Well it was documented that while not being a camp tool, they were used, albeit not on a regular basis, but were considered functional. Otherwise the brass versions would not have had a steel edge inserted into the blade. A lot of work just for show. Further Simon Kenton had a depressed portion of his skull, where he was hit in the head with the pipe side of such a hawk, while trying to escape from Shawnee. The circular edge of the pipe bowl popped a round portion of the skull loose and slightly downward, beneath the damaged scalp tissue, both of which eventually healed, but the depression remained.I think that the hollow handle would not take the strain / impact of using it to split kindling! they are just for show, not for go !!!!
if that is what it was made for- then why was it a pipe?You might not split kindling with a pipe hawk, but it can do a bit of damage to flesh and blood. And that’s what it was made for.
A hanger or such could have a fancy hilt and might even have gold wire inlays in the blade. Not real good for cutting up dinner, but far from ceremonial only.
Think of the pipe hawk, especially the ones made of brass with steel bits as an Indian version of a dualing pistol, or officers sword.