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December 16, 2008

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Petzal: More On Axes

Change two, as we used to say in the Army. The maker of the breaching axes is Daniel Winkler who, for twenty years or more has been pre-eminent in the re-creation of frontier cutlery. The upper photo shows the Naval Special Warfare Breaching/Combat Axe; the lower one is the Army Special Operations Combat Axe. But there’s more to the story. Since the services are not fully funded to buy these, Daniel has been accepting contributions from private citizens to defray the cost. I sent him a donation in November. If you become a part of his Donor program, you can buy one. For details, e-mail daniel@winklerknives.com. Or you can join Special Forces or become a SEAL and be eligible that way.

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Now for part two. In a few months, Daniel will be producing a civilian Combat Breaching Axe and a Hunter Axe (with a hammer poll) that will be available to anyone. He has also designed a pair of fighting axes for the Sayoc Tactical Group, and they can be seen and are now available for order at sayocwinklerhawk.com.

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Comments

Mike

I have no need for a breaching axe, though I do desire one. A fine U.S. made hunter's axe is another story. I toiled away with cheap old hatchets and axes for years. I finally got fed up with dull blades and ordered a fine hunter's axe. When I removed it from the sheath it took my breath away. Just like a knife, fine forged steel and experienced design and manufacturing make the difference. Would be great if they combined the best features of those already in the market and improved on them.

Scott in Ohio

Dave,

Thanks for following up with pictures.

Since you donated back in November have you placed an order for one of these to calm your fans from HSUS?

Dave Petzal

To Scott: No, I haven't. I have a Bowie knife that Dan made for me years ago and that turned out so well I don't feel the need for the axe.

Mark-1

If I was on the front ranks...thank god I'm on the wrong side of 60 for that.....and was handed one of these tomahawks or a war club to hump, I'd be wondering how the bad guys were able to get pass the artillery and a 30-round clip.

Things are going backwards here, folks.

Tyler (NC)

that is one fine example of cutlery. any idea the purchase price?

eyeball

Awesome pics. Better than I thought they'd be. Thanks, Dave.

Mark-1;

First of all, these tomahawks are primarily tools for forcing entry. You don't always want to be blasting your way into every house or car with high explosives or even shotguns, hence the need for a breeching tool.

Second, in any scenario that involves stealth (SEAL and special forces type work, in other words), nothing removes sentries, lookouts, or stragglers more quietly than an ax like these. The Ghurkhas with their Kukri knives are the experts at sentry removal; they use the kukri either to split a sentry's head, or if he is wearing a helmet they chop the sentry's head off. No muss, no fuss, no bother, and no warning given by the sentry. None of our special forces knife tactics, 1. sneak up 2. grab sentry from behind, hand going over sentry's mouth 3. plunge knife into sentry's carotid or kidney 4. try to hold sentry's arms down until he loses consciousness due to hypovolemia to keep him from giving a warning, firing off a round, etc., come close the simplicity and sureness of 1. whack sentry in skull or neck with a tomahawk 2. There is no 2. Even the Bowie knife, great as it is, can't open doors or remove sentries nearly as well.

dartwick

Those are good looking axes.

As admittedly some one who has never swung an axe in anger, my thought is his axes look as useful and deadly as some of the other high end military axes I have seen but Winklers axes look far mor attractive with their solid bodies and heads.

crm3006

Estwing makes a 13" hatchet
that will split kindling or
a pelvic bone with equal ease. I opted for the rubber handled model due to
less slip with bloody hands. They also make a larger model that will fell
timber. Both of mine will hold a very fine edge through much use. Don't know if the recent products
are made in China, both of mine are "seasoned" well.
That being said, I still
would like to have a breach
ing axe in anticipation of the coming obama regime.

crm3006

Estwing makes a 13" hatchet
that will split kindling or
a pelvic bone with equal ease. I opted for the rubber handled model due to
less slip with bloody hands. They also make a larger model that will fell
timber. Both of mine will hold a very fine edge through much use. Don't know if the recent products
are made in China, both of mine are "seasoned" well.
That being said, I still
would like to have a breach
ing axe in anticipation of the coming obama regime.

Mark-1

Most you write sounds very quiet and sneaky, Eyeball.

I'm quite certain you'd be able to move fast and quietly with that damn long axe handle flopping around..behind the lines.

Del in KS

Dave,

Is this the guy from Blowing Rock NC? If so he made the 'hawks and knives for "Last of the Mohicans" You can see some of his stuff in the movie. Magua (played by Wes Studi carried a neat Tomahawk he made) These are some very expensive cutting tools. I got the price list after the movie came out. Beautiful stuff but you can buy a good rifle for the price of one of his knives.

eyeball

Mark-1;

If you can secure a 3' long, 8 lb rifle, you can secure a tomahawk. I'm not up on the new field uniforms, but I'm guessing that SEALS would not have a tomahawk dangling from their waists. Granted, the guys have enough to carry these days without putting a tomahawk on top of the pile. But those who need one will find room for one.

