When my girlfriend and I moved into our new house, we wanted to have a fun yard game or two. Cornhole boards are cheap – and cheaper to make – but not quite our style. We’re both pretty good at horseshoes but don’t really have the right space for it, close enough to the house. When I floated the idea of throwing tomahawks I was met with an enthusiastic, “yes!” The next morning I ordered a couple standard throwing hawks from Beaver Bill Forging Works.
Full Disclosure: I received no compensation from Beaver Bill for this review, and did not coordinate it with him or his company. I paid full price for my ‘hawks and handles.
Beaver Bill’s Standard Throwing ‘Hawks
Each of Bill’s throwing hawks is a handmade piece of American beauty. The heads are hand-crafted by “Beaver” Bill Keeler himself, right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Material for most of Bill’s wares is 4140 carbon-alloy steel, but his throwing ‘hawks are constructed of spring steel. The handles are also individually crafted from American hickory. Every single one of these tomahawks is completely unique.
Since these are all custom made items, no two are alike and specifications are approximate. Beaver Bill’s throwing ‘hawks are approximately 19″ in length, with a 3.5″ to 4″ cutting surface. The heads weigh 4 to 6 ounces. Coupled with a hickory handle that’s a total weight of ~20 ounces that is perfectly balanced for throwing. Each throwing hawk is marked with Bill’s signature beaver logo.
The Game of Throwing ‘Hawks
Much to our chagrin, before we could actually start practicing (we gotta get good so we can show the neighbors what’s what, right?), we needed something to throw them at. We could have constructed a target, but a big round of a tree is what we were after. Fortunately for us, a massive tree fell on our neighbor’s property. I helped him cut it up and ended up snagging a big, 28″-diameter round for myself.
You don’t need a ton of space to throw tomahawks; it is a close-range activity. According to the rules there are four official distances: 3′, 7′, 13′, and 16′. We have been working between 7 and 13′. If you’ve got 20′ of space and a safe backstop, you’re good to go. We’re pleasantly surprised that getting the tomahawk to stick in the wood isn’t all that difficult. Hitting the wood precisely is another matter…
If you’re thinking of taking up ‘hawk throwing, I have one piece of advice. Spring for some extra handles. As it happens, hitting your hickory handle with a sharpened metal object has a deleterious effect on it. Bill sells extra handles for just $5, and they are well worth it. I had to replace a handle the first day we threw these.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a fun yard game that involves a bit of weaponcraft, check this out. I know it’s not for everyone (if you buy your jeans with holes already in them and bend bottle caps around the rim of your visor, keep lookin’, college boy!), but we have really taken to it. We have even started morning “coffee and tomahawks” before work. It’s a huge hit with the neighbors, and our friends’ kids love it, too. It also helps build so-called hand/eye coordination, and it keeps us outside.
Every single throwing ‘hawk from Beaver Bill is absolutely gorgeous. They’re worthy of display, and are a great conversation piece. Maybe most importantly, these aren’t made in China, and they’re not stamped out by the dozen at some mega-corporation. Beaver Bill’s ‘hawks are made by a real-deal, American artisan.