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Bullethead

OT--Occupational Hazard

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This morning I made a fairly decent turkeytail knife out of that wonderful Georgetown flint. This started out as a large, raw cobble covered in chalky cortex, so first I "peeled" off that and then knocked a bunch of nice spalls of flint off, which I'll make other points out of later. I made this turkeytail out of the central piece I had left.

 

All went well throughout, but when I was sitting there picking up the spalls to put them away for later, I dropped one. I reached down quickly to catch it so it wouldn't break, but it landed on my thigh (fortunately covered with thick leather) and rotated a bit to the side into the path of my descending hand. Thus, my hand came down hard on the sharp edge and because the other end was on my leg, the spall held still while my hand kept going.

 

Net result: 3 stitches on the top outer edge of my right ring finger just behind the nail. The doctor was quite impressed with the cut, BTW, observing that it was just as neat as one made by a scalpel. But the bandage is making it hard to type... blink.gif

 

If you're into knapping, you WILL get cut periodically, but usually they're minor. This was my 1st good one, so I've reached another milestone in my career grin.gif . Now imagine this happening to a somebody back in the Stone Age. It might have been life-threatening if the pantry was bare at the time.... And they didn't have safety glasses, either.

 

But don't let this scare you off from a fun hobby. Remeber, knapping is "so easy a caveman could do it" lol.gif

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Ive tried my hand at knapping a few times, and living next to a dormant volcano makes it easy to find material to practice with, as well as finding numerous arrowheads, spearheads and other tools fashoned from obsidian. I have quite a collection ranging from 10-12 thousand years old up to ones made fairly recently.(recently meaning a few hundred years old to a few thousand)

Lately Ive been cleaning up a vacant lot adjacent to my property and kept finding pieces of obsidian that looked a lot like tools in the process of being made. I wasnt sure until I found part of a spearhead with very intricate knapping marks on it, so now Im sure that there used to be a campground there or at least a spot where they sat in the shade of an oak tree that looks to be about 150 years old and made points.

And yes, obsidian that has just been flaked off is much sharper than ANY scalpel blade, microscopic studies have shown this to be quite true.

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Imagine, what kind of daredevil that bloke must have been, who "invented" shaving?!? :grin:

 

Wonderful knife, by the way, and very good stone material!

Edited by Olham

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so now Im sure that there used to be a campground there or at least a spot where they sat in the shade of an oak tree that looks to be about 150 years old and made points.

 

Might want to keep that under your hat. There's probably some law that would fine or jail you for messing with an Indian site... BUT, I sure do envy you the ready source of material. There's no rock in Lousy Anna so I have to buy all mine or use beer bottles and such. It would be nice to have obsidian and dacite in my back yard :).

 

So how far along did you get in knapping? Let's see some pics!

 

And yes, obsidian that has just been flaked off is much sharper than ANY scalpel blade, microscopic studies have shown this to be quite true.

I hear they use obsidian blades in certain types of eye surgery today.

Edited by Bullethead

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This is why mankind went from Flint to Iron! grin.gif

 

Obviously, you've never done any blacksmithing grin.gif . Besides, we went through copper and bronze before iron.

 

I actually got into knapping to get back to my roots after blacksmithing for a while. And having now done a fair amount of both, I have to say that knapping is more than sufficient for all survival purposes (or else none of us would be here) and is WAY easier. True, you can't make a skyscraper or suspension bridge out of flint, but having such things is purely optional. What matters is getting groceries and flint is quite sufficient for that. Flint points killed ALL the mammoths, after all.

 

Both knapping and blacksmithing can screw up your lungs if you're not careful. Knapping WILL mash and cut your fingers, smithing WILL mash and burn your fingers. But the exposure is MUCH higher in smithing because you have to heat and hit the stuff so many more times. Plus, with smithing you're standing over a VERY hot fire all day so get dehydrated very easily, and need a helper to work the bellows. And when you've made a blade, you have to spend more hours filing it and then carefully heat-treating it so it will hold an edge. With knapping OTOH, you can sit in the cool breeze under a shade tree drinking beer, have the sharpest edge man has EVER made in 10 minutes, and do it all yourself. Sure, it won't last nearly as long, but you can replace it as easily as you made the 1st one. And the results of both efforts are equally deadly when thrust into the vitals.

 

So, when civilization totally crashes (and may it be soon drinks.gif ) and all the pre-Whoops ammo is used up, and all the re-Whoops hacksaw blades are dull or broken, the supply of pre-Whoops glass and ceramics will still be running strong, and when that's gone there are still all the rocks nature provided.

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I didnt make these, I found these at the lake shore when the water level is low, just start diggin through the cattail roots, theres literally thousands that have collected over the years of hunting, I dont think any native american living or dead would mind me collecting these.

