Knives Illustrated

KEEP SAFETY IN MIND WHEN USING YOUR TOMAHAWK

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Aside from getting a superficia­l cut while checking the edge for sharpness or nicks, there usually are no minor injuries when it comes to an axe or tomahawk. Most of the possible injuries from a heavy chopping tool are devastatin­g. So, keep these safety measures in mind:

• Never leave a tomahawk lying around with the sharpened edge exposed for the world to stumble upon. Sticking a tomahawk up high in a tree is another invitation for injury. Most people keep a tomahawk (axe) buried in a chopping stump or log, which is acceptable. The safest place is to lean it up against a tree with the sharp bit facing away from camp traffic.

• Swinging a tomahawk while chopping and splitting wood is safer from a kneeling position. This will allow the tomahawk to strike a chopping block or ground instead of your lower body. A tomahawk usually has a handle length of 19 inches, making it a little safer to use than a hatchet.

• Lose the lanyard. I have never seen a tomahawk with a lanyard hole in it and for good reason. If the tomahawk slips out of your hand while swinging it, the last thing you want is for it to catch on a lanyard creating a pendulum effect and directing it back to bite you. It is better to re-profile your tomahawk edge than get a major gash in your foot or leg.

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