Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Hatchet and Tomahawk

Traditional Hatchet and SOG Tomahawk
I had posted a review of the Gerber "Bear Grylls" Parang a few days ago, where I tested it against some other chopping tools. I decided to add a couple other tools to the mix: a standard, traditional hatchet; and SOG's tactical Tomahawk (see photo above).

In my initial test, I was actually surprised and disappointed with the performance of my Gerber camp ax--essentially a lightweight hatchet. One of the distinctive characteristics of the Gerber axe is that the cutting edge is straight. I wondered if a typical hatchet, with a slight curvature to the blade, would work any better. Putting it to the test, it did indeed work better. Cutting a branch, this time, it took some 11 strikes to chop through an approximately 2-inch thick branch. For the test of chopping wood on the block, I used a segment from my earlier tests that was about 1.5 inches in diameter. It took 3 chops to cut through.

I borrowed the Tomahawk, just to see how it might compare since it has a shorter blade than the Gerber ax, but a longer handle. It made short work of taking a 1.5 inch diameter branch off of a poplar stand: 8 whacks. However, it took 15 chops to cut through the wood segment (again using one from my earlier tests) when placed on the block. Thinking that there was something wrong, I tried another section of the wood, which this time took 11 chops to get through. So, still somewhat surprising of a result since none of the other tools took more chops to get through the wood on a block than when chopping it down in the first instance. I can only surmise that the branch cut off the stand of poplar was softer than the wood used in the block test.

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