Punch, Drift or Mandrel????

Punch, Drift or Mandrel

For Hawks and other stuff

For some reason there seems to be some confusion on these terms, especially when it comes to tomahawks. SO… let’s take a look at some definitions first.

punch is a hard metal rod with a shaped tip at one end and a blunt butt end at the other, which is usually struck by a hammer. In forging a punch is used to create a hole in the work-piece. Sometimes a chisel can be used to cut and then open a hole.

drift "punch" is misleadingly named; it is not used as a punch in the traditional sense of the term. A drift in forging is used to enlarge and shape a hole to a specific dimension or shape. Unlike a punch, a drift usually has a slightly taper to smaller on the stuck end to insure that it falls through your work-piece.

mandrel is an object used to shape and size work. An example of one type of mandrel is a shaped bar of metal inserted in, or next to, an item to be machined or bent in a certain pattern. Another example of this type of mandrel is found in jewelry manufacturing, where ring and bracelet mandrels are used to shape metal into a desired size and shape

It is easy to see how a drift or a mandrel might get used interchangeably, but never as a punch.

Hawk Head forging methods:

  • One of the old methods for making tomahawks was to wrap around a piece of round bar. Perhaps add a piece of spring steel or file to the cutting edge as the two halves are forge-welded together. Then close down around the tomahawk mandrel.
  • Another method commonly used today is the punching or slitting method. The stock is either punched or slitted to make the initial hole, at which point the hole is either drifted to larger round or is closed upon the mandrel to get the size and shape to fit the handle.

Size to fit handle?????

Obviously there are many types and sizes of hawk handles. One hawk mandrel will likely fit many sizes of handle depending on where the hawk head is placed on the mandrel prior to the fitting process. In many cases using the top most portion of the mandrel will not work as it may be larger than the top of the handle.

Send me you processes for tomahawk making for our next blog.