Does anyone actually smoke with their ‘hawk?

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COTNTOP

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I personally don't smoke but I have a couple pipe hawks in my workshop. A good friend of mine used one to settle his nerves once and said it worked good. He even tried to buy it, told him where to buy one because it was a gift from a friend. HAHA
 

necchi

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Well, Honestly,, I've been doing rendezvous and gatherings for near 20yrs now here in MN, and I've never seen anyone do anything with a "pipe hawk".
I've seen folks carry them, I guess I have seen folks knock off split wood for cooking fires with'm.
But nope, I've never seen anyone "smoke" a pipe hawk
 

tenngun

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I’ve two, smoked them both. Metal imparts no flavor to the smoke but you get flavor from the crust that can form. Metal smokes hot. And the bowl can make the blade too hot to hold. However the long stem let’s the smoke cool.
It’s been some years sins I smoke either of them.
 

Grenadier1758

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The few times I have been involved in smoking a pipe hawk has been for ceremonial uses. The pipe is smoked to use the burning tobacco as incense to cleanse the ceremonial space. As the pipe is passed around, smoking confirms the ceremony.

While I am a nonsmoker, I do have clay pipes. When the tavern was open at Fort de Chartres for a (tobacco) smoker, everyone used their clay pipes. Smoking of tobacco indoors is no longer involved in Illinois so the smokers have ended.
 

Loyalist Dave

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27 years & 120 lbs. ago, I would sometimes play a white who had been taken as a child and adopted into the Iroquois. This was done at F&I events because at that time in my area, one rarely saw any "Indians" at F&I events.

The pipe hawk was an integral part of the council fire protocols for the Native American culture. So when we had a discussion of a "council fire" nature..., we used the pipe hawks. The basic protocol was the pipe hawk was smoked, each one his own, and no one spoke until the last of the pipes was finished and all of the pipe-hawks were on the ground at each person's side. Only then could the official speaking begin.

I haven't been part of such a ceremony and discussion for many years now, so I haven't smoked my pipe hawk since then.

LD
 

toot

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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 !!!!
 

TexiKan

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Come to think of it, no, I have not seen folks smoke with a pipe hawk. It took me years to find an old, what appears to be, authentic pipe hawk, although it is a smaller one. I have a reproduction, regular size pipe hawk that is in the process of being finished and even so, not sure if it will be smoke much at all.
 

Loyalist Dave

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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 !!!!
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.

LD
 

tenngun

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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.
 

oreclan

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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 !!!!
And for splitting heads. Reference Fort Laurens attacks during the Ohio territory expedition during the Revolutionary war.
 

toot

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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.
if that is what it was made for- then why was it a pipe?
 

tenngun

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Religious connotation. Indians smoked cause it’s fun, but also smoked as an observation of sprituality. Smoke carriers your prayers to God
The tobacco is magic.
Workin in stone a club would be a heavy pipe. A wood club would slowly but men out.
A metal tomahawk that could also carry the magic of tobacco and be ready for an evening smoke or a ceremonial prayer all in one wrap was a powerful thing.
Keep in mind trad was a two way street. Whites made stuff the Indians wanted or rejected and whites stopped making it.
These became real popular among warriors, while useable working hawks were also being sold.
 

andy52

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I've never even owned a pipe hawk they always seemed to fragile for everyday use, such as splitting wood, driving tent stakes, or even splitting a deer's pelvis bone.
 

Mad L

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Do a web search for Kinnikinnick

Some places like Crazy Crow no longer offer it due to 'tobacco laws/regulations' but there are other places to find it.
Everyone mixes different, I have had good Kinnikinnick and bad Kinnikinnick.

I prefer my Montago Bay Rum blend personally through a nice clay pipe.
 

Notchy Bob

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I have a pipe tomahawk head and handle that I bought from R.E. Davis some years ago, but I never got around to assembling and finishing it. This thread may give me incentive to do so.

I have a few references on axes and tomahawks, and most seem to indicate pipe tomahawks came on the scene around 1700, but I've gotten the impression that they really "took off" in the 19th century. Native people loved them. This is Standing Bear, a Ponca chief:

2021-07-23 (2).png


Incidentally, that tomahawk is still in existence, in the Peabody Museum. Standing Bear gave it to a lawyer who helped him out during his famous trial. The lawyer's widow later sold it, and years later it ended up in the Peabody Museum. The Ponca tribe wants the tomahawk repatriated, and this has generated a bit of controversy.

The seated man in the next picture is a Potawatomi leader named Crane. The other man was not identified:

PotawatomiChiefCraneandBrave-700.jpg


I have never smoked one, but Indians did. This is from Frederick Gerstaecker's Wild Sports in the Far West:

2021-07-23.png


Wachiga was a Cherokee hunter. Gerstaecker fell in with him and a small party of Cherokee and Choctaw men while on a bear hunt.

Interestingly, Herman Melville mentioned pipe tomahawks several times in Moby Dick (published in 1851). Queequeg, the Polynesian harpooner, was fond of smoking his:

2021-07-24.png


This quote is from Solomon Nunez Carvalho's Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West (1857). Carvalho accompanied Fremont on his last expedition, and this book is his memoir from that trip.
2021-07-23 (1).png


There is no question that tobacco was (and is) considered sacramental by many indigenous American people, but they also smoked for pleasure. Sort of like wine can be consumed in Communion, or enjoyed after dinner. The quote from Carvalho describes the Delaware scouts passing a pipe after a game. The "loser" contributed tobacco for a group smoke. In reading these various journals of travel in the far west, I have found numerous examples of councils and ceremonies that involve and usually begin with passing a pipe, but all that I have seen thus far have clearly described using a traditional stone pipe with a wooden stem. Not to say that pipe tomahawks were not used ceremonially, but I haven't seen any documentation of it yet. Stone pipes are rather fragile, but a pipe tomahawk would be much more durable. These were even carried when running buffalo! This is another quote from Carvalho, describing one of the Delaware scouts searching for a tomahawk lost while he was hunting:

2021-07-23 (4).png


One of the posts above reports a brass tomahawk with a steel bit. This suggests it must have been intended for cutting. However, I understand that the majority of the old pipe tomahawks and Missouri war axes that survive have blunt edges. They are tapered or beveled to a rounded edge, but not sharpened. This, and the fact that many are highly decorated, suggests they would not have been used much for mundane chopping chores, although they were certainly used in battle. I have read that the native fighting men used steel tomahawks more like clubs than axes, and realistically, you could do a lot of damage with a blunt axe, which would produce more of a crushing wound than a deep cut. @Loyalist Dave pointed out Simon Kenton was wounded with the pipe-bowl end of a tomahawk. With the tomahawk carried unsheathed in one's belt, a blunt edge would be less likely to injure the person carrying it. Wood cutting was considered women's work when at home, and men who were traveling light, away from home, would have likely gathered dry campfire wood that could be simply broken up, and wouldn't need a lot of chopping. They could have also done as we do now, and carried an extra light, sharp camp or trade axe specifically for firewood chores. I think the old Hudson's Bay Camp knives were designed for this sort of thing, too.

Regarding kinnikinnik , you can get the real thing, meaning red willow bark and/or bearberry leaves, from the Sioux Trading Post as well as The Taos Herb Company. Taos Herb Co. also sells a "smoking mix" that is entirely non-tobacco. I have not tried it. There are some restrictions on who can sell tobacco products by mail order these days, but you can always buy tobacco locally and mix the herbs with it yourself, if that's what you want.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 
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