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Author Topic: Flint knapping  (Read 33796 times)

Offline Watcherofthewoods

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2007, 10:57:48 AM »
WOW swede you are amazing
Complain less, breathe more.

It isn't until man is quiet that nature will speak.

In the silence and solitude of the night is when you truely find yourself.

Offline antagonizer

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #41 on: August 29, 2007, 08:51:39 PM »
hey swede,
I'll trade you some Canada goose feathers for some of that clean white chert.  I've got some nice wing tips and tail feathers, all legal.  I haven't been able to find any show white since we mostly get brown and a little black.
"Aut Viam Invenium Aut Faciam"  - Hannibal of Carthage

"Memento Te Esse Mortalum" - Epitaph on gravestone in Salem Mass.

Offline Swede

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #42 on: October 24, 2007, 10:12:38 AM »
Lets go over some tips about flint knapping.

Here I have a piece of chert that I found on a campsite. At first glace its just a piece of flint left over but lets look closser.>



Here you can see some chipping that isnt a natural occurrence  >



Here is an example of a "hinge fracture" this occures when a blow or chip doesnt have suffencient energy to break completely accross. Propper preparation before the blow was not successful.>



This may be because of "problem areas" these areas are different elements within the rock its self. Since chert is a product of lime stone and limestone is crustacean shells piled up and placed under extreme pressures over time different elements get mixed into the formation.

Theres areas are difficult to chip uniformally because they are harder. Here is an example of these areas.>



Here is the "cutting edge" the user was using as a tool. Possibly a scrapper or knife. I suspect a shapping tool for atlatl shafts.



Next I wiill show you how to attempt to repair this tool and demonstrate how it was used.
I hope the war on terror goes better then the war on drugs and the war on poverty
If you dont care where you are your never lost
Im a survivor not a victim
Its not who I am but what I do that defines me.

Offline Holly

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #43 on: October 24, 2007, 11:33:43 AM »
How in the world did you learn all this???  I'm amazed!
"Wherever you go, go with all of your heart." ~ Confucius

Offline Watcherofthewoods

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #44 on: October 24, 2007, 03:28:10 PM »
He has a big book! I am gonan try and get a copy of it!
Complain less, breathe more.

It isn't until man is quiet that nature will speak.

In the silence and solitude of the night is when you truely find yourself.

Offline nurkerool

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #45 on: October 24, 2007, 03:33:18 PM »
Hey swede.  Let me ask a couple of questions if I may.  The wife is going to learn how to do flint knapping.  She has all the stuff, elk horn, deer horn, hammerstone, canvas for chips, video to show her how, that kind of stuff.  My question is, what of these tools would it be worthwhile to carry with you, or should you just re-make them in the wild?  Kind of like once you've got a favorite knife, you'd hate to leave it behind.
"The obsidian flake and the silicon chip are struck by the light of the same campfire that has passed from hand to hand since the human mind began." - George Dyson

No matter where you go....there you are - Buckaroo Banzai

Offline Swede

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #46 on: October 24, 2007, 07:41:10 PM »
If you were thrown into the wild without any tools the best you could hope for are tools made from chert. Simply striking chert glancing blows on the edges can get some very sharp chips that can be used as knives. Actually some chips are sharper than most knives.

Some thin chips can be made by "pressure flaking" useing pointed stones and working the edges of the chips.These could be worked into points mostly for spears.

Deer antler tips are the best you can find but thats pretty slim as rodents chew up most antlers rather quickly.

If I could be lucky enough to have my knapping tools with me I would like to have a deer antler tip, a dowel with copper wire inserted in the ends, an elk or moose antler billet(hammer) and my copper billet.

The tips of the antler and the copper wire can be sharpened as needed by grinding on sandstone or other rough surfaced stone. 

Although there are several excellent books on flint knapping I reccomend The art of flint knapping by D. C Waldorf. Amazon is your best source for these books.

Ill try to video a short demonstration. It took me two years of trial and error before I could make a descent arrowhead.
I hope the war on terror goes better then the war on drugs and the war on poverty
If you dont care where you are your never lost
Im a survivor not a victim
Its not who I am but what I do that defines me.

