FIT FOR A KNIGHT
THE FLAGRANT BEARD TEMPLAR IS A TOMAHAWK TO BE RECKONED WITH
Do you want tough? Then you’ll want the latest tomahawk from Flagrant Beard, the Templar. By Joshua Swanagon
Tough men use tough tools. I am a fan of tomahawks and any time that I get to play with one I am in a happy place. So, when I got the opportunity to get my hands on the Flagrant Beard Templar, I was pretty excited. I had been speaking with Dave Rhoden, of Flagrant Beard, for some time about this design, and it was obvious that a lot of thought was going into it. Working in collaboration with Exit Edgeworks, Rhoden spent a year of research and development to produce a tomahawk designed for hard use in hard territory.
The Knights Templar were not to be trifled with, and the Flagrant Beard Templar pays solid homage to those medieval warriors with a tool they would have been proud to carry.
And now I get to go all medieval with one to see how it holds up to its namesake.
Using design cues that harken back to the Knights Templar—with a fuller running along the top of the head and an inset Templar Cross emblem embossed at the mid-point— the aesthetics of the Templar stand out in a crowd.
The Templar measures in at an overall length of 12.75 inches of destructive power. The head is 6.5 inches wide with a 2.5-inch spike poll and 2.63inch edge. The beard comes to an aggressive tip and features a swedge for damaging hooking or penetration. At the top of the head is a line of jimping, designed to act as traction during prying tasks. At the neck are notches rounded out and filled with jimping for a comfortable grip while choking up on the head for finer work.
The 11-inch haft has more of a straight design and features canvas Micarta handle scales and finishes at an oversized ring. The handle scales are lean, up around the shoulder, enabling the user to choke up on the head for detailed work, but they swell about halfway down for a handfilling interface while swinging hard. Removing the handle scales reveals three oversized pin/screw holes and three weight-reduction holes down the
haft, placing the weight at the head, with a balance point right at the swell of the handle scales.
The sheath is constructed of heavyduty Kydex, and the Templar drops into the top of the sheath and snaps firmly into place. There are two beta loops with “pull the dot,” directional, snaps for hanging the sheath off a belt or ruck. For added retention, there is a beta loop, with Pull-the-dot snap enclosure, that loops over the top of the sheath and holds the Templar snuggly in place during heavy activity.
Getting the opportunity to test a tomahawk like this is definitely one of the perks of my job, and I tend to look at the world a little differently during the time I have it in my possession— everything starts to look like a potential target for testing.
Although I am not a big fan of throwing my weapon, because it just never made much sense to me, I felt that a true test of a tomahawk should include some throwing. So, I took it over to a friend’s house, and we played for a while, throwing it into the end of a large tree he had cut down at the beginning of the year. It took just a little bit to find the sweet spot; once we did, we were able to get it to stick fairly consistently from about 12 feet away. During the beginning of this testing, the handle took quite a beating until we were able to find the consistency we were looking for; it held up nicely and everything stayed tight.
After the throwing test, I went to another log—an oak tree that had been cut down at the beginning of the year as well—and began sticking the spike poll in and twisting and prying the wood with it. I then did the same with the bit and both held up beautifully. This is a great prying tool.
Next, I decided to cut a knot off the side of the oak log. The edge bit deep into the knot with each swing and made short work of the wood. At this stage, I did begin to notice that my hand was wanting to slip all the way down to the ring, and there was a lot of energy coming down into the ring and transferring right into my pinky— painfully so. So, I had one of my friends chop at the log, without telling him what I was noticing, and he had the same experience in the same spot on his pinky. I think I would have liked to have seen some kind of dove tail or something to stop the hand from going all the way down to the ring. As is, gloves may help to mitigate some of the energy transfer.
I then wanted to test the notch on the spike poll—designed for breaking locks free. Unfortunately, I was unable to get the lock to pop, because the latch just kept pulling right out of the wood. I couldn’t get it to stay securely in even very seasoned hard wood. In a way, that is still a testament to the
“THE TEMPLAR MEASURES IN AT AN OVERALL LENGTH OF 12.75 INCHES OF DESTRUCTIVE POWER.”
prying power of the Templar, because either the lock is going to break, or the whole latch is going to give way. Either way, something is going to give.
Not willing to give up yet however, I decided to still try to open the Master Lock with the Templar—from the side. I was actually impressed with the level of damage it did to the lock. I was unable to get it to pop, but that was only because I didn’t want to completely destroy the spike poll at this point. Once the tip broke off between layers of the lock I decided to call it. Although the lock didn’t pop, it did get a little malformed and was not far from opening. I feel that I could have got it to do it if I had kept going.
I then chopped up an old pallet with no issues whatsoever. Each swing cut deep into the wood and every part of the pallet was chopped up within minutes.
Finally, I took the Templar to a car to give it a steel-versus-steel test. I started by using the spike poll like a can opener and stuck it into the car and pried upward, causing a cut about 2 inches long. I repeated this process until I had opened up a nice hole. I then did the same with the bit and chopped, multiple times, straight into the car hood for a very clean entry. I finished by burying both the poll and the bit into the windshield multiple times to see how the finish would hold up.
After all of my testing was complete, the edge on the bit is a little worse for wear, but not as much as could be expected for this level of abuse. It held up quite well. As mentioned, the tip of the spike poll broke off, but again, not surprising considering the level of torture I put it through. The tungsten Cerakote showed an expected amount of scratching, but nothing down to the steel—it will still keep the Templar well protected.
Named for some of the most skilled fighters of the crusades, the Templar lives up to its namesake as a solid fighting tool. The Templar stepped up to each test as if it were confronting and enemy combatant and knocked it down with fury. The tests I put it through were clearly outside of any kind of normal use, but for a tool like this—intended for hard use people—i felt it was only appropriate and was quite surprised at how well it held up to such abuse.
If you are looking for a tool to get your medieval on—whether on the battlefield or as a first responder—the Templar would make a great addition to your kit and will perform when and how you need it to. TW
top: Each strike to this pallet produced a very clean, very deep cut. I had the pallet apart in minutes.bottom: The head is 6.5 inches wide with a 2.63inch cutting edge and features a spike poll.
top: In my attempt to open a Master Lock from the side, the tip of the spike got embedded between layers and broke off. I think I could have popped this lock if I had kept going. I am impressed that this is the only damage to the spike.bottom: Using the spike like a can opener, I was able to open a sizeable hole in the hood of this car quickly and efficiently.
The coating held up pretty well to a lot of abuse. There are noticeable scratches to the finish, but nothing deep enough to compromise the steel.