Expanding type Notching Tutorial - Crump Lake Point

Paleoknapperjim
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Paleoknapperjim
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Joined: 10:23 AM - May 30, 2006

4:03 AM - Aug 04, 2006 #1

I've been planning on doing a notching tutorial for a long time and finally got around to doing it today. Normally most of my notched points are on the small side, but trying to take pics of notching small points would be a challenge, so I chose a Crump Lake type point which is bigger. Crump Lake points are from the Cump lake area of Oregon and are a type of Great Basin side notch point. Many are on display at the Favell Museum in klammath Falls. Most all of them are made from black Dacite, the same material that I chose to use to make this tutorial point.
Special thanks go to Chad Ring, friend and fellow knapper who took all of these pics today.
This first pic shows the piece of dacite before any flakes have been removed.


Initial percussion flaking begins with Moose antler, sandstone and copper. I find the Moose antler works great in the early stages to rapidly thin the piece, many of the flakes traveling edge to edge or overshot. This picture shows the biface thinned to the desired thickness.

A little more percussion flaking has been done to shape the biface and it is now ready to pressure flake...

This pic shows the biface after the first pass of pressure flaking using an Ishi stick....

This pic shows the biface after the 2nd and final pressure flaking pass. Notice the basal thinning flakes. It is necessary to make the basal area as thin as possible in order to get narrow notches.

Here the opposite face is shown

I normally draw the starting point for my notches on the biface before notching it to be sure to get proper alignment. I use a straight edge at right angles to the long axes of the biface and place a mark on both edges on both faces. Because this point is black, I used white out instead.

The biface is now marked on both edges of both faces...

This is the edge view, showing the thinness near the basal area. This thinness is critical to successful narrow notches...

This pic shows how I support the biface on a small pad. It is very important to have very rigid control and no wiggle room anywhere. The Optivisors help a lot. If your young you may not need them, but in any case you need to be able to see real close up.

I am using a horseshoe nail for notching. This shows the placement of the tip of the notcher for the first flake removal. This first flake it taken by pressing the tip straight down, NOT IN. The idea is to take a very small flake that will set up your platform for the next flake removal on the other face.

This pic shows the first flake removed. As you can see, it is not much of a flake, but it is a starting point and we can now remove a longer flake from the opposite face...

OK, this is the oposite face flake removal, and now we are striving to push a longer flake to thin the area ahead as we go. It is absolutely essential the the tool tip be narrower than the notch. I cant stress this enough. If it is not it will rub the sides of the notch and blow it out. OK, this time I push straight in.

Here is what the 2nd flake removal looks like. It has traveled perhaps 3/16" and thinned the area ahead, looks good...

OK, this pic may look confusing, but here is what is happening. The opposite face (not shown) is where I just removed the last flake. Before removing another long flake it is necessary to get the edge of the platform as close to the face you are flaking as possible. To do this I push straight in very gently at 90 degrees to the face, just removing tiny flakes to bring the edge up. This will allow the next flake to release with less force and travel further. I NEVER grind my notches. Grinding them will stall them out and so much force will be required to remove the next flake that it will likely blow out the notch.

OK, we flip the biface over and push off another long flake on the opposite face. Again, I am pushing straight in to remove a long flake and thin the area ahead...

Here is the flake removed, not as long as I wanted but good enough...

This becomes repititous, but here I am pushing at 90 degrees to the face again to bring the platform up to the face so that i can remove another long flake...

The biface is flipped over and we push straight in again to remove another long flake...

Here is the flake removed. This one traveled nice and far and really thinned the area ahead very well. This will make it much easier to continue. It is much easier and less risky to remove a short flake, but short flakes make it much harder to remove a flake from the opposite face. You pay the price when you go to remove the next flake. It is better to be agressive and remove a big flake or things are sure to go wrong in a hurry...

Now we switch techniques. As the notch gets further in from the edge, it is too risky to push straight in. If the tool tip even touches the edges it will blow them off. So now we come up from underneath. Place the tool tip up on the platform and apply the force straight in as before. If the tool tip is too sharp it may bend, so you may need to file the tip a bit duller at this point. However, it still must be narrower than the notch.

