Tomahawks. Either you like them, you’re lying about not liking them, you’re one of them nervous type rakhâs, or you’re a damn sissy. Don’t worry, it’s okay to like tomahawks (we’re talking about the classic type, in the Algonquian/Renape style), even if you don’t really have a need to hew off someone’s head. Today we’re revisiting our tame Australian’s report about just such a tool, this one built by MTech. Mad Duo
Report Revisited: the MTech “Tactical” Tomahawk
Apocalypse Josh – originally published Monday, Nov. 28, 2016
I have a great fondness for hatchets and tomahawk and quite a collection, ranging from the low-key Fuller camping hatchet to the knockabout United Cutlery M48 to the singular Boker Tomahook. A new addition to my armory was the very blingtastic MTech – tactical axe.
At 36cm (14 1/4″) overall, this is a decently sized chopper and at 650g (1.4lbs) it’s lighter than I expected. It has a black rubberized ABS handle with lightly textured lanyard loop, and is peppered with seven locking bolts and nuts with Torx fittings. The axehead is 18cm (7 1/8″) with a 9cm (3 1/2″) cutting edge. It has a spike on opposite end, interesting secondary edges, and to top it all off it’s titanium anodized to a gold finish.
One thing that struck me was that ABS, which felt really flimsy. Not that it was flexing under my grip, more that it was light and sounded hollow. The black nylon sheath was simple enough, with a press stud retention loop, and press-stud closures at the rear to keep it in place.
The blade was shipped sharp and had a knife edge, with deep secondary grinds not only along the primary face but also a deep inwardly curved bite in the top of the axehead as well as the underside of the beard. The top of the axe features a set of aggressively cut jimping.
I was hard pressed to think of what that top scalloped edge would be useful for, other than an “upwards” axe thrust. However, scalloping the blade inward rather than having it sweep forward into a point like in a Dane Axe seemed counter productive. Perhaps as a branch trimmer? More likely to make it look extra cool and scary. Gold. Plated. Scary.
The edge at the underside of the beard was alright as a down-sweeping cutting edge although it did come back quite close to the very top handholds, and my delicate pink flesh, when using a choked-up grip. There are cutaways in the bottom of the axehead for thumb and forefinger to rest in, and they were well placed. But again, there was no beveling, and the sharp edges seemed too close and unguarded.
At the back of the axehead is a spike, ground down into a diamond cross-section, and down to quite a significant point. I liked the geometry of it, and it certainly had a fair “bite” when punching holes in logs, chipboard and cans.
Overall, the cutting power of the axe was somewhat limited by its lightweight design. The knife-edge blade was sharp with a thin cross-section, chopped into boards well enough and cut through bike tyre like nobody’s business, but on a meaty target like a log it bit and stuck.
Too light to travel deep enough to cleave, too narrow to form a splitting wedge.
I gave the butt-end a strike to test durability and its utility as an impact weapon, and THIS happened. The ABS plastic, which is what LEGO is made out of, shattered at the shock of impact.
It also exposed the inside of the axe handle, which is something else I wanted to mention. Having felt how light and “hollow” it sounded, I had taken the handle apart with my trusty min/Inch TORX screwdrivers, and popped it open.
It turns out that as well as the thin and hollow framed handle, which I could have lived with and probably filled with resin or replaced with a cord-wrap, the handle itself was made of three separate pieces of different steel. One for the Ti-anodized blingtastic head, a powder coated lanyard loop piece at the butt-end, and a plain piece through the middle.
I’m sure that made the fabrication easier. But I don’t know what kinds of steel are in there, and the welds don’t look all that flash to me. I would have some concerns about wailing too hard on a solid door, wall, or even a tree-trunk with this.
Perhaps a metallurgist out there can tell me otherwise, but I’m going to relegate this to the back of the collection and save the serious work for serious tools. It seems my MTech Extreme Cleaver was the exception to the rule that these are not hard-use tools.
By the way, if you like tomahawks, you prob’ly oughta check out the Tomahawkology group. Purty interdasting. Plus, how cool would it be to put tomahawkologist on your CV? Mad Duo
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About the Author: Josh Orth is a second generation expat currently dwelling in the arguably civilized outskirts of Melbourne, Australia. He’s lived in deserts, jungles and urban sprawls around the world and traveled/adventured into assorted inhospitable places all over the globe, from near-dystopian parts to cities to Gabon, west Africa. Thus he has a keen sense of the speed with which the trappings of ‘civilized Western life’ can disappear. This has led him to begin writing about his interests and observations when it comes to the gear, skills and other necessities of self reliance of being equipped for whatever a capricious, occasionally indurate life might throw at him. This isn’t by any means to say our eccentric friend truly experiences genuine vorfreude about dystopian life, but if he had to he might not complain. Read more by Josh at Apocalypse Equipped.
We’re not saying Josh flies a PL-12 Airtruk. We’re just saying this guy and Josh have never been seen in the same room together at the same time.
At least someone appreciates it. My wife gets pissed when I look at welds in every day life and talk shit about how the welder obviously had no pride in their work/didn’t do their job right at all but somehow got away with it.
“Ugh, stop looking at shitty welds and complaining!” Is something I hear a few times a week.
strych9, good analysis of the welding. As a B31.X pipe welder, I was prepared to write a comment, but scrolled down to see you beat me to it.
I’m actually surprised to see you reviewing MTec. I’ve been selling knives as a side gig for a number of years and frankly don’t see what anyone would want in an MTech knife other than a drop piece.
Here, in the states these knives sell for 7 to 12 dollars and cost wholesale 4-6 bucks. Not what I would call dependable. Hey, if you want to collect them or show them off at the back-yard cook-out, or give then as gifts to your worse enemy , great. But go deer hunting or camping with them, nope.
“But I don’t know what kinds of steel are in there, and the welds don’t look all that flash to me.”
I’m not metallurgist but as a recovering welder I can tell you the reason that the welds don’t look flash to you is because they are total dogshit. This is a perfect example how you can open up a nice looking product and find out that the manufacturer gave no fucks.
Looking at this weld I’m seeing really, really shitty MIG welding that no one bothered to even clean properly for an inspection. It was probably flux core shielded so the shit you see on the outside is a mixture of remnants of the flux plus impurities that floated to the top of the weld when the puddle was molten, most likely oddball alloys created by welding over that anodized titanium (See how the heat ripples wander up into the gold coloring to the point that the part closest to the weld no longer has a coating?).
The proper way to weld what they’ve welded here is simple and cheap.
First, take both parts and bevel the edges so that the two pieces come together at and edge that looks like this:>< aligns nicely and the parts are fitted the way you want. Now a couple tack welds on each piece keeps them from moving around. Lay a nice bead of 7018 into the V, break tacks, rinse and repeat on the other side. (You could do this with a TIG welder and filler rod too, which would be my personal preference, but hey, we're going for quality fab on the cheap here people. Ain't no one got the time or money for argon shielding gas!)
Now, clean up the weld with a wire wheel to inspect the weld. If it's good to go then using a bench grinder, or if you're worth a shit, an angle or straight grinder take off the remainder of the tacks (if you didn't use a jig) and grind the welds down flush with the surface of the (formerly) two pieces. You now have two pieces formed into one solid piece with a weld that has 60K-70K pounds of tensile strength. (That's what they use to put buildings together.)
Great review. Not something I'll even be considering buying.