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Cold Steel 90TA Trail Boss Drop Forged Tomahawk 23" Overall

Customer Reviews 4.500 Read 8 reviewsWrite a Review
Part Number: CS90TA
Manufacturer: Cold Steel Knives
Retail Price: $46.99
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$28.95
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CS90TA: Trail Boss
Cold Steel

The Trail Boss is light and compact enough to carry all day in your hand or strapped to your pack, yet heavy and tough enough for chores that would make a hatchet or tomahawk scream for mercy. Featuring a European style head with a 4” blade and a 4 1/2” cutting edge, it takes a big bite with every swing. Plus it comes with an extra stout straight-grained Hickory handle.

Extensively field-tested by Lynn C. Thompson on a month long hunting trip in the outback of Australia, the Trail Boss was really put to the test. He used it to chop kindling, clear roads and trails, to build blinds and even to chop down a fair sized Gidgee Tree (one of the hardest woods found down under).

Drop Forged Tomahawks

These superb tomahawks are precision drop forged from 1055 Carbon steel. Drop forging is, without doubt, the best method of manufacture for any impact weapon, particularly one with a cutting edge. During the forging process a metal ingot is heated almost white hot and then formed into shape in a series of progressive dies. The large steel dies are fixed to enormous compressed air hammers. Each die hammers the hot metal into a gradually more finished shape. The steel is kneaded and compressed into a completely homogenous mass making the grain structure uniform and minimizing gas pockets or other imperfections that can ruin the construction of a hand forged hawk. This is why most good axes, hatchets, and hammers are drop forged.

These hawks are differentially heat treated. This means that the cutting edge and hammer face is fully hardened, while the balance is left relatively soft to absorb the shock of striking blows.

Specifications
  • Primary Edge: 4.5"
  • Overall: 23"
  • Hawk: 6.5"
  • Weight: 41.5 oz.
  • Made in China
Drop forged 1055 carbon steel with straight grain American Hickory handles. Weights are approximate.
Wood Handles
Wood Handles
Provides a traditional, natural look and feel to a modern tool. Wood absorbs shock well and is popular in axe handles.
4.500 (8 reviews)
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5 out of 5
Peter
Akron, Oh
Mar 10, 2013
Pros: Head Material, Balance, Construction, Weight, Handle Material
Cons: None
All The Right Stuff
I waited twice as long as advertised for this most excellent small forest type axe. When I got it I chopped down a 10" diameter, 50' tall tree that was water logged, which was not only heavy but incompressible, which slightly rolled the edge. Given how much force acted on it, a slight roll is nothing. In short, the axe met and surpassed all my expectations. I knew buying it that I'd have to make a sheath. I plan to keep it in my wife's car, take on camping trips and short backpacking trips.
4 out of 5
Richard H.
Boston MA
May 26, 2012
Pros: Weight, Balance
Cons: None
Best $30 axe you're likely to find.
First, this isn't a tomahawk. The swell at the end of the haft makes that obvious enough. Tomahawks are lighter, and straight handled with no wedge securing the handle so it can be replaced easily (being prone to breaking when being thrown.) This is an axe made by the Tomahawk division of Cold Steel. The idea here was pretty simple- make a good backpacking axe at as low a price as possible. The handle on mine was okay. The grain orientation is perfectly parallel to the bit. Obviously, there will be variation on that, but it shows good quality control. On the other hand, my handle is most sapwood with a sliver of sapwood going down its side. This isn't a huge issue, but can supposedly be a liability. The head is more or less a Hudson Bay pattern, and on mine the paint hid an inadequate finish on the steel. There is some slight, though not problematic pitting. It does mean rusting will more easily damage the axe significantly. I've seen others who haven't had this problem, though. Same variation goes for the edge. Quite a few seem to have come sharp. Mine came blunt, and I had to spend probably two hours getting it adequately sharp (and a little extra getting it shaving sharp, just for the hell of it). I don't mind that at all, personally, but some may not like having to go to the trouble. The balance of the axe is fine. You can work for a pretty good length of time without getting tired, and it isn't awkward at any point along the handle. As far as performance: I haven't used it for chopping (I prefer sawing for that). I've used it for splitting and carving dead Birch. It kept a good edge, and I was having plenty of fun, so if there were any big issues, I didn't notice them. Ultimately, if you don't have an axe and you've been looking for one, there's no reason you should need anything much more than this.
5 out of 5
Oni The Ogre
Las Vegas, NV
May 25, 2011
Pros: Head Material, Balance, Construction, Weight, Handle Material
Cons: None
High value axe but it needs some sharpening out of the box
Normally I would give a four to products that need sharpening out of the box, but for the low price and amazing capability of this product bump it right back up to a five. This axe is light enough to backpack with but the head has enough weight and the handle ergonomics are outstanding. I would like to see a sheath with it, but most axes have either no sheaths or a horrendously cheap ones so I can't really dock it for that. ProTip: It does come with a small blade cover so you can put a sweatband around that and have a decent approximation of a sheath and a sweatband to use while chopping wood.
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