In the past, Native Americans were able to build impressive structures by using stone tomahawks. They made these tomahawks for centuries and used them as all-purpose tools for building, hunting, and protecting their homes and families. Several techniques were used by Native Americans to make these tomahawks. By following these steps, you can learn how to make a Native American stone tomahawk.
Materials to make a stone Tomahawk
To make a stone tomahawk, you will need a “blank.” While you can choose almost any type of rock, the time it will take to shape it will depend on its composition and its shape. Choose a large enough rock to allow for errors during the shaping process. It is best to look for a stone that has a similar shape to what the end product will look like to aid in the shaping process. The rock should be hard, free from cracks, and finely grained. Pick a rock that has a smooth surface and that feels heavy for its size.
After you have found the rock that you will shape into the head, find another rock that is harder than the rock that you will shape. The harder rock is what you will use to shape the blank rock. Finally, you will also need a log or other strong board to use as a work surface while you shape your tomahawk head.
Shaping the blank
Place the blank on the log or board and hold it in place. With your other hand, use the second rock to pound on the blank until it is approximately the shape of a tomahawk head. Make sure not to pound so hard that you break the stone that you are shaping.
Forming a groove
You will next want to form a groove that will be used to tie the tomahawk head to your handle. Carefully pound in a groove around three-quarters back from the blade area. The groove should extend about halfway around the top of the head to its bottom.
Sharpening the edge of the blade
After you have pounded the stone into the shape of an tomahawk head, you will want to sharpen the blade’s edge. Use a rock that has an abrasive surface to grind the blade’s edge. This could be a granite or sandstone rock. Grind by pushing the sandstone across the blade’s edge away from your body. You should anticipate the grinding process to take a long time. Once you are finished sharpening the blade, rub the entire edge with a smooth sandstone while holding it at a 20-degree angle.
After you are finished with the tomahawk head, you will need to fasten it to a handle. If you want to make your own handle, choose a sturdy branch that is thick but that still fits comfortably in your hand. Cut it to the size that you want, cut a notch in the wood that will hold the stone, whittle off the bark, and smooth the surface of the handle with sandstone to prevent splintering. To bind the handle to your stone head, use a leather cord or rawhide. Wet the leather so that it will be easier to work with and will stiffen after it dies. Securely wrap your tomahawk head with the leather or rawhide cord, binding it to the handle by wrapping the cord both vertically and horizontally through the pounded groove and around the handle.
Creating a stone tomahawk can allow you to gain a new appreciation for the ingenuity of ancient Native American people. You can display it in your home or even use it as a handy tool. To learn more about other Native American weaponry including spears and hatchets, visit our website www.kachinahouse.com or call us at 800-304-3290.