I decided to revisit the AC tomahawk that I had made a while back.
I wanted to sit down and put a bit more time into this remake, resize it correctly (the other one was too big for a traditional tomahawk) , and well as try out a different approach to the build.
(Please note that on these, you might see a couple of different woods on the handle.. that was because I initially planned on just remaking one for myself, but then changed it up because I later decided to mold it. The techniques used are similar though.)
Of course, first things first! I did the layout using Inkscape, a nice open source vector program
After transferring it to the wood, I cut it out, and used a belt sander to shape it to the outline. I followed that up with rasps and files to achieve the desired rounded shape. I took into consideration the fact that the handle would be wrapped, so that area was shaped a little smaller than I normally would have. The diamonds were sketched on as well. The axe end (bottom left end) was shaved down more since the photo was taken
Once deciding on molding this, I wound up remaking the handle using poplar (softer & faster to shape), then used a woodburning tool to burn a woodgrain texture into it to make the wood look more like wood when I cast the handle. It would look like a plastic stick otherwise
The diamonds were done in the same fashion, please excuse the shift back to the red oak stick, its the only photo I have of the diamonds.
I decided on trying a different approach, since I had recently purchased a fancypants laser cutter.
I cut the contour of the head out of acrylic, sculpted one side out of Super Sculpey, and used a heat gun to cure it to cut down on warpage that would result should I toss that hunk of acrylic in the oven. The box was used to help circulate the hot air around the piece for a more even bake (it worked!)
When it was hard enough to sand, I used files and sandpaper to smooth down and refine the shape, working up to 1000 grit sandpaper. I decided to keep the head fairly thick to keep it sturdy, obviously convention safe, and in case I wanted to try molding this thing on foam as a larp prop. It was designed so you won’t notice unless you look at it edge on.
A groove was cut into the poplar, and the head was slotted in. The pointed end was cut off, ad was replaced by the mdf one, since I thought it turned out well, and there as no point in remaking that AGAIN. Lots of Bondo and sanding took place to make the “cuff” that the handle would go through. With more references, I thought I’d try the more angular approach with the design.
Though many spray paints eat Super Sculpey, I’ve found that rustoleum’s stainless steel pro paint doesn’t as long as you thoroughly bake the clay also dries quickly, fills in smaller cracks, and can sand smooth without clogging up sandpaper. (Also, buffing with 0000 steel wool and a tshirt can produce really sexy results)
Molding time! The last thing i molded (an ac1 short knife) leaked something godawful, so I added a groove around the whole danged thing. This is a basic and cheapo non sulfur based clay, which doesn’t inhibit curing of the silicone mold I’ll be making with it. The box around it are glossy promo flyers that I had a ton of. While at it, I also prepped a single part mold of a button for a Connor costume.
The handle was also glued down to a board, and silicone with thinner was added to make sure all of the details are captured.
I cut a postal tube in half, and covered the inside with packing tape , then taped the halves together. This was slipped over the handle, glued to the base and filled with more silicone.
The tube was opened up, and the handle was removed by cutting down the silicone with an exacto blade. I then put the mold back in the tube, rubber banded it up, and poured resin I had tinted into it. To strengthen it, I held a threaded metal rod in the top opening until it set (took about 5 minutes or so to set). Any excess resin at the top was cut off as soon as the handle is set enough to demold, when it is still soft and easy to cut through.
After the first half of the mold was poured and allowed to fully cure, I cleaned out the clay, and brushed the mold with Sonite wax. I’ve also used Vaseline, and Ease release 200, which both work well, but I like Sonite the most so far. This will help the halves separate.
The other half was molded in Mold Max 30 because I ran out of Rebound. The shrinkage is very slightly different (the molds wound up shrinking maybe about 1 mm more on the mold max half), but the grooves that were put in to align the halves are keeping them from becoming a leaky unusable mess.
Once demolding was done, I powdered the mold halves with Extra brilliant aluminum powder.
I poured the first half (I believe this time around, I used Smoothcast 300 ) and partially poured the first half. Once it set enough, I tacked some metal reinforcements down with crazy glue to hold them in place while I close up the mold and poured the rest.
Once the rest was poured, I did some finger crossing while demolding, and found that the casting turned out quite nicely. There is one spot that likes to trap a buble (up by the cuff), but a little Bondo takes care of that. There was minimal leaking/flashing, and the alignment was great! Not much to clean up here!
Here’s a test tomahawk head that was thoroughly sanded to see if I needed to make any adjustments to the casting process.
Here is the handle, trimmed and ready for painting. I also molded the little “cap” and pour that during the same time I pour the handle, since its difficult to mix the same exact brown color with each pour. I also primered the tomahawk head and drilled a hole for the rod to be inserted.
I didn’t document the painting process this time around, so I’m just copying and pasting the painting part of the previous build. The main difference is that I had gone back afterwards and drybrushed the blade to give it a more weathered and worn feel, and of course, the head was shaped differently! After masking the handle, I laid down a couple coats of Krylon Satin black.
When it was reasonably dry, but not FULLY dry (a quick tap with a finger doesn’t stick), I rubbed aluminum metallic powder onto the surface to give it a more worn metal look. I’ve been using powders from www.glandmp.com
After going through tons of different clear sealers, looking for one that doesn’t completely dull out silver (or turn it grey), I found Testors Metallizer sealer (item 1459) actually works, with minimal dulling. Its a pain to get though, comes in tiny bottles, and isn’t cheap around me unfortunately. I *do* like it though. An alternative is future floor polish.
The handle was wrapped in deerskin, leather straps, beads and cording at the base of the handle was done, and lots of drybrushing was done to weather the piece. I also thought it would be neat to gouge the head up a little bit as well (this was done before painting though) Here’s the finished project!