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Anyone interested in a fairly cheap pipe hawk made from good steel?

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by the possum, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. the possum

    the possum

    Jul 31, 2002
    Hey there, guys. In this thread I was wondering about the steel used in several pipe hawks from RE Davis company.

    Turns out they're made from 8620, which is a low carbon steel that can't be heat treated normally, or some are also made in 4140, which is used mainly for hammers. It could probably stand up to some amount of use, but wouldn't hold the best edge for woodwork.

    But then, they emailed me back saying they could have a special run of heads made from 6150 steel if I order six at a time. This steel's performance characteristics are fairly close to 5160, and in fact I'm told leaf spring manufacturers often substitute the two steels without anybody knowing.

    Would anybody here be interested in getting in on a group buy of such heads? I'm waiting to hear back from Tim on price & how long it would take, but I'm hoping they won't cost much more than their regular offerings. Probably in the $30-$40 range. (??)

    I have been looking for something like this on and off for several years now. This is the first chance I've seen. With pipe 'hawks, it seems you either gotta pay several hundred bucks to get something worthwhile from a custom maker, or settle for a cheap decorator piece made from lower grade or pure junk steel.

    You can see the styles offered by this company here. Personally, I like the looks & size of their "Fancy Pipe Tomahawk Head", item # 0317. But if the majority would prefer a different pattern, I'm flexible.

    Any interest?
     
  2. Brody R.

    Brody R.

    360
    Jan 27, 2005
    I may be, i've been considering trying to put together a pipe hawk but i'm unfamiliar with the process or tools required. Have you ever assembled a RE Davis pipe? Also do you think the 6150 heads need to be properly heat treated tp be functional? I ask as I don't have access to a forge or know anything about how to heat treat. Basically I have an interest in tomahawks but no knowledge on how to make one properly but if it seems doable i'll probably get in and try to make a couple.
     
  3. the possum

    the possum

    Jul 31, 2002
    Brody-

    I've never made a pipe hawk. I have rehandled and refinished lots of axes & hatchets though. In this case, they will come as cast, so you'll need a file or two (flat & curved/round) and some sandpaper in various grits, and a couple pieces of scrap wood for sanding blocks. A vise would be handy to hold things in, but if you don't have one I could give you some tips on improvised methods.

    Basically you can sand things to polish it as much or little as you want. You can leave it shiny, or apply blueing or "aged" patinas for very cheap.

    I plan to make my own handle (assuming this deal goes through) by using a long-assed drill bit to bore the hole through a block of osage orange or walnut, and then shape down the outside. But you can buy ready-drilled handles from several places, including the Davis company. The design of a tomahawk head gives you some leeway with the handle fitting, since it just tapers bigger towards the end. A scrap of iron or nail can be shaped to fit in from the bottom side to help lock it in place, if necessary. The handle can likewise be sanded smooth, carved, or decorated according to your tastes, and then sealed with commercial or traditional methods.

    The head would need to be heat treated. Several smiths in the shoptalk section have offered to heat treat stuff for me in the past for a reasonable amount. And this steel is simple enough that it should be fairly easy/forgiving to do yourself if you want to learn how.
     
  4. the possum

    the possum

    Jul 31, 2002
    Just heard back from Tim at DE Davis. He says the heads would still cost $28 each, and would take about two months to make once the order is placed. Granted, if I gotta buy 6 heads & ship 'em out, I'd also like to have shipping costs covered, which might be a couple bucks. So, I guess I'll see where this goes.
     
  5. nessmuke

    nessmuke

    12
    Sep 11, 2006
    I have no experience with this steel or its suitability for hatchet type work. Anyone with experience here? It would probably work if orders were grouped together to the company until we accumulated at least six buyers of this particular steel. That would mean we would put the checks to the company for the head and shipping and avoid the ship it to you and then to me thing. I wonder if that could work. I might be interested in one with that kind of deal and could pay the company in advance to produce it. A local knife maker would probably heat treat the blade for little money. However, I have had a harder time drilling handle blanks than I thought. I have a 12 in bit and drill press and screwed up a couple of handles so far.
    I would vote for the 0285 style because the bowl stem looks sturdier and bigger to me but the fancy one would be o k with me too.
     
  6. the possum

    the possum

    Jul 31, 2002
    Tim emailed me again about 20 minutes ago. I asked to double check whether we could pick any pattern on the site or if we were limited, and he replied:

    "Yes, the other patterns [besides the Fancy Pipe Tomahawk Head] that can be cast in 6150 are #0305 (Faceted bowl) and #1011 (English Trade)."

    So I guess we're limited to those 3 patterns if we want this steel.

    If you'd prefer to deal directly with them, and that's also OK with them (don't know why there'd be any problem) then of course I have no problem with it either. It would be less hassle for me too. I'm only trying to organize this because this sounds like exactly what I've been looking for for years.
     
  7. Brody R.

    Brody R.

    360
    Jan 27, 2005
    I'll probably be in, keep me posted. A couple questions, you use the files/sandpaper on the hawk head to smooth out the finish? Also how does one go about blueing a head?
     
  8. Brody R.

    Brody R.

    360
    Jan 27, 2005
    Also how would I go about getting and assembling a mouthpiece/stem and clean-out plug? I'm very interested in this if I can figure it all out, just a beginner to the whole process.
     
