Does anyone actually smoke with their ‘hawk?

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Red Owl

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I think they were mostly a trade item for the native tribes. I don't smoke but on rare occasions I'll take a puff- pipe hawks are not very good for smoking but then again the natives had their own tobacco mixes. BY THE WAY..I was in Western NY near Buffalo and saw some tobacco about 5' high- it looked like the lower leaves were being picked and the plant allowed to keep growing. I wonder how the tribes really did it.
On the hole through the pipe. if you are a frame carpenter and need to drill a hole through a floor joist, the time honored deal is dead center- the last place most folks would pick. When a heavy load is placed on the joist the top half is in compression and the bottom half wants to pull apart and in dead center it is a neutral force. I'm guessing the dead center hole in a pipe hawk might be similar. In any event I chop with my pipe hawk- never had a problem.
 

LongWalker

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I've been smoking mine with the current handle for ~35 years. In that time I've also used it to split kindling, won a couple of throwing matches with it, and IIRC even used this one to field dress a deer once.
 

Notchy Bob

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Regarding tobacco, there are many varieties but the commonly cultivated ones are of two general types, namely Hicks or broadleaf, and burley. The broadleaf varieties are typically grown in the Deep South and Florida, and the burleys farther north. The broadleaf varieties ripen from the bottom up, and the leaves are "cropped" as they ripen. My first regular job was cropping tobacco, when I was 14. I did it every summer until I graduated from high school. We would go through a field and take off the ripe leaves, and by the following week, it would be ready to go through again. This would be repeated for up to six or so croppings. This, by the way, is the dirtiest, sweetie st, nastiest, most back-breaking work ever invented.

The burley tobaccos are typically harvested by cutting off the entire plant at once. Friends of mine, the more adventurous sorts, would go up the country, into Kentucky, the Carolinas, and Virginia, even into Canada, to work harvesting the burley tobaccos. I stayed closer to home, and finished out my summer "vacations" working in the tobacco warehouses, with the cured leaves.

As for pipe axe handles, it is my understanding that these were generally made of ash, in much the same way regular pipe stems were made by the native people. Ash saplings have a small, central pith. When the Indians could get metal wires and rods, a straightened rod could be heated in a fire and then used to burn out the pith from the billet of ash wood. I made several pipes and stems when I was much younger. You can only burn a little at a time, and you have to keep reheating the rod for every pass. Ernest Thompson Seton wrote that steel or iron gun cleaning rods were used for this purpose. Sumac was also used for regular pipestems, and it is a lot easier to work with than ash. I doubt it would be strong enough for an axe that would be used for chopping or fighting, though.

What did they do before they had metal rods? That would have been before they had metal tomahawks, too. For pipe stems, I have heard of using slender pieces of split cane to ream out the pith from ash or sumac, but I believe the more general practice was to split the wood billet, scrape out the central pith, and glue the split pieces back together with hide glue.

Best regards,

Notchy Bob
 
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.36Rooster

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Quite an impressive store. i go there quite often. The number and quality of the historical literature offered in their book collection is the best in the state, and probably among many states.

Interestingly, wall drug, the pharmacy turned western mall has quite an impressive collection of books of this nature as well; along with a hall containing thousands of black and white photos from the 1870's, mostly of lakota, US calvary, gold rush, cowboy, and frontier life. I spent a couple hours one day staring at photos studying the scenes and identifying accoutrements, and imagining.
 
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