Posted on March 25, 2016
When selecting the steel to use for our tomahawks we had to have a steel that would meet the most stringent specifications of the primary user, the warfighter. Above all else, our tomahawks have to be virtually indestructible, that is, not to have a catastrophic failure which would render the tool useless. Traditionally tomahawks break where the head and neck meet so we needed a steel that would allow hard striking edges, but with a flexible/springy handle. We achieved this by differential heat treat. The heads of our tomahawks and axes are through flame hardened to a Rockwell hardness of 54 for durable tough edges. Edges become more brittle as the hardness increases. The force that can be generated with a tomahawk can cause chipping and cracking of a very hard blade edge. We would rather the edge roll or dent. The handles are a Rockwell hardness of 30, which gives the handle spring and gives extra durability when using the tomahawk as a pry bar or lever. 4140 chrome moly steel can be differentially heat treated. D2 cannot, although we have seen some tomahawk makers claim they differentially heat treat D2.