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Manufacture of stone tools, knives and arrowheads by lithic reduction

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catfishwilly
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catfishwilly
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January 11th, 2018, 1:56 pm #1

I was thinking it might be a good idea for a running topic of questions and answers kind of like the what have you knapped today topic. so instead of starting a new topic every time someone has a question to ask or needs help with a stratagy or something  we just post a quick question under a thread and everyone who visits this site on a regular basis can check it out and chime in with there opinion or it might be something that another person was curios about and we all learn and share knowledge in the process. This may be a bad idea or it might of been done already and i just have not come across it on here yet. Let me know if you all like this idea or not. 
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Chippintuff
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January 11th, 2018, 2:15 pm #2

Good idea.

WA
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catfishwilly
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January 16th, 2018, 2:00 pm #3

When i am looking online at flint for sale i always notice the large diffrence in price between dealers when it comes to spalls and cleaned spalls. Forr example one site has novaculite spalls $3 lb and another has cleaned spalls for $5 lb. I always go for the uncleaned spalls because in my head i think i am getting more rock plus I think the more i have to knock off a spall the more fun and practice i get. Also more flakes to make small points with. am i cheating myself out of rock by doing this or saving money? Just curios to what everyone elses thoughts are on this.
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Chippintuff
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January 16th, 2018, 4:37 pm #4

I think it depends on how a knapper intends to use the rock. Whole rocks do provide a fuller learning experience, but for most knappers the flakes are mostly debitage, thus of little or no value. In that case trimmed rock is better in my opinion. Kinley Coyan sells some really nice trimmed rock, and others do too of course.

If the knapper intends to use the various sized flakes, then whole rocks may be desirable. If he/she wants to saw the rock into slabs, then whole rocks are the way to go.

Another consideration is the chance to see the flake scars (if a photo is provided) on the trimmed pieces.

I generally prefer whole rocks, because they give me more options, and I do like working with slabs.

WA
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nogie1717
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January 16th, 2018, 5:35 pm #5

When starting, I firmly believe the rock that gives you the most opportunities to hit will be the best in the long run.  People can be taught and limit their learning curve in flintknapping, but ultimately you just have to encounter the same things over and over to learn how to deal with them effectively, i.e. many hundreds of pounds of gravel.  I like to buy spalls when I can.  For the same price, I'm getting a lot more rock to work from a Large Flat Rate Box.  
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caveman2533
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January 17th, 2018, 4:20 pm #6

I have added this topic to the stickies at the top of the page, it will remain for now if it gets used regularly.
Steve Nissly
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CurtisSmith
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January 18th, 2018, 7:28 am #7

The other thing to consider in the spalls verses whole rock thing is that you will generally be able to get bigger points from the whole rock.  Usually the spalls are the result of spalling and bifacing the larger whole rock.  The spalls will generally be sold by the pound, but some are sold by the inch, and the bigger biface from the core will be sold as a biface by the inch usually.  Trimmed spalls are usually basically rough bifaces and have generally just had the bulb of percussion cleaned off the spall and the shape cleaned up some so in the end you aren' getting much more a lot of times.  But they are beneficial to beginners who have a hard time dealing with the bulbs and trouble spots.  And they will sometimes include the larger rough bifacial core. 
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catfishwilly
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January 18th, 2018, 3:02 pm #8

Thanks for the input chippintuff, nogie and curtis! You all are always on the spot to be helpful and I appreciate that! I just feel like dead weight on this forum. All questions no answers. I have done a little bit of spalling on some odd chunks i was lucky enough to find in my travels and actually suprised myself with the results. figured i would just destroy it but actually got useable stuff. Think i might buy some whole rock in the future when i recover financially from Xmas, land taxes and giving ole uncle Sam his cut. 
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catfishwilly
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February 3rd, 2018, 3:53 pm #9

Does the harder the percusser bigger the bulb rule apply to pressure flaker tips too?
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nogie1717
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February 3rd, 2018, 5:15 pm #10

That’s a great question. I don’t know the answer, but I will say that the more of the platform/edge I grab, the bigger the “bulb”. Granted, I only pressure with antler and a lot of my pressure depends on the way I put my antler to the edge, grabbing with a tiny portion or a larger one.


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freeze cracked
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February 3rd, 2018, 6:38 pm #11

no. the hardness of a percussor and a pressure tool tip are simply ONE of a number of variables that determine the resulting flake morphology, and the situation is very different in taking pressure flakes than when taking percussion flakes. 

several important factors are specific to the material being worked itself, such as its toughness, edge quality, density, etc.  another major factor is how the edge of the material is shaped and abraded at the time the flake is taken. another big factor is how broad the area of contact is between the tool and the edge. another major factor is the angle of the force vector relative to the edge/face of the work. etc.

people who say somebody's work looks "coppery" don't understand the physics of knapping. tool hardness is one variable, but sometimes not the most significant variable in determining what the flake characteristics end up being. 

