Inspired by originals made by the frontier blacksmith Joseph Jourdain in the first half of the 19th century, the above tomahawk was hand crafted in 2021 by Iron John Logan. The beautifully browned head is traditionally forged and filed from gun barrel and high carbon steel. Decorated with pewter dot inlays it is engraved with Iron John Logan's touchmark on one side and the date on the other (XXI "21") to set it apart from original tomahawks. The traditionally faux figured hickory handle is inlayed with both poured and hand set pewter inlays along with a pewter washed copper headstock. The handle is drilled for a functioning pipe with a poured pewter mouth piece and is plugged with a hand turned pewter washed brass stopper. Measures 8 x 21-1/2 inches. This tomahawk was featured on the Contemporary Maker's blog Feb 2021 https://contemporarymakers.blogspot.com/2021/02/tomahawk-by-john-logan.html?fbclid=IwAR0EcGO0D5FjL9DRv1ZTpxupnVNl97xz2k5EFl3ggfOBIipfu49OhCfYaK4
Joseph Jourdain was a prominent frontier blacksmith who served at the Green Bay Indian Agency from 1798 to his death in 1866. His tomahawks are known for his signature "pillow" moldings and a crescent moon copper inlay on the bit behind the edge. Today they are highly sought after by collectors for exhibiting the paramount in early/mid 19th century "pre-reservation" style.
According to one first hand account, Jourdain forged his pipe tomahawks from gun barrels same as I do: "The pipe tomahawks he made from old gun barrels were marvels of the smith's art." (History of Winnebago County (1908), p. 289).
For this tomahawk I choose to use 'lesser' materials as one may have seen on the wild frontier in the 1830s and 40s. Straight grained hickory stained in a traditional manner to imitate fancy figured or "tiger stripe" maple, pewter (a tin alloy) instead of silver, a "used" finish and patina of age. It was a fun and rewarding project to study the creations of one of the greats of the greats. SOLD