Gränsfors French Trade Axe, Tomahawk


Before the arrival of the Europeans, the Native Americans lived in the Stone Age and had never seen iron objects. Their axes were made of stone. When America was discovered, the ‘trade axes’ played a major role in trade with the natives. The axes were made by the Europeans, but were soon so frequently used by the Native Americans that they came to be one of their leading symbols under the name Tomahawk.

The axes served as currency, with the Europeans trading a given number of axes for guides, bearers, leather and fur, crafts and other valuables. Most of the native tribes were nomadic and did not concern themselves with house building or chopping firewood. Thus they were not interested in the larger broad axes, carpenter’s axes or splitting axes. What they really wanted were small, handy axes that could be carried on the belt. The practical tomahawks soon became very popular and were used for hunting, as battle arms, for domestic needs and for religious rites. In close combat, the tomahawk was primarily used as a hand weapon, but the Native Americans were also skilled in axe throwing.

The word tomahawk stems from the Lenape tribe and their word tamahak, which roughly translates as ‘cutting tool’.

The tomahawks that Gränsfors Bruk forges are replicas of two basic original models – one of French and one of British origin.

Product info

  • Item no: 4991
  • Length with handle: 50 cm (19.5”)
  • Weight: 0,5 kg (1 lb)
  • Sheath in vegetable-tanned leather