Beginning Knappers read this please...

A collection of information for those just starting their flintknapping journey.

Beginning Knappers read this please...

Idaho Clovisman
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Idaho Clovisman
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16 Mar 2006, 16:40 #1

Ok i am seeing alot of beginning knappers post pics of their work i have a little bit to say about this ...when i first started i tried to make points when they broke i got fustrated so i found a better and faster way to sucess..(build your cofidence on sucess).Don't try to make points, to make good points you have to be able to take good flakes but when you first start it is hard and you waste alot of material so MAKE preforms....that is all then put them in a bucket...when every bit of your material is gone go back to your bucket and thin the preforms making them a better preform by the time you have gone through a bucket 2 times without trying to make a point your flaking will have gotten 100% better you will be able to take long flakes or short flakes and that is the key. i have a student in Montana he started with 500lbs of obsidian he reduced it all to 5 buckets of preforms ,he then reduced them again and he had 3 buckets of nice preforms..he then reduced them again to shaped then bifaces ready to finish he had 1 bucket left but it was great stuff..it took him almost a year but then he started making points from his bucket well he is better than me now and it only took him about 18 months...something to think about ...:-
We have learned that though there are many papers in Washington upon which are written promises to pay us for our lands,no white man seems to remember them.

Four Guns.
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eskimoboy
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eskimoboy
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16 Mar 2006, 16:53 #2

That is a heck of a good idea Mike!
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IceMan
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IceMan
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16 Mar 2006, 17:22 #3

Excellent idea! That is exactly what I have been thinking. I have so much trouble getting preforms, so that is what I need to practice at.
Kris
Didn't put enough dirt down...seen it right off (Bearclaw)
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auchumpkee creek assassin
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Joined: 14 Mar 2006, 09:21

16 Mar 2006, 23:14 #4

thaanks for the tip.i appreciate it.
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blacktail
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blacktail
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17 Mar 2006, 00:55 #5

HEY THAT A GREAT IDEA MIKE.hey mike,when you say preforms what are you meaning.are you talking about cutting rock or peices that are just spalled off the rock.do you have any photos of preforms in differant stages that you could show us............ a few weeks ago i spalled out a 10 pounder of odsidian.got some nice peices. so i should work the bucket into bifaces and then into points.is this right.i am just trying to learn as much as i can.thanks for the tip .john
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oogaboogachiefwalkingdeer
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Joined: 07 Jul 2005, 23:13

17 Mar 2006, 01:34 #6

Mike, that is just how Cecil showed me. Learn percussion first then pressure flaking last. Make all the bifaces I can then every now and then make a point if I have too. I had a couple buckets of bifaces before I knew it. Now I can finish the bifaces if I need or just make more and more and finish some now and then. I really love the biface part it is like solving the puzzle. Once it is solved most of the fun is gone and the work starts. Mike Smyth
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Idaho Clovisman
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Idaho Clovisman
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17 Mar 2006, 08:17 #7

yes you just work spalls into whatever you call a biface at that time i garuntee you the next time you thin it it will be alot better.learning percusion takes alot of stone there is no getting around this it takes rock to teach your memory how and when and what...don't worry about thin preforms just knock off what you can get to this time around by the time you go through the bucket again you will know how to thin it much better i will post a picture of some byfaced preforms tomorrow in this thread..If God did Not want us to eat animals why did he make them out of meat?
We have learned that though there are many papers in Washington upon which are written promises to pay us for our lands,no white man seems to remember them.

Four Guns.
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ber643
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ber643
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17 Mar 2006, 13:14 #8

You guys have shocked my system nearly into complete withdrawal - almost into fetal silence and position - LOL.

It'll be interesting to see some actual preforms (pics) (besides the one or two they briefly show in books and/or videos). This is definitly an interesting concept and sounds like it would be a viable, progressive learning process. I have heard and read many times not to start shaping until you get "it" thin but this is quite a different plan (to me) I will certainly be back to check the preform pics. As a long time, many subject instructor in my lifetime I certainly recognize the validity of the suggested program of learning.

(I gotta admitt, I hate the thought of giving up trying to make heads and blades - besides I (all of us), at my age, never know when I (we) have a year left - LOL) I do want to get better,really better, though and it certainly sounds like it would clear out my back room that so quickly became a rock hound's nightmare (or dream, I'm not sure which) - Bernie - "Hunters Are People Too"
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Idaho Clovisman
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Idaho Clovisman
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17 Mar 2006, 17:14 #9

as promised here are pictures of preforms in different stages of finish ,some are ready for point making others are ready for thinning and some are just not much more than trimmed spalls if you have questions ask em ..









If God did Not want us to eat animals why did he make them out of meat?
We have learned that though there are many papers in Washington upon which are written promises to pay us for our lands,no white man seems to remember them.

Four Guns.
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bullgrouse
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bullgrouse
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17 Mar 2006, 18:09 #10

I for one, wouldn't mind leaving those preforms behind me, unfinished. At least, someone could come behind me, and complete the job.

Better that, than the gravel I would make, if I crowded my learning curve too much!

Cheers!

Denny B."Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!"
"Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!"
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Idaho Clovisman
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Idaho Clovisman
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17 Mar 2006, 18:23 #11

nah you just need some hands on help and i will get that done for you just as soon as it warms up a bit ... making a point from a preform is no harder than making the preform but!!! you have to be able to make the preform first .. just like running you have to walk before you run.... if you skip the first and most important steps you just learn bad habits and that leads to fustration..... get a good foundation under you do not be in a hurry to progress and it will all come in due time...hang in there.If God did Not want us to eat animals why did he make them out of meat?
We have learned that though there are many papers in Washington upon which are written promises to pay us for our lands,no white man seems to remember them.

