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Author Topic: Knapping tip!  (Read 3050 times)

Offline Matt E

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Knapping tip!
« on: November 27, 2005, 11:48:00 AM »
Lets hear about your best tip forour new knappers! Timo, marty and many others here are accomplished knappers.I know they have a special way of handling certain situations  that we all encounter while bursting rocks. :)   My tip is to make the back of the head out of the thinest part of the spall. The more I have up front to work with the more control I have in the outcome ofthe point. Lets hear your tip? I can use some help also. :)

Offline Trad2DaBone

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2005, 03:29:00 PM »
Great, Now if I just knew what a "spall" was i'd be set.
Seriously, is there a site for really new knappers?
I have a lot of interest and a bucket of flint but not a clue where to start.
Larry
Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

Online Pat B

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2005, 04:12:00 PM »
I'm just starting to knap. I understand the principals of knapping and have many friends that I trade with for points but last spring my wife bought me a book that really got me wanting to learn more. The book is..."Flintknapping-Making and Understanding Stone Tools" by John C. Whittaker. U of Texas press.
   This books starts at the beginning and explains how it's done in a progression that makes it all come together. Mr. Whittaker is a teacher by trade and it shows up in this book.
   This book will have to be my tip for you because I haven't had the time to spend prefecting this skill.   Pat
Make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes!
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Online Linc

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2005, 04:44:00 PM »
Keep a good point on your pressure flaker.Takes a lot less force to push off a flake and you have more control.
Lincoln E. Farr

Offline ber643

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2005, 06:44:00 PM »
I'd like to do that (go to knap-in) and maybe I'll get to one day. In the meantime these tips are great.
Bernie: "Hunters Are People Too"

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Offline Matt E

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2005, 07:17:00 PM »
I try to keep my point on my copper pressure flaker sharp like, Linc mentioned,but I make the point four sided. This gives me longer working time between sharpenings. I can rotate the point to get a better bite this way.

Offline Timo

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2005, 08:14:00 PM »
Sharp tools,helps a bunch,If you use antler,then they need to stay dry. Humidity is rough on them.

Sometimes ,when things aren't going well,put the tools down and take a break.(no pun).I always knapp my best after a time away from it.

When doing percussion work, rest your arm on your leg,this helps with control,and keeps you from pulling the material away as you swing.

I'm sure Billet Head and Ralph will be along tomorrow to help out with some more important stuff!
(Enny o yuns know ware thu heart o a stumpytail izz??)

Offline Oogaboogachiefwalkingdeer

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2005, 08:45:00 PM »
This is a tip from long time knapper and teacher Bill Metcalfe. He actually teaches you to take a sharpie pen and draw on the rock the intended flake to be removed. If you do this it will make you stop and think a bit before you just wail away at the piece. Everyone always wants to know how do you get them thin? To thin, flakes must travel past the centerline and take it out. Draw a line down the center of the biface tip to base,PREPARE PLATFORM,remove flake. Check your work by seeing how close you come to the drawing.If all goes well and each flake goes just past center they will get thin. Remember however each and every flake doesn't have to be a thinning flake. There are a lot of little flakes  to raise edges and for trimming,shaping and such. Probabably the best tip is to PREPARE GOOD PLATFORMS, but it will take a while to sink in, because you want to hit it now! Mike Smyth

Offline kyle

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2005, 09:18:00 PM »
When you think you've got your platform low enough (below the centerline), lower it some more.  then when you think its low enough, lower it again.
WWJD

Offline Matt E

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2005, 08:06:00 AM »
Kyle, sounds like you may have rapped a few above the center line,you arn't the only one. The result isn't exactly what you want.  :(
 Timo, I was expecting you to chime in. Put a fire under Billet Head and Ralph.I know they have a head full of knapping tricks! --------This is what I was looking for. I have already picked up some new information. Bernie inspired this as he is trying to get into the knapping side of archery and I thought this might help him and myself. Thanks all.
  Larry, a spall is nothing more rhan a chip off a stone.I should have used another word I suppose.

Offline ber643

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2005, 08:14:00 AM »
(I'm lovin' it too! I also happen to think a lot of others, many who never post, are too.) Thanks all! I'm writing them done in a list, as it is an old study trick/fact that what you write down you remember better (especially as opposed to "saving it to file", perhaps never to be found again - LOL)
Bernie: "Hunters Are People Too"

Ret'd USMC '53-'72

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TGMM Family of the Bow

Offline kyle

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2005, 09:56:00 AM »
I think that one needs to find their own "groove".  By that I mean the holding position or angle that works right for THEIR own swing.  You can talk fracture angles and describe cones of percussion and conchoidal fracture angles all day long to others but until they find the hand position/holding angle/billet stroke that works for them, they'll just be breakin rock.  For me, one day it just "clicked".  It all fell together and my flakes started going longer, farther, and wider (where I wanted).  I started getting true THINNING flakes and was able to carry percussion much farther into my bifacing process.  Consequently, my bifaces all of a sudden were much thinner and "felt right".  Its not a matter of intelligence or measurements, its a matter of POUNDAGE.  If you break enough rock (different for different folks) and pay attention to what's going on, it'll all come together.  Keep at it and don't get discouraged.

