Tuesday, June 15, 2021

2021 CLA Live Auction: Hand forged Small Axe by Mel Hankla


This finely crafted hand forged wrought iron tomahawk is from the workshop of Mel Hankla. This is a nice sized little axe; the head is 4 3/4 inches by 2 1/2 inches with a neat hammer poll. The attention to authenticity is remarkable.

The body of the axe is wrought iron. The cutting edge is forged of a high carbon steel tine from an old horse drawn hay rake.  The same tine material was also used to face the hammer poll.  The forge welding on this piece is finely done.  The early patterned head has Mel’s touch marks. 

The haft is just over a foot long.  The curly maple has been stained with aqua fortis and heat blushed. An authentic linseed oil finish sets off the silver wire inlay in the haft.

Mel is a noted historian, author, artist, lecturer, and a leading authority on the Kentucky frontier. He is a founding member of the Contemporary Longrifle Association.  He also serves on the CLF Board of Directors.  His well-known meticulous attention to detail shows in this fine small axe for the 25th Anniversary Auction.  

Mel Hankla’s contact information is melhankla@amhiss.com


Photography by David Wright

Text by Heinz Ahlers

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