That being said, Id also like to say that I would never desecrate a burial ground or site of that nature just for my indulgance.

The pieces Im finding behind my house are just laying around, right where you said, under an oak tree, as Im blowing leaves they are nicely uncovered without damage, but ya gotta watch for those little guys in the 2nd pic, theres one under every rock!

post-31664-12566200651494.jpg

 

 

post-31664-12566200850137.jpg

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You fellas ever see a program with Ray Mears? He's a survivalist, and if I remember correctly, he used tree sap and ash and a bit of heat to make a glue to stick the arrow head to the shaft + a little binding. Might have missed out an ingrediant, it's hard to remember what he says, but it definitely worked like a tough epoxy. If you smashed the arrowhead, or even loosened it, you could heat it up again and re-set it.

 

Forget Bear Grills with his raw fish etc. Ray Mears makes survivalist cooking look quite appetising.

 

Edit - Oh yeah, Ray Mears vs scorpion? Money's on Ray.

Edited by Flyby PC

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I didnt make these, I found these at the lake shore when the water level is low, just start diggin through the cattail roots, theres literally thousands that have collected over the years of hunting, I dont think any native american living or dead would mind me collecting these.

 

That's like around here, where you can't turn over a furrow without a point or 2. But where I live, the vast majority are imports because there's no local rock except creek pebbles, the vast majority of which are too small to make anything but arrowheads. But considering the bow didn't show up here until about AD 1000 give or take, everthing before was a dart point or knife, although most folks call them "arrowheads". But knives and dart points are rather larger than arrowheads, as your collection shows. The Indians here actually used garfish scales for arrowheads due to a lack of rock. Before that, I suspect they used a lot of antler dart points, or just fire-hardened wood.

 

Impressive collection you've got there. Those are real grocery-getters and you can see that most of the larger onces were resharpened a time or 2. They were made for utility, not ornamentation.

 

It always makes me feel proud of my work to compare it to the bulk of authentic points. The Indians mostly made stuff that would kill dinner or the enemy and they weren't too concerned with aesthetics. Thus, most authentic ponts are rather "clunky", as in rather thick (for durability) and rough in outline (because a non-fancy point is quicker to make and kills just as well). If I was depending on my points to survive, I'd make them to the same standards. This is what I call a "grocery-getter".

 

The problem is, when a chief died, the true artists amongst the Indians made BEAUTIFUL points to bury with him. And it's these things that modern knappers want to replicate, and modern collectors pay big bucks for, because they're difficult to make and look prettier. Never mid that they can't get groceries, or at least not many. It's friggin' HARD to make a thin point with a perfectly symmetrical flake pattern and an ideal shape and size all at once. That's why they buried such things with the chiefs, and also why such things are expensive on the market, and thus why modern knappers seek to make them. Everybody wants to turn a profit on their work and unless you can make funeral pieces, you'll only break even on what you spend for good knapping rock and tool replacement.

 

That being said, Id also like to say that I would never desecrate a burial ground or site of that nature just for my indulgance.

 

I was referring to even the rules that protect camp sites. The problem is, if you find 1 point, then somebody will say it's a camp site, and the nazis in charge of such things can confiscate your property. Kinda the same as if you're so unlucky as to have an eagle nest on your land.....

 

So, best thing is to say that you got all the stuff from your great-grandmother who brought them over in the 1800s from another state.

 

You fellas ever see a program with Ray Mears? He's a survivalist, and if I remember correctly, he used tree sap and ash and a bit of heat to make a glue to stick the arrow head to the shaft + a little binding. Might have missed out an ingrediant, it's hard to remember what he says, but it definitely worked like a tough epoxy. If you smashed the arrowhead, or even loosened it, you could heat it up again and re-set it.

 

Forget Bear Grills with his raw fish etc. Ray Mears makes survivalist cooking look quite appetising.

 

Edit - Oh yeah, Ray Mears vs scorpion? Money's on Ray.

 

 

Probably some pine sap. Let that stuff harden and it is like epoxy.

 

ZZ.

 

I use hide glue for my hafting. Just boil down some scrap hide, sinew, and bone, and you get this concentrated protien that all gloms onto itself in a great polymer tangle. It stinks, but it's damn solid when it dries. It's water-soluable so you can just get it wet and put a new point in your shaft. Problem is, blood also dissolves it, so you need to coat all your finished haftings with beeswax to make it waterproof.

 

And BTW, scorpions prefer death to capture. If you pin them down, they'll kill themselves with self-inflicted stings. So, it's a bit difficult to get them into the pot to boil alive as you do crayfish. If you can manage it, they taste good, but there's very little meat on them compared to a crayfish.

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