Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wish-Lusr: American Kami / Boker - Chickenhawk



US Fathers Day was coming up, and so was my birthday. This got me to thinking about shiny things to add to my collection, things I've thus far considered extravagant — but are perfect for my adoring tribe to buy me. First published on Breach Bang Clear in time for Father's day, here:


One such item is a piece from one of my favorite bladesmiths: D.J. Urbanovsky of American Kami. I already have one of his Super Colubris knives . It's my go-to camping kitchen knife and is on my hip at most outdoor cooking events. No ham is safe from me and my AK.



Something that always catches my eye when sorting through the American Kami range are his badass axes. As only an occasional lumberman and recreational camper, I've never had the practical need of a very expensive bespoke axe (much as I may have lusted after them). Things changed when D.J. released his line of smaller tomahawk-sized axes, in the Micraxes and heftier maniaxes.

Suddenly they are in my dilettante price range!



Grunts: dilettante.

Better still, just recently D.J.'s CHickenHawk tomahawk was picked up by Boker Plus for mass production. This is great news for us collectors who want a piece of the man's work, but don't need (or cannot finance) the man's actual blood, sweat and tears in the grooves of our chopper. I'm quite happy to have some German factory worker's skin cells stuck in mine. Anyway, this frees D.J. up to design and build new pieces of badass steel.



Sitting at an overall length of just over 9", the Chicken Hawk is significantly more versatile in terms of transportation and carrying options than a classically proportioned tomahawk. My current go-to tomahawk is my Boker Tomahook . You may not care, but it's my article so I'm going to tell you anyway.

The Tomahook sits at a hefty 18 1/8" overall, taking up a fair about of pack and hip space. The Boker Chickenhawk features full-body 440C steel construction, and is sandwiched between G-10. For those of you with deeper pockets, the American Kami hand-made version is cut from 6.3mm thick D2 steel making for an essentially indestructible tactical tool.

With its main cutting edge length of 2 1/4 in. (though still in keeping with we've seen from D.J. in the past), the axe head is also dressed along the top edge all the way to the eye. The concept is rounded out by the impact element formed on the pommel. Weighing in at a not insubstantial 576 g (1.3 lbs), it has the mass to make its presence known.



The ergonomically shaped handle not only supports classic hacking, but also permits a securely chocked grip for detailed work, be it for whittling, scraping or cutting. Not to mention levering if popping Masterlock Padlocks is something within your remit to do.



The Boker Chickenhawks feature a thick spikes pick at the butt, but some of the American Kami version featured the alternate hammer face. I'm of two minds about this; hammers are excellent tools and effective at delivering impact force, but a well made, tempered spike can save your regular fixed blade knife from being used inappropriately. If I had to choose just one from a pair of near twin, I think I'd pick the spike over the hammer.



The included Kydex sheath with strap cannot only be carried on the belt or gear but also under the arm. These early models (not in my collection) have eyelets for simple paracord lacing attachment, but the Boker Plus production runs have a multi-point lacing construction for attaching them to packs, belts or chest rigs. I think I'd like to see how running one in the arm-pit would work for me and my adventures on and off trail.


The Chicken Hawk is a beautifully designed and executed, vicious but sensible looking little axe that I'd very much like to add to my collection, should any of my family be thinking of ways to treat me this coming Fathers Day, to save myself from socks or pouches (another favorite). Knowing the quality of the American Kami originals and the Boker Plus mass-productions pieces, I'm happy to recommend anyone interested in one of these to get in there and add one to your tool collection (or that of your dad's).

If you're planning to get your Nathaniel "Hawk-eye" Bumppo or Ragnar Lodbrok on (or you think your old man will), you could do far worse than having one of these at your hip or tucked unobtrusively under your arm.









No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...