but as for the question of tool hardness being the determiner of initial material distortion in the flake run, that is a bigger factor in percussion. with pressure, the biggest bulbs are with pushing quickly with a sharp tool on brittle material. with both percussion and pressure, the more straight in the force vector is, the greater any initial distortion in the flake is going to be, since much more pressure has to build up before the flake initiates than if the force is more downward on support. 

in many instances, particularly with very tough material, i do a great deal of force redirection with support and use a downward, "peeling" flake initiation to get things started in order to avoid a hard bulb blowing up and rolling out from trying to propagate a fast fracture through beastly material.
i dream of a better world in which chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.
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catfishwilly
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February 5th, 2018, 3:53 pm #12

Thanks freeze cracked. I usually just grunt and push straight through till it goes. Sounds like I need to play around with loading up and peeling down in different combinations and really analyze what I am getting out of my results instead of oh how far did that flake run. 
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freeze cracked
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February 5th, 2018, 5:55 pm #13

there's a lot of technique involved in getting the peeling initiations on support to work well. i do that on leather support and push in hard on the edge before popping into the leather and the preform is i think actually rebounding off the leather and rotating outward as the flake goes, which helps keep the flake from getting overly trapped and sunk by the support.

if you want to just push straight through and don't want much bulb, then try using a more rounded tool tip, don't get your edge too thick and strong with heavy abrading, and don't use too brittle a material. you can of course also use tiny isolation flakes to help things go but that takes extra time. it's done a lot though by guys who are really good at making things like angosturas and daltons, etc. 

the bulbs aren't just unsightly - they also lessen the ability to run the next set without failures, unless you waste a lot of width trimming the edge down to eliminate all the concavities the previous set of flakes created.
i dream of a better world in which chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.
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catfishwilly
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March 20th, 2018, 9:09 pm #14

Do y'all think Chuck Norris abrades or can he take flakes from a knife edge?
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PaleoSoul
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March 26th, 2018, 5:24 pm #15

What kind of chert or flint is this?? I bought it from a rock head in Oregon and he said it was some kind of Oklahoma flint. But didn't seem to sure..any help would be awesome.
Thanks

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swataramike
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March 27th, 2018, 1:02 am #16

looks like a variety of permian chert....
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VirginiaKnapper
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March 27th, 2018, 8:31 pm #17

Hey, I have a question. I have been practicing my notching lately and have been doing pretty well with material such as obsidian and glass, but not so much tougher cherts, and I often stall out, such as the one I posted in the "What Have You Knapped Today?" topic. I was wondering if you all have any advice on making groove notches and small entry--wide expansion.

Frank Knott IV
"It's about what you learn, not what you make" - Erret Callahan
"Win some, lose some, and sometimes ran out" - Kenny Roberts
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catfishwilly
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March 27th, 2018, 10:15 pm #18

VirginiaKnapper wrote: Hey, I have a question. I have been practicing my notching lately and have been doing pretty well with material such as obsidian and glass, but not so much tougher cherts, and I often stall out, such as the one I posted in the "What Have You Knapped Today?" topic. I was wondering if you all have any advice on making groove notches and small entry--wide expansion.

Frank Knott IV
I'm still very much a novice knapped myself and ive never done any narrow entry notching but I will give you my two cents and maybe someone more qualified will chime in later. If. You are used to obsidian and glass, Texas rock unless cooked or Georgetown will prob be a whole different ballgame. Stuffs harder than woodpecker lips. You don't give a side view picture but your point appears like it might be a little thick and humpy. If it is your notches are pretty much doomed from the start. You can overcome a little thickness by pushing your flakes out ahead of your notches to help get rid of some mass before you get to it. Always look and make sure your platform is closest to the face your taking the flake from. If its not, nibble it down a little. If your constantly taking flakes from platforms close to center plane your notches will round out in a hurry. Don't be afraid to widen them out a little too. Give yourself more than just one little spot at the back of the notch to flake from and push a little flake off to each side slightly. I suggest going one YouTube and watching Mr freeze cracked on the freeze cracked channel. He has a couple of notching vids and in my opinion does the best job of anyone at explaining and teaching. Anyway, I hope my rambling makes a little sense and can maybe help you a little.
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VirginiaKnapper
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March 27th, 2018, 11:45 pm #19

Thanks Willy! On the obsidian and glass, I have much less trouble with platform preparation, however, with other stones, I find it much more difficult to bring the platform close to the working face, in particular after a successful flake is made and is is still particularly close to that edge.

Frank
"It's about what you learn, not what you make" - Erret Callahan
"Win some, lose some, and sometimes ran out" - Kenny Roberts
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Troy Harkey
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March 29th, 2018, 7:06 pm #20

VirginiaKnapper wrote:Thanks Willy! On the obsidian and glass, I have much less trouble with platform preparation, however, with other stones, I find it much more difficult to bring the platform close to the working face, in particular after a successful flake is made and is is still particularly close to that edge.

Frank
I have a question about this rock, any idea what kind it is and it can be worked at all. I walked the creek yesterday looking for knappable stone and I found this. This part of Indiana isn’t known for good rock. I was able to knock off a piece and it’s pretty grainy inside. What if I cooked it? Thoughts?


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