7 handles forced oxidation and finishing techniques. Maybe soon I should buy an enormous tumbler?
     
  12. PaPa K

    PaPa K Supporter Supporter

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    If it turns out as good as it sounds, a pass around would not be good for me. I don’t want to be thought poorly of by my BCUSA family should some hoarding occur:(
     
  13. fishiker

    fishiker Scout

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    Looks like an interesting tool, I would prefer plain or cord wrapped on the handle. Any idea on pricing?
     
  14. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    General thread update: We are getting somewhat near the eight week timeframe for having blanks on hand. This type of process is always touch-and-go but I shouldn't have too much time between receipt of blanks and sending out for heat treat. Will of course keep this thread updated at every turn.

    Thanks for the input! Pricing isn't entirely sorted out but based on previous runs will likely be between 270-300 for base paracord-wrapped model with a simple kydex edge cover sheath. Models with finished handles will vary in price based on material and options; same goes for sheaths.
     
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  15. Oldguy59

    Oldguy59 Scout

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    If it’s not too late. I would suggest making the holes fit thing like water and gas valves. If your going to cut holes they may as well serve a perpose. Looks like a handy tool.
     
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  16. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    It's definitely too late, thanks for the suggestion. I do see the role and I've thought about it in the past, but I chose to keep the holes round in order to best address the main design concerns, which involves the most lightness that can be gained in the handle area while still being relatively indestructible.
     
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  17. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    We're close to the timeline from the machine shop, should be hearing from my buddy any day now...
     
  18. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Supporter

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    Sounds extremely reasonable. I may have space for a new working tool like that. Part of me will always love the idea of a versatile chopping machine!

    Looking forward to the progress of this. :cool:
     
  19. Vanitas

    Vanitas Supporter Supporter

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    Any updates?
     
  20. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Still waiting, I just sent them an email to find out what's up.
     
  21. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Supporter

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    Hope things are still progressing. I would love to score one of your Hawks! @Park Swan
     
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  22. Park Swan

    Park Swan Maker Vendor

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    Thanks @M.Hatfield, back and forth with my machine shop, apparently they didn't have my step file, which is crazy cause they gave me the quote based on the step file. Anyway I just hope I can get these to Peters Heat Treat before the crazy Bladeshow heat treating rush that happens every year!
     
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  23. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Supporter

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    Oh I remember the Blade Show rush! I guess I will just keep saving. ;)
     
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