The Tomahawk is a survival tool that has been around for centuries, but has become more and more popular in recent years. Tomahawks are available in both classic models and more modern variations. Though many may not realize this, the tomahawk is a tool that has been taking up the name multi-tool long before Leatherman came around.
Also known as a “hawk,” the tomahawk originates from the Algonquin tribe word tamahaac, which means “tool for cutting.” Before Europeans brought the gift of metal heads for these tools, Native Americans used an ovular triangle-shaped rock, which was tied to a wooden handle using a number of cordages such as rawhide strips or sinew.
Older designs allowed the head of a tomahawk to be removed and used as a scraper or cutting blade, although the modern renderings of the hawk do not have this ability. On older designs the head had an oval-shaped opening that tapered toward the bottom of the head, with a wider opening at the top than the bottom.
The oval shape stops the handle from rotating during use, and the tapered opening allows the head to wedge against the wider end of the handle. This feature also allows the user to simply tap the top of the tomahawk on a hard surface to tighten the head on the handle.
Uses For a Tomahawk
Tomahawks are extremely useful tools thanks to their design: a cutting edge on one side and a hammer or spike on the other. The lightweight tomahawk can easily chop down small trees to create both shelter and fire. The hammer side can be used to hammer poles into the ground.
The tomahawk has proven its worth for hunting as well, making quick work of any limbs or joints — and thanks to the design of the metal head, it can be removed to help skin the animal, process that skin and butcher the meat.
What Makes a Tomahawk Stand Out?
While the head may still be made of metal, the tomahawk is typically lighter than a full-sized axe. An axe’s head is held on by wedges driven into the top of the handle, whereas a tomahawks head is held on by friction, which also allows it to be removed. The axe also has a longer handle in most cases, but the tomahawk can still do the job of the axe and the hawk’s closest relative, the hatchet.
The tomahawk has proven itself in battle and in pioneering through centuries. The tool seems to only be gaining popularity and is a great choice for any outdoorsman or prepper. The tomahawk may very well be the world’s first effective multi-tool.
A tomahawk can also be improvised relatively easily. Check out these survival tools that you can easily improvise as well.
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