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Tools - Modern and Ancient

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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