I’m into blades these days. Mostly folding knives, but if the right fixed blade catches my eye, I’ll pull the trigger. I wasn’t expecting a tomahawk to catch my eye, but I’ve got a soft spot for tools that remind me of the glory days of manhood.
One glimpse of the Woods Chogan in all its stripped down glory elicits that feeling of ruggedness and self-determination reminiscent of the days when men had to make, grow, or kill whatever they needed.
I bought the Woods Chogan for the nostalgia alone. It looks like a man’s tool. It looks hand carved and forged. It lacks any of the modern feel of laser cuts and pretense. Nothing against that; I like technological improvement and a little flash once in a while. But when it comes to hard work, I don’t think anyone can argue that we’ve got it easier now and, as a result, we might be a little less tough.
I have a confession to make: I’m (still) not yet the outdoorsman I want to be.
So, reading the specs about the carbon steel head and the Tennessee hickory handle sounded cool, but I don’t know what the hell any of that actually means. I bought it because it looked badass and I like having gear around.
Fast forward two weeks and I’m going camping. I decide to ditch the cheap, Walmart hatchet and leave behind the flashy but ineffective tomahawks I owned previous to the Woods Chogan. We’re going to sink or swim based on our confidence that CRKT produces useful, substantive tools.
I immediately gain a deeper understanding of the phrase “a solid chunk of 1055 carbon steel that is hot forged into a rock-solid head and features a hammer finish”; for others like me who may be learning the ways of the woods, what this means is, “logs fear it so much they split themselves.”
I mowed through logs like I was hungry and they were made out of pizza. Splitting wood was, given the size of the tool, nearly effortless. Nearly severing my left index finger was, likewise, nearly effortless.
I noticed two other things over the course of the weekend:
- The handle is actually more comfortable than those cheap plastic/foam covers over metal. At first you think it might end up hurting worse. It did wear a bit. But, unlike every experience I’ve had previous, it never got worse. I didn’t develop blisters. My hand never cramped. It was a far more comfortable experience.
- I did not want to stop chopping wood. Normally the goal is to gather and prep enough wood so I can sit and watch a fire for the weekend. This time I was looking for reasons to hack away. Having the right tool for the job, and not having to overcompensate for lousy craftsmanship, really ups the enjoyability of physical work.
Can you get cheaper tomahawks/hatchets? Clearly. Even at Amazon’s $40, it’s still not cheap. But, would you rather spend $40 for a tool that’s effective, sturdy, and well made or spend a lot more buying and re-buying that cheap crap because, well, it’s cheaper. In the long run, it’s not really cheaper. And your back is more sore. And your hands are more blistered. And your logs are still more whole.
Nope. I’m newer to this than some of you, but in my estimation, there are not many tools finer than this for a portable, backwoods application.
And speaking of CRKT, and since I can’t stop talking about this knife, you should check this out: CRKT’s Graphite.