Hawk just as good as SFA?

Discussion in 'Axe, Tomahawk, & Hatchet Forum' started by nc527, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. nc527


    Mar 22, 2009
    I have a Gb Small forest axe that I currently use for hiking and canoe camping. I am contemplating selling it and getting a hawk to try out. I want to know, how does something like the cs trail hawk compare to the SFA? like does it feel alot lighter, shorter, or what? How is its chopping ability? The main reason for the change is that the sfa is a little 2 heavy for on handed use, but I fell I lose power with 2 hands, since I dont think its long enough for 2 hands. I have heard that with a hawk, you can just flick it through the wood.

    Also, how are Keith Johnsons hawks? Does anyone know about him?
  2. savageknives


    May 11, 2009
    ive never used a GB but my trail hawk chops better than anything ive ever used (except my ft turner norse hawk) you can get a longer handle for the hawk which will easily facilitate two handed use. my advice-dont sell the GB. cold steel products are good at a very good price. if after using the trail hawk, you decide you dont want the GB anymore (which i doubt) then you could sell it. have a good one.
  3. Ebbtide


    Aug 20, 1999
    Keep the GB.
    CS is cheap enough to fund.
    In the end you'll use the GB and leave the CS on the workbench.
    Just like my CS norse hawk stays on the bench while my GB small forest or mini come out to be used.
  4. Cpl Punishment

    Cpl Punishment

    Jan 28, 2006
    I don't know if the Hunter's axe head is thinner than the SFA, but my hunter's axe chops extremely well, very deep bites. At least as deep as a Trail Hawk's chops, but a wider blade.

    The GB is noticeably heavier.

    Don't sell the GB, just try out some of the inexpensive CS hawks and see if you like them.
  5. vector001


    Aug 4, 2007
    they are different creatures - the GB Forest Axe vs. the CS Trail Hawk.

    having one of each is not a bad idea IMHO.

  6. Dusty One

    Dusty One Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 12, 2004
    Keith Johnsons hawks are well made......
  7. Larry from Bend

    Larry from Bend

    Jan 5, 2007
    I have a GB Small Forest Axe that I don't get a lot of use out of. In fact I own 3 different brands of this size of axe but I don't use any of them very much. They are "too big for small work and too small for big work" in my opinion.

    I DO use my CS Frontiersmen's Hawk a lot on camping trips. It's handy and cuts pretty well - but it's not to be confused with a larger tool. I also use an old Plumb Carpenter's Hatchet a lot for camping and various other chores. If I need to do much axe work I find a 3.5 lb - 35"er to be quicker and safer. I once owned a "rafting" axe (for raft trips) that had maybe a 19" handle with a 3.5 lb head. I didn't care for it.
  8. Calebklyne


    Aug 5, 2009
    a trail hawk in no way compares to a gb it its not really meant to my sfa is way better for chopping and splitting than my trail hawk but the sfa is heavier
  9. PayetteRucker


    Aug 4, 2009
    They bite differently. By definition a tomahawk is an axe with a knife edge. Even though tomahawks tend to be much lighter they also bite alot deeper with less effort. A good frontier style hawk with a 19 inch haft is a very efficient chopper. You don't have to sell the forest axe, you can get a HB Forge handmade Shawnee throwing hawk for 40 bucks. IMO it's the best working hawk in the industry.
  10. Any Cal.

    Any Cal. Banned BANNED

    Jan 1, 2006
    Try this on for size. It will show a bit of the difference in the two, though there is more to it than that. You can skip in several minutes if you don't care about the machete or hatchets.

    [youtube]<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/GLqiAefRw30&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GLqiAefRw30&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>[/youtube]

    The SFA is in a totally different class. It weighs more, but it also does much more work, IMO. If you don't need as much of a tool, the 'hawk may be a good way to save weight. For me personally, I didn't use the hawk much, but prefer to carry a saw to an axe anyway when I need to process a lot of wood. Most of the time I would carry the machete in the video with a bow saw, and could saw and split quite a bit of wood without too much of a weight penalty.
  11. mainewoods


    Jun 21, 2009
    Any Cal Great Video Thanks for the Info. Well done too!
  12. vector001


    Aug 4, 2007
    it would be nice to see a Trail Hawk, with its small bit and higher PSI (than the Norse and GB) - the GB was also tested higher up the tree, where the wood might've been less dense. no big deal though.

    the Cold Steel Norse and the GB Forest Axe have virtually identical edges, with the GB having a pound more in the head, and longer length in the handle, as well as better ergonomics - it's apples and oranges again, to me at least.

    - the GB is helped by more than just its increased mass.

    i'd also like to point out that the exhibition was vertical chopping, and on very thick wood - the White Man's Way essentially - a native would be unlikely to have ever touched that size log for anything besides a special project IMHO. and he would've used fire to part it in most cases.

    get the Gb Forest Axe on a pine-needle-covered hillside working next to a Trail Hawk on wood that is under three inches in diameter, especially horizontally, like harvesting lodge poles - i bet you will beat yourself every time with the Trail Hawk, defeating the GB Forest Axe.

    i've tried it myself, it's not a hypothesis, it's a convention.

    that said - good work, and good effort, brother 'cal.

    toss a saw in there next time too.

  13. Any Cal.

    Any Cal. Banned BANNED

    Jan 1, 2006
    I won't argue any of the points you make, I think I agree with all of them.:D

    Personally, I feel it comes down to the size of wood you will be working with, how much of it you need, and how much you will be willing/able to carry. My normal gear is the machete in the video, as it weighs very little and can cut 4-5" stuff pretty easy, packs flat, and can also be used for some splitting. It works on brush as well.

    In the winter, when I am out in the way cold, I take a bowsaw with an extra blade, and something to split with, the 'chete or a big knife, and can work with stuff 8-9" without too much trouble.

    I bought the Norse hawk instead of the trail hawk because I figured I would have less sticking due to reduced penetration, a wider blade for wood cutting, and I liked the hooked shape for extra reach. Truth be told though, I don't carry it, I like the 'chete.:D

    That GB is a little machine though, if you can pack it around. Since I am posting videos...check out my review of the GB. And after the video I went and cut the tree down close, just so we can all sleep easy.:D There are some more specs and pics at: http://www.thetopgearpicks.com/GBSFA.html

    [youtube]<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/yYdb0DrhhnM&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/yYdb0DrhhnM&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>[/youtube]
  14. vector001


    Aug 4, 2007

  15. woodsroamer


    Oct 8, 2009
    I've got both axes you speak of and have used them extensively along with a host of other axes. Yes, I'm an axe freak. In my opinion, the GB is a far superior axe: better steel, holds a better edge, better for bushcraft and camping, better for carving (i.e., making a bow with only an axe), longer lasting. The TH finally got slipped under the car seat to be used for "emergencies," but the GB is definitely the better (much better) axe. One more point: A lot of axe useability depends on where you live and the type of hardwoods you are working on. If you live in the northern latitudes you have softer "hardwoods" than those who live in the southern latitudes. For example, birch is pretty easy to work with; mesquite can be a real b---h. So where super hard woods live you need a camp axe with more of an apple seed grind to keep from sticking but not too much of an exaggerated apple seed (ala Roselli axe) because then they will bounce when performing certain slicing carving tasks, i.e., shaping a bow stave, canoe paddle and the like. Much more I could say after 50 years of woods roaming and bow making, spoon and bowl making, paddle making and on and on but I don't want to get too boring here. Good luck in your choice. But man, keep the GB. Those things keep getting more and more expensive and the TH is still pretty cheap, price wise.

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