Suitable for re-enactors from any period stretching from the French and Indian War clear up to the final settling of the West in the late 1800’s. The authentic, good looking Frontier Hawk is one tough customer you’re sure to appreciate.
Comes standard with 19 inch (43 centimeters), and a drop forged, medium carbon 5150 steel head. The head is differentially heat treated. This means that the cutting edge is fully hardened, while the balance of the head is left relatively soft to absorb the shock of striking blows. Photos are available on Cold Steel’s Website.
Cold Steel’s sales pitch includes such colorful language as, “Conjuring up images of the American frontier from the French and Indian Wars to the setting of the West”, “modeled after a classic”, and “authentic and effective”. Consulting several histories on the subject reveals that this is all marketing hype. The history of the tomahawk is the history of an iron tool introduced to stone age people. The term ‘tomahawk’ is taken from the Iroquois word that described a similar native stone tool at the time iron trade axes were introduced by settlers. The shape of the head, while efficient, does not resemble any sample of work from the period.
The Frontier Hawk is produced by:
Phone: (800)255-4716 or (805)650-8481
Year of Manufacture: 1998?
Materials: Drop Forged medium carbon 5150 Steel,
Straight Grain Hickory Handle
Warranty: Head guaranteed for life. No warranty on handle.
Handle Length: 19 Inches (43 CM)
Head Length: 5.5 Inches (14 CM)
Primary Edge: 3.25 Inches (8 CM)
Listed weight: 20.4 Ounces (.57 KG)
Weight as delivered: 20.7 Ounces
Item #: #90F Frontier Hawk
Listed Retail Price: $29.99
Country of Manufacture: Taiwan
Langetes (#L90BA Retail: $9.99)
19″ (43 CM) (#H90RH Retail: $6.49
24″ (61 CM) (#H90T 24″ Handle: $8.49)
30″ (76 CM) (#H90BA 30″ Handle: $12.99)
Impressions & Use:
I originally purchased the Frontier Hawk from Cold Steel after being impressed with other Cold Steel products. The Frontier Hawk was eight ounces (28 grams) lighter than the tomahawk I was using at the time. At first glance, the Frontier Hawk is a small camp hatchet. In practice, it is a very useful tool that is more versatile than a ‘regular’ camp hatchet. The head is easily removed from the handle and works surprisingly well as a skinning and fleshing tool. The ease of head removal also provides the option to leave the handle at home, and to fashion a handle from a stick found on the trail whenever the tool is needed. (I never exercise this option, but it is possible.)
I use the hickory handle, but I have shortened it. The Frontier Hawk is designed and marketed as a weapon, and the 19 inch handle would work well for this purpose, but is too long for general trail work. I shortened my handle to 15 inches (38 centimeters), which is ideal for me. Do not be afraid to experiment with what length is right for you, and to cut the handle once you have discovered this length. If you ruin the handle by cutting it too short, or break the handle, spares are available as indicated above.
In practical use, I find the Frontier Hawk to be superior to other tomahawks I have used. The 5150 steel retains a sharp edge very well, and edge sharpens well with a diamond hone. It is important to keep a sharp edge, because if the edge is allowed to become excessively dull work with files or a grind stone will be necessary, and the 5150 steel is very hard.
The Frontier Hawk’s head is coated with an unspecified kind of black paint. This paint is not durable, and after driving a few stakes with the back of the head, the paint started to flake off. There is little of the paint left after several years of use. This is purely a cosmetic issue, however, and the performance of the tool is not reduced. I have not experienced excessive rusting, although if the tool is not used for a few weeks, a little red dust does appear. Cleaning and oiling the exposed steel eliminates this problem.
The Frontier Hawk comes without sheath or head cover of any kind, which is a little disappointing. I fashioned one simply out of leather. I have carried it in my pack, lashed to the outside, and in ice ax straps when I have worn a pack so equipped. The traditional methods of tucking a tomahawk into your belt, or making a pouch for the specific purpose of carrying it do not work well for me on the trail.
My primary use of the Frontier Hawk is to prepare wood for use in my ZIP stove. (See other reviews on this list.) The Frontier Hawk serves this purpose well, splitting small logs and scraping dry chips with ease. I have used it for hundreds of different tasks, from driving tent stakes to digging cat holes, and from dressing game to use as an improvised ice axe. It has always served me well.
THINGS I LIKE:
Light Weight Retains sharp edge well
THINGS I DON’T LIKE:
No sheath or edge cover provided Paint durability
Thank you for your time.