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Old 03-27-2013, 17:37   #1
frank4570
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I'm cooking my rocks.

I've been working on learning flint knapping for a while now. That is the process of chipping stones in a certain way that makes then sharp, and working them into arrowheads or spear points, knives, or whatever. I'm still not very good at it, but I have made some points that are good enough for me to shoot at squirrels next hunting season. I'll attach them to some hazelwood shafts I collected earlier this year.
Well, I just got in some novaculite in the mail. It's a stone from out west. When I tried to work it, it was a bit too crumbly. But novaculite responds very well to heat treating. It needs to be heated to about 700 degrees for a number of hours.
I put some in the woodstove under a pile of ashes for about 20 hours, and presto, very good stone. I cut myself trying to see how sharp it is. That's a good sign.
So now I have a lot more of the stuff in the stove baking. It should be ready tomorrow about this time.
We don't have any stone in my area of the country worth working with.

The Okie Corral

The first is one made by my friend/instructor. The others are me learning the skill. The last one is the cooked stone.
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Old 03-27-2013, 17:38   #2
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Interesting skill, and I'd like to learn it someday.
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Old 03-27-2013, 20:31   #3
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It takes a lot of time to learn. A lot more than I would have originally thought.
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Old 03-27-2013, 20:53   #4
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Old 03-27-2013, 21:03   #5
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I've been working on learning flint knapping for a while now.
Why?

Do you plan on using these heads or...?
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Old 03-27-2013, 21:13   #6
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Why?

Do you plan on using these heads or...?
I'll definitely use them for hunting squirrels and groundhogs, maybe geese and turkey. Not legal in this state to use stone points on deer.
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Old 03-27-2013, 22:09   #7
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Let me guess it's a repetitive task that allows you to relax and work on it without thinking about it, right?

It's a pretty cool thing to do, and handy in a survival situation. Les did it on one of his shows, made some traps with flint he knapped IIRC. It's also handy to know if you shoot a flitlock musket.
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Old 03-27-2013, 22:18   #8
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Looks like a cool hobby to me. Like the post above, looks like something you can just spend some time at a bench doing when nothing else is going on.
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Old 03-27-2013, 22:20   #9
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Let me guess it's a repetitive task that allows you to relax and work on it without thinking about it, right?
Actually, very much of it is not. The flakes only come off under certain conditions, only a certain way. And so, making it come out the way you want is like playing chess. If you want to remove a flake, it will probably require removing a bunch of other flakes to set up the platform and ridge to be in the right place.
And then it may work right, or I may have to change the plan. Get too aggressive and the whole rock will break into pieces with 1 strike. I ruined a piece yesterday that way.
This planning part of the process is what I am struggling with right now.
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Old 03-27-2013, 22:37   #10
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Those aren't bad. My dad always described it as "controlled breaking". And really that's all it is, much the same way shooting a gun and reloading is a controlled explosion. What type of points are you trying to make? And what material you working with?
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Old 03-27-2013, 22:41   #11
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Actually, very much of it is not. The flakes only come off under certain conditions, only a certain way. And so, making it come out the way you want is like playing chess. If you want to remove a flake, it will probably require removing a bunch of other flakes to set up the platform and ridge to be in the right place.
And then it may work right, or I may have to change the plan. Get too aggressive and the whole rock will break into pieces with 1 strike. I ruined a piece yesterday that way.
This planning part of the process is what I am struggling with right now.
Yes, it's a real skill, that can take years to get really good at. I think doing this is just way cool, especially as you will use the points for hunting, and not just to collect them, as I would.
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:24   #12
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Those aren't bad. My dad always described it as "controlled breaking". And really that's all it is, much the same way shooting a gun and reloading is a controlled explosion. What type of points are you trying to make? And what material you working with?
I've got a batch of novaculite I am baking right now. I plan to learn on most of that. Then I have a bunch of black obsdian which I hope to make into hunting points.

I guess I'm just going to try to imitate the first point in the picture, that my friend made. I haven't thought about it or studied it. I'm interested in functionality and the first point looks like it would be durable, penetrate well, and secure down to the stick very solidly. Thinner or wider and I would think the odds would go up of the stone breaking or coming loose.
I'll know more after I have wrecked a few shooting them at squirrels.

I just burned my fingers taking rocks out of the stove. Out of the 7 I put in there the one most exposed to the heat blew up. I lost a rock, but that's how I learn. Next will be a batch of 4, one in each corner of the stove under ashes. It will be a little more gentle, and I'll cook them a bit longer.
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For too long people have said "screw NY, IL, etc" or "that'll never happen here." Yes, it will eventually. If we dont start standing up together now, it will never stop.-ilgunguygt

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Old 03-28-2013, 06:32   #13
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:50   #14
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Heat treating rocks. Never would have thought of that.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:42   #15
frank4570
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Heat treating rocks. Never would have thought of that.
It's weird. It takes a rock that is kind of (a little) sandy and crumbly, and makes it more like a piece of glass that chips off nice long sharp flakes.
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For too long people have said "screw NY, IL, etc" or "that'll never happen here." Yes, it will eventually. If we dont start standing up together now, it will never stop.-ilgunguygt
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:35   #16
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Ahh so it's something you have to concentrate on and block out other things from interfering. Maybe I'll have to try it. It sure is interesting, and i've always been interested in period methods for doing things.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:42   #17
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Actually, very much of it is not. The flakes only come off under certain conditions, only a certain way. And so, making it come out the way you want is like playing chess. If you want to remove a flake, it will probably require removing a bunch of other flakes to set up the platform and ridge to be in the right place.
And then it may work right, or I may have to change the plan. Get too aggressive and the whole rock will break into pieces with 1 strike. I ruined a piece yesterday that way.
This planning part of the process is what I am struggling with right now.
Sounds like a good way of exercising your mind.
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Old 03-28-2013, 16:08   #18
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I went to Flint, Michigan. Despite my best efforts I couldn't find any flint. That is disappointing since I needed some for my flint lock musket.
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Old 03-28-2013, 16:35   #19
frank4570
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Sounds like a good way of exercising your mind.
Aw jeez man, now you made it sound like work.
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For too long people have said "screw NY, IL, etc" or "that'll never happen here." Yes, it will eventually. If we dont start standing up together now, it will never stop.-ilgunguygt
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