Offline nurkerool

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #47 on: October 25, 2007, 05:31:14 AM »
Thank you very much, Swede.  We are lucky to have been friends with someone who is one of the foremost lithic experts in the country, but I think it's been a lot of years since he did any, but he can certainly tell you chapter and verse about the points you find.  That's how the wife got interested.  Of course I just wanna make something that I can get something to eat with...grin.
"The obsidian flake and the silicon chip are struck by the light of the same campfire that has passed from hand to hand since the human mind began." - George Dyson

No matter where you go....there you are - Buckaroo Banzai

Offline antagonizer

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #48 on: October 25, 2007, 12:57:49 PM »
Thank you very much, Swede.  We are lucky to have been friends with someone who is one of the foremost lithic experts in the country, but I think it's been a lot of years since he did any, but he can certainly tell you chapter and verse about the points you find.  That's how the wife got interested.  Of course I just wanna make something that I can get something to eat with...grin.

That's the absolute truth. I've learned alot about knapping, so far from Swede's messages and posts.  Prior to comming here, I knew how to break a rock into a point, that's it. Now' I'm actually getting some respectible arrow and knife heads.  A student's only as good as his teacher, and I hope to be half the knapper that Swede is.

Tho...he's been promising the video for weeks now.  :notangel:  I may have to head down there with my vid camera just to 'assist' in getting it done.
"Aut Viam Invenium Aut Faciam"  - Hannibal of Carthage

"Memento Te Esse Mortalum" - Epitaph on gravestone in Salem Mass.

Offline Watcherofthewoods

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #49 on: October 25, 2007, 01:48:45 PM »
Swede, how much would it cost to get all the tools needed, and what are all the tools needed?
Complain less, breathe more.

It isn't until man is quiet that nature will speak.

In the silence and solitude of the night is when you truely find yourself.

Offline Swede

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #50 on: October 25, 2007, 07:25:44 PM »
Swede, how much would it cost to get all the tools needed, and what are all the tools needed?
I dont have a dime in my tools I made them. Look around for some heavy solid copper wire and drill a hole in the end of a dowell rod that is about eight inches long. the hole should be no larger than the wire. All you will need is an inch or inch and a half piece of heavy copper wire. This will be your smallest pressure flaker. A deer antler tine is another good tool. It can be sharpened to a point if need be. Trial and error will guide you as to how sharp a point to put on you tools.

The base of a large deer antler works good for a billet or hammer. Round the end off like a ball.
I hope the war on terror goes better then the war on drugs and the war on poverty
If you dont care where you are your never lost
Im a survivor not a victim
Its not who I am but what I do that defines me.

Offline Swede

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #51 on: October 25, 2007, 07:32:17 PM »




Everyone go back to page one and follow along with this entire thread.
I hope the war on terror goes better then the war on drugs and the war on poverty
If you dont care where you are your never lost
Im a survivor not a victim
Its not who I am but what I do that defines me.

Offline Swede

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #52 on: October 25, 2007, 11:10:32 PM »
Why would you use deer antler and copper?
I hope the war on terror goes better then the war on drugs and the war on poverty
If you dont care where you are your never lost
Im a survivor not a victim
Its not who I am but what I do that defines me.

Offline Swede

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #53 on: October 26, 2007, 10:39:39 AM »
OK lets do something with this piece. First Ill show you how to resharpen this edge>



Work the edges with pressure chipping>



Follow with a smaller pressure flaking tool>



Next lets see what we can make with this chip. Here trial and error will guide you by looking at what material is available to work with>



Useing the copper clad ground rod and striking down and in against the vinal for a cushion and working with this brass pressure chipper I managed to chip out this design. I was correct that the hard places in the piece were tough to deal with>



Heres what I ended up with. Not a really good piece but useable. Use your small pressure chipper to make a serated edge on the sides.

I hope the war on terror goes better then the war on drugs and the war on poverty
If you dont care where you are your never lost
Im a survivor not a victim
Its not who I am but what I do that defines me.

Offline Holly

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #54 on: October 26, 2007, 10:54:39 AM »
:clap:  That is so cool, Swede!
"Wherever you go, go with all of your heart." ~ Confucius

Offline Swede

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #55 on: October 26, 2007, 10:58:23 AM »
Thanks Holly but since I moved this project to the kitchen Mrs Swede has ordered a complete clean up of her kitchen floor. Those chips are pretty sharp on bare feet.   :blush:
I hope the war on terror goes better then the war on drugs and the war on poverty
If you dont care where you are your never lost
Im a survivor not a victim
Its not who I am but what I do that defines me.