Oh and billet head and all the others are right about platforms and isolating them.  Its almost as if you set up that platform right and isolate it properly, that flake just HAS to go right (I did say ALMOST now!!)  Proper platform preparation precludes perfect preform percussion.

Kyle
WWJD

Offline Oogaboogachiefwalkingdeer

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2005, 01:16:00 PM »
Another tip when bifaceing. Work the base then the tip then the middle. You work the base first as it is the widest and is the hardest to thin. Then the tip as it usually is the easiest as it is the narrow end. Save the middle for strength and take it last. The same goes for billets as pressure flakers keep them nice and smooth no nicks or dings. Doing this will make your strike more acurate. Hitting with a pitted or rough billet makes flakes go un predictible because they contact the stone on several places at once. Oh ya, did anyone say abrade those platforms!  Mike Smyth

Offline Ralph Conrad

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2005, 01:26:00 PM »
If someone gives you some chert and you're going to use percussion for reduction, remember, if the chert is tough and knarly you will do better with slower swings that make contact for a longer period of time with the platform. Also, the size of the billet can be increased. If the material is the best you've ever seen, the baton can be lighter and you can use more speed while reducing the piece.  

My second tip is a single word.  CONTROL

Offline Ralph Conrad

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2005, 03:02:00 PM »
Control means to make everything you do make sense and have a purpose.  An analogy would be just like an intersection with cars going all directions at once is difficult to cross, so to is a piece of rock if flakes aren't taken in order and with a purpose.  One flake should always set up the next flake for removal.  Mike suggested removal past the center line of the rock and that's good for early reduction.  During the completion phase however, certain points require stopping at a ridge line down the middle of the point if you are replicating causing everything to require different striking platforms.  

I think you have to decide what you're looking for in knapping and whether you are interested in pure artwork or replication.  Study some old points and try figuring out how they got there.  It wasn't by chance.  Everything was planned.  CONTROL!!!!! Lithics Casting Lab sells replica's that are wonderful to handle and study.  Another good way is to buy broken points and especially bases for study subjects.  

Why do all this you say?   Grasp the Past--- And enjoy hunting with stone points.  Ralph

Offline Yance

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2005, 05:27:00 PM »
platforms
Yes I am a Pirate, 300 years to late, cannons don't thunder there's nothing to plunder...

Online Linc

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2005, 04:55:00 AM »
I think for a newbie (myself included)it is wise to work with one medium at a time.Not to jump back and forth.I find the each type of rock has it's own characteristics and it will screw you up quick.Example: going from chert to obsidian to chert.Obsidian takes a lot less purpose and more finess.I find that after working on the harder materials and switch to obsidian I tend to over power the piece I am working on.The reverse is also true about not using enough power on the harder material.

This may not be true for everyone but I find that's the case with me.
Lincoln E. Farr

Offline Brian Halbleib

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2005, 11:48:00 AM »
It's great to see more knapping info popping up here. I have a pile of flint and all the tools in the shop. I started messing around with them after reading and watching everything I could on flintknapping. My first daughter was born just as I was getting into it plus some other obligations and I wasn't able to get the hang of it.

I hope to have some time to spend knapping this winter. I understand the terminology and the how and whys of working rock, I just have not figured out how to apply it effectively. I think it will be like bow building was for me years ago, I read and watched and understood but it did not click until I actually started doing it correctly like Kyle said.

Maybe one of you more experienced fellas could write a "Knapping For Dummies" article for beginners and I'll print it in The Bowyer's Journal.

-Brian
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Offline 1gutpile

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2005, 11:56:00 AM »
Best tip I can give ya'll and I am surprised nobody has even mentioned this is ....wear safety glasses....buy stock in the band-aid companies...and a good kelvar glove might be handy..I just dug 10 splinters of obsidain outta my hand this morning.....gut
to take from nature the materials needed to take from nature the meat needed....

Offline Matt E

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Re: Knapping tip!
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2005, 01:29:00 PM »
Brian H. < I remember when your baby was born.We traded heads for wood. That piece of Osage you sent me made a darn good bow! By-the-way, how long ago was that? L.O.L.

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