Four Guns.
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ber643
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ber643
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17 Mar 2006, 19:44 #12

I must say, those preform pics give me restored encouragement. I think I could live with doing (leaving) those sort of things also. I have been a little on the timid side at starting on some of my rocks, without eyeball to eyeball guidance. I think hese grapic definitions of preforms will help give me the courage needed. ICm, thank you for your knowlege and the pics. Good Lord willing, I'll be able to hang in there around the "curves" of the learning ahead -

Here's a question that comes to mind: on Slabs - leave them for later, or work the edges all around and then leave that as a preform and move on?Bernie - "Hunters Are People Too"
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Idaho Clovisman
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Idaho Clovisman
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17 Mar 2006, 19:53 #13

if you are comforatble with edging a slab at this point in your career then by all means do so and remove the saw marks and shape them into the style of preform that will allow you to make the point you have chosen for that slab. remember you should know before you strike the first blow what you are going to make! NOW if you break more than 10% of your slabs leave them for later... another thing when you look atb your rock and you say i want to wait or i am afraid i will break it ..then you are defeated already,you must break every rock the same that will develope consistancy.after all it is just a rock .to win you must be prepared to loose cause shit happens hang in there and keep your head up ..

ps i do not think for percussion that any beginner should work on slabs less than 1/2 inch thick... unless they are very short like 3 to 4 inch's..If God did Not want us to eat animals why did he make them out of meat?
We have learned that though there are many papers in Washington upon which are written promises to pay us for our lands,no white man seems to remember them.

Four Guns.
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ber643
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ber643
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18 Mar 2006, 00:01 #14

Interesting, ICm, thank you. I've only worked three or four of my slabs that friends have been kind enough to send me so far - and had mixed results. I have worked more pieces of glass (TV and tumbler bottoms) that are shaped like slabs - also with mixed results. All of my slabs are thinner than 1/2" but on the other hand I don't think any are longer (rounder) than about 4". I may decide to leave those I Have left untill I progress some with the preform learning we are speaking of. One of my cyber trad archery friends, that urged me to start knapping (because I was so interested), told me, at the very beginning, the same thing you just did, "after all, Bernie, they're just rocks - break 'em and see."

I am a big proponent of demonstration, application way of teaching/learning when possible so I really wish there were Knappers in my coastal area that I could get together with once or twice a week - but all of them here seem to be closer to the central and mountain areas of NC, or in the same boat as me as to experience.Bernie - "Hunters Are People Too"
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blacktail
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blacktail
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18 Mar 2006, 01:51 #15

thanks so much mike.thats what i thought you was talking about.i love the bifaces.now its time to have fun.i would call it work but its not i have a whole lot of fun.thanks john
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Joined: 27 Sep 2005, 12:13

18 Mar 2006, 04:07 #16

Those are some nice looking preforms. I am guessing that the white preforms are Novaculite, man that stuff will sure detach some real sharp flakes. If a slab is under a quarter of an inch I won't even turn the edge unless I have to I can knap off the square edge and get good convexity. If it is a quarter of an inch, I will turn the edge with a small bopper, but I broke a few until I learned how to turn the edge. but all that did was give me two arrowheads. Oh the dove I just posted is all pressure off of a square edge and I started out taking just small flakes to build up convexity. It was not until my second or third pass that all the frog skin was gone. CR2
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Idaho Clovisman
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Idaho Clovisman
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18 Mar 2006, 06:24 #17

the white ones are piaute agate the next one yellow is flint river from georgia, the next two brown are root beer from texas.the black ones are novaculite and the grey one with them is georgetown from texas and the colored small ones are flint ridge ....thanks guys let me know what you want to see i will try my best to make it happen for you ..If God did Not want us to eat animals why did he make them out of meat?
We have learned that though there are many papers in Washington upon which are written promises to pay us for our lands,no white man seems to remember them.

Four Guns.
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okcman
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okcman
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20 Mar 2006, 02:57 #18

great looking preforms clovisman !
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Thimosabv
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Thimosabv
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20 Mar 2006, 23:13 #19

Clovisman: I have followed that philosophy with making bows and it not only restored my confidence but my sanity as well. Going back through the basics with the only goal being say just getting it to pass more as a bow than a walking stick and putting it in a pile with the others has helped me tremendously. Aiming for 'thee-winner' the first year out is like trying to climb K2 when you haven't reached the peak of the local tallest bute. I'm still going through the pile of staves i made 6 months ago. It makes it so much easier to just have those basic shapes roughed out.

Thanks for the mind food, Idaho.
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Idaho Clovisman
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Idaho Clovisman
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21 Mar 2006, 00:41 #20

if not for this way of doing things i would never have made it to the point i am now i had alot of obsidian and i just made preforms till i could preform anything .It was amazing when i went back to thin them the second time i knew what to do without thinking about it...and when i went for the 3rd pass i could make points very easy and it was time to move on to learn other spects of knapping i never tried to notch anything for over 4 years ...so i am learning notching now and adding it to the pile .. If God did Not want us to eat animals why did he make them out of meat?
We have learned that though there are many papers in Washington upon which are written promises to pay us for our lands,no white man seems to remember them.

Four Guns.
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