Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Pipe Tomahawk by Francis Slyker

Art DeCamp sent us the following message after seeing this posted on the blog this morning:
When I saw the tomahawk on today's Blog, I realized it belongs to a friend of mine, Frank Slyker.  He is the son of the maker of the tomahawk.  I contacted him to alert him about the posting, and he sent back this description about the tomahawk that his father made back in 1941.  Thought you might be interested.

Here are Frank Slyker's comments:
I have brought that tomahawk to my KRA table a few times and to the Artisan’s Show once, long ago.  I also contributed it to the CLA Display a few years ago, which is probably where Art Riser photographed it.  It would have been much better displayed if I had polished the silver inlays, however, I have become accustomed t not polishing the rifle brass and so I never gave it any thought.
It is a physical duplicate of an original, one of three believed to have been presentation pieces at the Treaty of Greenville, and likely made by the Lancaster gunsmiths.  The originals have more inlays, more silver, but in the character of Dad’s.  The one he copied is now in the Detroit Institute of Art, another in the Cranbrook Institute (Birmingham, MI) collection and the third in the Smithsonian History of the American Indian (or something) Museum.   The latter was formerly the Heye Foundation in New York. It is illustrated in Peterson’s American Indian Tomahawks one time, the first two were owned by Milford Chandler, of Flint and Detroit.  Not many people know the name any longer, but ask Lally or Rex!  
Mr. Chandler was a remarkable and interesting man, who for many years had a standing invitation to Dinner at home.  We probably saw him ½ - 2/3 of the time.  Also, for a period of time, a large part of his collection was stored in our garage.  The most incredible treasures!  So, in 1941, with the tomahawk at home and Mr. Chandler to help, they made that tomahawk.  Mr. Chandler was a skillful blacksmith, and in this case Dad the helper.  Between them they forged the head out of a heavy wall rifle barrel (believe it or not, I was told a Harry Pope rifle!).  It is a fairly large tomahawk.  I remember it well, because as a three and a half year old, I had to watch from the basement stair landing since sparks were flying around.  Then Dad did all the finishing, except for the engraving on the steel.  I had Larry Parker engrave both their names, separated by 1941, on the front edge of the blade.  This was at Dixon’s, where he used to demonstrate in the upper tent.  I wished afterward that I had asked him to use Roman letters, but I had neglected to do so.

Photographed at the 2016 CLA Show by Jan Riser.

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