Caught Knapping

So a while ago for Christmas my Mother-in-law gave me, wait for it, a box of rocks!

I ask myself, "What can be better than a box of rocks?" A box of flint and obsidian! At the time I was heavily into archery and I thought it would be interesting to learn to make arrow heads from flint. My wife told her mom about it and at Christmas I got my rocks. The only problem was I had no idea how to do anything with them. The internet had several wonderful videos, but my computer was too slow to load them so I was forced to try to make heads or tails of the multitude of webpages out there. For those of you who don't know much about flint knapping it is not an "inside" sort of activity, and it was very difficult to look at my screen, run downstairs, pick up my work and rember exactly what was on the webpage. Luckily the library had a great book on the subject which I promptly checked out and on which I currently owe almost three years of late fees. I had the book, the flint, and the desire, but what I lacked was tools. In the town where I live there are several festivals at a park near the Missouri river, and one of these is a re-enactment of the beginning of Lewis and Clark's journey. There I happened across several pieces of deer antler, which made fine tools on which to learn.

Here is the tool kit I made/accumulated:

This is a deer antler billet I made for percussion flaking. 
This is my pressure flaker, this was made from an antler tine and a piece of poplar.
Here is the leather pad that I use to protect my hand while flaking. I made this out of some scrap leather I had laying around.

Here is my very (un)primitve abrading stone. This is from a stone age bench grinder wheel.

These two pictures are me using my billet and pressure flaker on some obsidian                                               
 And now all I need is ... Practice.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting! I studied this kind of thing in a neuroscience class very briefly - we were studying handedness, and a particular researcher used the shape of stone chips to determine the proportion of people who were right or left handed in that era. From that they were able to determine that the ratio of right to left-handers was the same as it is today.