Offline nurkerool

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #56 on: October 26, 2007, 11:57:37 AM »
Swede, I got to thinking looking at these pictures of your pressure flaking.  Edgar Rice Burroughs, in one of his Tarzan books, described a process for making a knife by heating the blank (the description in the book made me think of obsidian) and then carefully dripping a drop of water on the hot material to elicit a thermal flaking. One drop per one chip, so it wouldn't be fast, but it would have the benefit of being doable without any tools.  I've never heard of this technique anywhere else, and I read about it 40 years ago and didn't think about it until just now.  It seems like a technique that might work, so I wonder if maybe he found it in some African research somewhere.
"The obsidian flake and the silicon chip are struck by the light of the same campfire that has passed from hand to hand since the human mind began." - George Dyson

No matter where you go....there you are - Buckaroo Banzai

Offline nurkerool

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #57 on: October 26, 2007, 12:09:04 PM »
From "The Beasts of Tarzan" by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Upon the shore he found an out-cropping of brittle, igneous rock.
By dint of much labour he managed to chip off a narrow sliver some
twelve inches long by a quarter of an inch thick. One edge was
quite thin for a few inches near the tip. It was the rudiment of
a knife.

With it he went into the jungle, searching until he found a fallen
tree of a certain species of hardwood with which he was familiar.
From this he cut a small straight branch, which he pointed at one
end.

Then he scooped a small, round hole in the surface of the prostrate
trunk. Into this he crumbled a few bits of dry bark, minutely
shredded, after which he inserted the tip of his pointed stick,
and, sitting astride the bole of the tree, spun the slender rod
rapidly between his palms.

After a time a thin smoke rose from the little mass of tinder, and
a moment later the whole broke into flame. Heaping some larger
twigs and sticks upon the tiny fire, Tarzan soon had quite a
respectable blaze roaring in the enlarging cavity of the dead tree.

Into this he thrust the blade of his stone knife, and as it became
superheated he would withdraw it, touching a spot near the thin
edge with a drop of moisture. Beneath the wetted area a little
flake of the glassy material would crack and scale away.

Thus, very slowly, the ape-man commenced the tedious operation of
putting a thin edge upon his primitive hunting-knife.

He did not attempt to accomplish the feat all in one sitting.
At first he was content to achieve a cutting edge of a couple of
inches, with which he cut a long, pliable bow, a handle for his
knife, a stout cudgel, and a goodly supply of arrows.
"The obsidian flake and the silicon chip are struck by the light of the same campfire that has passed from hand to hand since the human mind began." - George Dyson

No matter where you go....there you are - Buckaroo Banzai

Offline antagonizer

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #58 on: October 26, 2007, 03:30:47 PM »
Here's a question I asked you before Swede, but I'm still not quite clear on. From the looks of that piece, it has a convex side and a flat side. How do you go about thinning out the convex side to give it symetry?  I ask because it seems to be a recurring issue on about 50% of the pieces I work with.  I'm not certain how to 'flatten' an arrowhead.

Also, what are good ratio's for length, width and thickness?
"Aut Viam Invenium Aut Faciam"  - Hannibal of Carthage

"Memento Te Esse Mortalum" - Epitaph on gravestone in Salem Mass.

Offline Swede

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Re: Flint knapping
« Reply #59 on: October 26, 2007, 07:00:28 PM »
Swede, I got to thinking looking at these pictures of your pressure flaking.  Edgar Rice Burroughs, in one of his Tarzan books, described a process for making a knife by heating the blank (the description in the book made me think of obsidian) and then carefully dripping a drop of water on the hot material to elicit a thermal flaking. One drop per one chip, so it wouldn't be fast, but it would have the benefit of being doable without any tools.  I've never heard of this technique anywhere else, and I read about it 40 years ago and didn't think about it until just now.  It seems like a technique that might work, so I wonder if maybe he found it in some African research somewhere.
The heating and dropping water is utter nonsense. Think about it. How could you control the proccess. The first drop would likely crack the entire piece in half or possibly shatter into pieces. Take normal glass (not the pyrex). What would happen if you did that to glass?

The process of chipping is action reaction or sorts. The force of the blow isnt as important as the angle and preparation. Dont just hit the edges the force is inward from a "bench". Lets say the edge tapers like the cutting edge of an axe. You need to create a "bench" on a 45 degree angle and strike inward so the action is directed towards the material. Before the strike you will need to "abraid" or roughen the surface of the chert.

This makes your antler or copper to keep from sliding off the material. Thats why you use a softer tool to grab and pull off the chip.
I hope the war on terror goes better then the war on drugs and the war on poverty
If you dont care where you are your never lost
Im a survivor not a victim
Its not who I am but what I do that defines me.