Here is the flake removed. Again it travelled far and the area ahead is nice and thin and will be easy to notch...

OK, now it is time to begin expanding the notch. So now I take 2 flakes side by side on each face. Here is the first flake removal, again coming up from beneath with the tool tip...

Here is the 2nd flake removal. Notice I have moved the tool tip to the other side of the notch end.

Here are the 2 flakes just removed...

We flip the biface over and remove 2 more side by side flakes. here is the first flake removal.

Here is the 2nd flake removal...

We flip the biface over and continue. From hear on, I may remove 1, 2, 3 or more flakes on each face, whatever is needed to open the notch up to the desired thickness. This part is relatively easy.

Here is the first notch completed. Now I will follow the same procedure for the 2nd notch. Note: Normally I do both notches at the same time. It is much easier to maintain symmetry by having them travel along at the same pace, rather than trying to make the 2nd notch match the first. Also, if you stall the notch out but are in far enough you can stop and call it good enough...

Here the 2nd notch is completed. Notice that I did manage to blow off a tiny pice of the 2nd opening. This happened when the tool tip accidentally touched the opening, it does not take much to blow them off!

Opposite face shown here...

Here are all the tools used to make the point from start to finish

This is another view of the notching tool unassembled. I shaped and cut a plastic bolt to a bullet shape and then heated up a horseshoe nail repeatedly over the stove and inserted it into the bolt tip until it penetrated all the way through. This fits the nail like a mold and nails are easily replaced. The handle is steel pipe with the same diameter as the bolt and makes a snug fit. A wooden dowell is glued inside the pipe to act as a stop for the bolt and nail.

One final word, this is not necessarily the best way to notch a point, it is just one way of many possible ways. I tried many different techniques, most ended in failure, and after many attempts this is what is working best for me at this time...
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okcman
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4:24 PM - Aug 04, 2006 #2

superb tutorial Jim!!!!!!!!! Do you have a preference in the sice of the horseshoe nails that you use?
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okcman
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okcman
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4:27 PM - Aug 04, 2006 #3

the pictures tell a lot of the techniques....

I still think a flintknapping video by you would be a great seller!!!!!!!!!!!( I may never get to the same knap-in as you!)
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stevecpa66
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stevecpa66
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7:16 PM - Aug 04, 2006 #4

Thanks Jim!!

Great tutotial and pictures. Notching is an area that I struggle in greatly.

Steve
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PaleoAleo
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2:07 AM - Aug 10, 2006 #5

Excellent! Thank you Jim!

Tom
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DC Skillz
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DC Skillz
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5:00 AM - Sep 16, 2008 #6

I love this tutorial and your youtube companion video is tops!
Thanks for doing both.

AP
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KennewickMan
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KennewickMan
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12:35 PM - Jan 01, 2010 #7

Hello Jim, That is a great tutorial on notching-thanks for the up-close pictures and detail you went into. Do you ever bend your horseshoe nails? I've found it helps with the shearing necessary for the base tangs and blade side of the notches. It also helps direct the flakes with just a twist of the wrist. Thanks for sharing, as you always do-Stew
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criverkat
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criverkat
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1:44 PM - Jan 01, 2010 #8

jim great job
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MountainWalker
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MountainWalker
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9:15 PM - Jan 21, 2010 #9

WOW!!! Awesome work! Thank you.
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sailordad
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sailordad
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2:39 AM - Jan 22, 2010 #10

dude that was AWESOME
thank you,i have been struggling with my notches for some time now.
this will help quite a bit,and now i think i get it.
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Paleoknapperjim
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12:04 AM - Jan 25, 2010 #11

Thanks everyone. Its been close to 4 years since I posted this! Glad to see folks are still finding it helpful....jim
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toxophileken
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toxophileken
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6:28 PM - Oct 10, 2014 #12

And now more than eight years later, and I just found it and learned from it! Thanks, Jim!

Ken
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StoneHunter
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StoneHunter
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2:37 PM - Nov 01, 2014 #13

This is great info, I haven't yet started on anything but I know I'll be back to see this when I'm ready!!!!
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