For the longest time I had been looking for a survival hawk. In some circles it is believed that the hawk is the ideal survival tool and the support for this view is at least 5,000 years old. After years of research with regard to the Iceman, the Neolithic mummy found frozen in the Alps with all his gear, the archeological and forensic evidence suggests that his bronze hand axe was his most used and treasured tool. Quite an endorsement from a time when all the world was wilderness.

Today’s woodsman may find the hawk to be his tool of choice as well. The tomahawk head is lighter than a belt axe, yet when mounted on a long handle of 18 to 19 inches, it can be swung with great speed and force. This makes the hawk a ferocious chopper and well suited to woods work, disjointing game and self-defense. By choking up on the handle, the hawk is highly maneuverable, making it excellent for skinning as well as carving and shaving wood. Unlike a hatchet, if a handle is broken, a hawk head can be quickly removed and a new handle fashioned and fitted in no time. In a survival situation this can be crucial.

The Price Is Right!
You would think that a survival hawk wouldn’t be hard to find for a guy who frequents rendezvous, trappers’ gatherings and blackpowder events. Hawks abound at such places but none met my standard for a survival hawk, a tool that, along with a sturdy folder or modest belt knife, could perform all tasks vital for survival in remote wilderness. I was getting discouraged and then one of the guys from a forum I frequent posted a site for a young maker named Devin Price at I hit the key, searched around a little and found my hawk.

How seriously Devin takes his work and the conditions for which his hawks are built were evident in his description of his Warbeast, the top of Devin’s line. “This is the heavy, multiple-use, crash-survival upgrade of the Warhawk. Named the Warbeast by those who got the original custom hawks, and designed after many consultations with folks who live and work in bad environments and fly things that get shot down in places they don’t really want to be.” This sort of product description caught my eye and inspired me to call Devin and find out more about his work.

Devin was an apprentice to Bob “Two Hawks” Thalmann, who was well known in circles where hard-core edged tools are a necessity. Bob passed away and with the blessing of Bob’s family, Devin took over the forge. Devin forges and grinds as Bob did, working with 6150 vandom-spring steel. Hawks are oil hardened and tempered so that they Rc at 57. The handles are flame grained and buffed to prevent blisters or splinters. An option that I chose for my hawk is the “wraprist” thong made from military rap cord. This provides a thicker handle and a sure grip under all conditions.

On The Warpath
From the eight styles of hawks that Devin offers, the hawk I ordered was the Warhawk, as it fulfilled my requirements as a complete survival tool. The Warhawk feels weightless on the belt or in the pack, yet is a powerful chopper, ideal for shelter building and splitting kindling. With a Rockwell at 57, the Warhawk takes a super edge, holds it and re-sharpens readily, allowing for the Warhawk to do substantial knife work as well. And just as history has taught us from ancient times to Rogers Rangers to today’s warriors, a well-made hawk is a most effective weapon against all two- and four-legged, who intend to do harm.

As I wanted to partner my hawk with a compact belt knife, I was pleased that Devin made a terrific knife as well as his hawks. Devin offers a range of practical knife patterns and works with 1095, 5160, O1 and his own Damascus steel. He handles his knives in a variety of materials from horn to hardwoods. His sheaths are heavy, stitched leather. The very sturdy, 3.5-inch-bladed belt knife in O1 that Devin provided me was the perfect partner to the Warhawk, completing the ideal survival combo. For more information on Devin Price visit or call 417-935-2571.

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