Development of a flintknapper

 

These points are shown in the order I made them. These are all the points I have successfully completed. I began flintknapping late this summer, and had spurts of progress working with the California knappers, and lately by myself.

All are “woodland type” arrowhead points, with exception of the one mahogany small spearhead point.

I used all “primitive” tools, or tools used by stone-age American Indians, not out of pretension but since such tools were made from free materials I already had – meaning I didn’t have to go buy anything like copper billets. The tools I used were mule deer and whitetail deer antlers (for pressure flaking with the tines and using the rosettes for percussion flaking billets), a basalt cobble for a hard hammerstone, sandstone cobbles for soft hammerstones and abrading, and pumice stone for abrading and sharpening my pressure flakers. I made an Ishi-stick pressure flaker from an antler tine, elderberry wood, and artificial sinew (ok not primitive but close enough). Plus I used lots of leather pads, and my safety goggles (also not primitive, but I’m not a fan of obsidian flakes in the eye; Ishi, and presumably other American Indians when struck in the eye with a flake, would quickly pull down their lower eyelid, look down, and vigorously slap the back of their head. American Indians also always knapped in a designated place, and did not talk while knapping, presumably also for safety reasons).

I made the two smaller dacite points into necklaces by wrapping the notched area in copper wire and forming a loop that I strung with a tanned deerskin leather cord.

I gave the 2nd and last four (all the best) as Christmas gifts to all my family members.

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3 thoughts on “Development of a flintknapper

  1. Jay

    how impressive. The Kooris (aborigines) around these parts made use of shell and bone as cutting points. (available material, other than that collected when on walkabout).

    Reply
  2. ringtailcats Post author

    Thanks! California Indians also used shell and bone for cutting tools, especially when durability was needed such as for harpoon points (bone), adzes (mussel shells), and awls (bone). I’d like to make such tools one day. Obsidian is very abundant in the California mountains so most tribes traded for it. It is not only the sharpest substance known to man, but was easy to knap, and had talismanic significance; thought to ensure protection, health, and luck in the hunt.

    Reply

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