Mark-1

Oooooo! Would that be ninja style packing? :-)

What's wrong with a silencer, Eyeball? Back in the late 60's I saw European special ops hauling around Uzi's that'd take a silencer about a foot long on their harness belts.

...Think there's a reason these war clubs went out of style in 1880's.

Sounds like these tomahawks are an O-5's idea with WAY too much time on his hands. :-)

dickgun

erm3006,
Right on re: the Estwing hatchet and light ax. I have used them for years, in fact they are standard survival gear in each of my bush planes here in AK. With the one piece all steel (high quality) construction they will not fail in the field. Tho they might be a tad on the heavy side, the quality makes them worth it.
Bit of history - The Estwing Co. was owned by Jim Froelich (Wisconsin). Jim was one of the founding group that created Foundation for North American Wild Sheep in the late 70s/early 80s. He was a great guy and I was fortunate to call him both friend and client.
John Batten was another great guy. His company was Twin Disk Clutch. John wrote a couple of fine sheep hunting books, "Skyline Pursuits' and "The Best of Sheep Hunting, Vol 1&11 (Amwell Press).

Clay Cooper

During my tour with Alamogordo Search and Rescue, I carried a Ruger Super Blackhawk 44 Magnum loaded with Elmer Keith style 255 grain cast with 21 grains of Hercules 2400. My revolver had a nickname, “THE POWER AXE!” Need wood? No problem’o! Need to signal? It will rattle the canyons!

Jim in Mo

Great looking hatchets but I'm still surprised there's not the slightest finger grooves.

Scott in Ohio

Dick Gun

Thanks for sharing your Bit of history about the Estwing Co. and Jim Froelich.

(Too many) years ago I was working as a geologist and Estwing made the "Cadillac" of rock hammers. I remember traveling with a co-worker; “Diane” and she had packed her rock hammer in her briefcase. When we went through security at the airport she was stopped and informed that she couldn’t carry her “death hammer” onto the plane. Diane looked at the security guy like he was crazy and said “what‘s the problem? I’m a geologist!” Not sure why but that still cracks me up.

I still have my "hard rock" Estwing and with its 5-inch pick it would make a big impression on a bad guy’s skull. It sure works well on granite and limestone!

Dave Petzal

To Del in KS: Daniel is from Blowing Rock, and yes he is expensive, but then his craft is labor intensive--hours and hours for a single piece. And let us not forget Karen Shook, who makes sheaths for his knives, and is a great artist in her own right.

Clay Cooper

Blades on a stick may look nice, but it doesn’t beat my Poland 18” chainsaw called the Wild Thing! Great for clearing trails and making “Whiteman Fires”! Indian fire stand real close, white man fire? breakout the suntan lotion and stand the next county back!

just wondering

What's the functional difference between the Army and Navy models?

eyeball

Dick Gun;

Thanks for the history. Estwing always made some of the best hammers money could buy.

Mark-1, nobody in his right mind brings an ax or a knife to a gunfight. And nobody is saying that you are better off using an axe as a weapon in situations where a gun is called for. But if hand-to-hand combat wasn't a possibility even in this laser guided bomb age of ours, why does the military still teach it? If there was no call in the sandbox for a tool like this one, nobody would make it. Yet here it is. See if Daniel sells any.

ishawooa

I know many people don't allow axes in mountain hunting camps but I always take my old Estwing. It probablay is not the best choice metallurgically speaking but you can't break the handle. Obviously the best ax with no handle is reduced to a difficult to use knife. Judging by the design and construction Daniel must agree. I really like his work and figure that handling one would make me start reaching for the checkbook. Might be handy when ole griz comes a callin' at midnight.

Pete

On the History Channel show Modern Marvels the axe was covered. One segement was on an hatchet be made for and used by service personel in Afganistan. They demonstrated their effectivness in cutting a hole in the top of a car and using the spike to pull open doors and go through a wall. These hatchets did not have wood handles, but were all metal with some type of wrapped handle I think. I wonder if this the same person making these hatchets.

Clay Cooper

I wish I had a nickel for every kid at school that stuck their tongue on a flag pole this winter! And how many times they were told not to do it?

Bella

Sure are purty 'hawks there, me I prefer the kukhri knife for general field use. I have a few of 'em. The cheapest one is a Cold Steel Kukhri, a tough blade but not pretty with a rubber grip. My most dear, prettyest one is Damascus steel (how I love ZDamascus steel) with stag grips and a big "S" shaped brass guard. I have a supposed mililtary issue Ghurka, but the steel is better in my modern versions.
I also enjoy my Estwing crack hammer (fer when I bash the rocks)although my nicest Estwing is a little pocketknife that holds a fantastic edge. OOOh Swedish engineering....




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