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Tools - Modern and Ancient

April 16, 2014

First off, I'd like to preface this post with a disclaimer.  This is NOT a flintknapping blog.  It's about Native American Replicas.  This includes knives, arrows and other items.  While I'm a decent knapper, I'm NOT a true artist.  This post is simply one of many showing and discussing the tools and skills required to make acceptable replicas.

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 Above you see examples of the tools I use in fabricating my replica points and knives. The tools on the left are obviously modern tools and the ones on the right, some of the traditional tools I use.  I'd like to discuss each from my perspective and then hear your thoughts and suggestions.




Abrader - This is a large piece of abrasive material I found along the railroad tracks near our ranch. Not sure what it is, but it works well for really large pieces. I use the smaller one shown with the primative tools when working with small pieces.


Pressure flaking tools - Shown here are two of several tools I use for pressure flaking.  I make the handles out of a material called 'Nylatron' which I get from our local bearing house. Wood handles work ok but since I use this material for my 'Ishi Sticks' as well, I just use it for all my handles.  I use copper tips on most of these tools, 1/8" - 1/4".  I also use copper and horseshoe nails for my notching tools.  When pressure flaking,  I use both a wedge shaped tool for preparing my platforms and a rounded tipped tool for pushing off flakes. I can show closeup pics and would like to see what others are using.


Pressure flaking pad - I've use many different materials including thick leather for my pads.  I prefer a notched-out rubber material when pushing off long flakes. (Saves me from painful gouges in my palm)  I use the leather pad for finishing edges.  Thoughts on this?


Percussion tools - Shown are tools I've bought plus a couple I've made. Various sizes for different jobs.  Not sure of the weights of these but I suspect that's kinda personal.  Like to hear some thoughts on this as well.


Ishi Stick - As you can see, I use the Nylatron material for this tool as well and it's about 16" long.  I like the way it flexes and adds a bit of 'Umph' when pushing long flakes.  I use a 1/4" round copper rod filed down to about a 20-30 mil tip.


File - I prefer to file my tips/edges with a rough file or rasp rather than using a grinding wheel.  The heat generated by the grinding wheel seems to soften the copper and I'm not an expert on tempering or quenching!


ANCIENT  (traditional)  TOOLS


Percussion Tool - The percussion tool shown at top left is a about 7" long weighing about a pound. I made it from a moose antler base and use it for roughing out brittle materials like Obsidian or Dacite.  I have several of these and like the feel. Takes some getting used to.


Hammer Stone - I'm sure everyone has several of these. Shown is one I use for primary flaking of most materials.  Not sure what the material is but hard is good!


Abrader - This is a small piece of the same material I found on the railroad tracks.  I've also used stones like sandstone or shale.


Antler Pressure Flaker - The antler tip shown is from a white tail deer.  I prefer tips from mule deer or moose.  I have several I use depending on the material I'm working with.




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