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Feeling is Believing: Estwing Black Eagle Tomahawk Review
by David W.
Let me give you the short version. If you are considering getting any variety of the Estwing Tomahawk, then do it! If you want to know why read on.
This review is in two parts. First, let’s cover the tomahawk as a woodsman’s tool. It is capable. Through my very limited testing I learned that the thing can get the job done. By “very limited”, I mean chopping up some branches from a tree that fell over during one of the many storms that barraged the East Coast this winter.
Here is why: let’s talk construction. For those of you who do not know, Estwing axes are made out of a solid piece of steel. This makes them very rugged, well balanced, and a little heavier than the norm. The weight on the middle and back end of the tool gives it a feel that one does not normally get with an ax.
Adding to the balance, is an ax head that is lighter out of the factory than most. It was made even lighter for me by an aggressive, and well-done sharpening job performed by Willey Knives in Greenwood, DE.
A takeaway from this tomahawk being a woodsman’s tool is the lack of a pall. A “pall” is the flat back end that many axes/hatchets have. This tomahawk (like most) does not have one; it has a spike.
The spike could come in handy outdoors breaking up shale, ice, etc. but I would rather have a pall. Having a pall is like taking a hammer and an ax with you every time you go in the woods. Plus, I could see the spike being a puncture hazard (like in a rubber raft) if not in a sheath.
But you (I) did not get this ax to take in the woods, you got it to live out you Last of the Mohicans MallNinjaFantasy!
This tomahawk is a piece of art as well as being a zombie’s worst nightmare (if they had them). The ergos on the handle are indirectly enhanced by the all steel construction. In order to keep strength up and weight down, the handle is a flat piece like the center of an Ibeam. Put some rubber on the end (excuse me: Nylon Vinyl Shock Reduction Grip trademark “R”) and you get an oval shape that fits very nicely in the hand.
This is where the spike comes in handy. Its not razor sharp but I am thinking it could go through a car door with no problem. Also, the spike adds to the overall area of the ax head. This is generally a good thing when it comes to fighting axes. Axes are great at hooking on things and people. It’s one of the reasons that navies kept boarding axes on ships well into the 19th century.
What sets this tomahawk apart from the rest is the ability snatchback, or reverse coarse. Most hatchets/tomahawks require commitment. If you swing you are committed and the time it takes to rechamber or redirect course is less than stellar.
Not so here. You can twirl and redirect with ease. Reangling the ax for a block or strike is no problem. I challenge anyone to find an ax that feels this sword like. And yes you must feel one to truly know what I am excited about. I am rarely this excited about something that does not have moving parts but again this is destructive.
Aside from being a great weapon for the apocalypse, another niche I could see this filling is that of a dynamic entry tool. I could see this coming in handy for a SWAT team member or a firefighter. Breaking glass and breaking down doors this could do but the doors might take longer as it is after all a tomahawk.
Last, but not least is the sheath. It’s real nice and it covers the spike. It is well riveted and appears to be made of nylon/canvas. However, the buttons are insanely tight. I found this out right away and I knew they would be a problem. Heck, I even added a dab of oil to them so they might unbutton with greater ease.
To no avail the (literal) unthinkable happened about two weeks after bringing my piece of art home. One of the buttons stuck so hard that I managed to pull the part that connects to the sheath in half. I have been guilty of user error many times in my life but buttons should be a nonissue. I kept the face of the button on for cosmetic purposes and stitched the sheath just behind the button so the thing could still function.
I seriously considered getting a SOG or United Cutlery Tomahawk and I am glad I did not. While I am sure those are fine tools, I am glad I went all steel. I picked up this beauty for about 40.00 at my local Home Depot. Go there and behold it’s elegant simplicity and then pick one up. You will believe.