  9. nessmuke

    nessmuke

    12
    Sep 11, 2006
    Thanks possum for bringing this to mind. Brody, I definitely do not know what to tell you as I am a half failed beginner to date. But figuring it out is part of the fun. I have used files, sandpaper and a belt sander to work on all sorts of axes and hatchets. Its really easy, I am sure you could do that part.
    As far as which head, I like the pipe heads in order of preference 1011, 0305 and then the fancy the least. I can just see that fancy pipe bowl breaking off too easy, I could be very wrong. I would definitly like to be able to use it as a hawk on wood and deer and really smoke it too if possible. I hate show dogs that are junk when you want to use them. I also need a big bowl with stout connection, I like to push a small cigar into the pipe and smoke it. Looks stupid but it works really well!!! You could always use a file to put some fancy on a functional blade if you wanted to.
     
  10. Redsnake1997

    Redsnake1997 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 26, 2005
    possum...

    please add me to the list of interested guys. If the cost is kept under $50 shipped I'd be interested in a useable pipe-hawk. I've been looking for a bit, but never found anything in my price range.

    Can email ( [email protected] ) or pm me. Thanks.
     
  11. akmike

    akmike

    8
    Sep 2, 2006
    Sure, count me in, I would like to try one with good steel. You can email me at [email protected] Thanks
     
  12. rustyboy

    rustyboy

    105
    Jan 7, 2005
    I'm very interested with #0305 as my first choice and #1011 as my second.
     
  13. the possum

    the possum

    Jul 31, 2002
    Well guys, it looks like we have enough serious interest to order a run of pipe hawk heads in 6150! Just so we're all clear here, this is for an unfinished head only. You'll have to make your own arrangements for getting a handle, and polishing the head & having it heat treated. I'm considering asking some of the guys in shop talk to do the heat treating on mine, and if so, maybe they'd be willing to do several of yours too. But no garantees there.

    Those who have said they're definitely interested:
    the possum
    akmike
    Redsnake1997
    Gibsonfan
    t1mpani
    Nessmuke
    Rocketmann (1 or 2 heads?)
    Liam Ryan (2 heads)
    HSS Forge (2 heads)

    Others who have expressed interest, but I'm not sure if they want one:
    Brody


    I'm not gonna claim that 6150 is any kind of super steel. But, I consider it a big step up in quality for a cutting tool over the stuff that pipe tomahawk heads are usually made from, in this price range. Ragnar also had a small blurb on this at his site:
    (of course, if you plan to throw it, you could just temper it down a little more than for a woodworking tool.)

    Now, I suppose the next thing is decide for sure on which pattern we want to have made. I origionally started this thread liking the fancy head, but there have been concerns about the pipe stem breaking since it's so thin. I must agree, this does look like it could be a potential problem.

    At least a couple guys have said they like the faceted bowl head, and I too like the curved line on the underside of the bit. (this is also one of the things I liked about the fancy head above.) However, I'm concerned that this head might be lighter than I was looking for, and I prefer having some sort of demarkation/transition lines where the bit meets the socket. I also don't care for a smooth profile line on the underside of the bit where it meets the socket. I'd like a notch there in case of bad aim (or trapping a blow from another blade), it will slide down the underside of the bit & catch on the steel notch rather than glancing straight into the wooden handle.

    So, here's what I'm thinking now. How about we go with theEnglish pattern pipe tomahawk head? My reasons are, this one has a stouter stem on the pipe bowl, a bit more decoration, and it seems wider/beefier. This means that we would have more room/steel to customize the head. I would personally plan to grind or file the underside of the bit so it has that gently concave curving profile I like about the two heads above.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. nessmuke

    nessmuke

    12
    Sep 11, 2006
    Count me in on the English pattern.
    I agree with all you said. The extra mass in the blade will make it cut better and can be removed as desired. It's easy to remove untempered steel and hard to put it back when its not there. er You can thin whats there out but not make it be there, when its not. well.... you know what I mean. ;>)
    We just need to know from the manufacturer a cost per head and how to signify our check being for 6150 steel head order.
    Thanks again possum for pulling this up and together.
     
  15. the possum

    the possum

    Jul 31, 2002
    I edited my above post to move Nessmuke to the seriously interested category.

    I sent off an email to Tim at the Davis co, to see how he would prefer us to handle the order. If it's OK with him, I'd just as soon have us all send in our money separately & have him ship them to us each individually. This would help save on the shipping costs, and then you could have him throw in a handle or something with your order if you want one.

    However, this means we'd all have to send in our orders in a reasonable amount of time. If five of us send in our checks, we'll all be waiting on the sixth guy...

    I'll post an update when I hear back from him.
     
  16. GibsonFan

    GibsonFan

    Jul 7, 2006
    me too. :thumbup:
     
  17. rocketmann

    rocketmann

    Dec 24, 2005
    I'll take 2 if you go withthe faceted bowl head style. If you go the other way I'll probably still get one or two..
     
  18. PhilL

    PhilL

    Oct 1, 1999
    I know this is going to sound lame, but I don't have the time or place to put one of these together.
    Is there anyone that can put one together for me at a reasonable price?

    I'd take something like this....
    [​IMG]
     
  19. akmike

    akmike

    8
    Sep 2, 2006
    I just send in my order for one to the Davis Co. MP
     
  20. Redsnake1997

    Redsnake1997 Gold Member Gold Member

    May 26, 2005
    Count me in on the English Pattern.
     

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