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VirginiaKnapper
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VirginiaKnapper
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April 16th, 2018, 10:49 pm #41

If you have any torches, you could try and melt some of the stone. If you are also talking about knapping, I would use a hammerstone.
"It's about what you learn, not what you make" - Erret Callahan
"Nothing like busting out a Savannah River out of some gnarly shit." - Robert Godshall, 1st annual ThunderRidge knap in.
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ww
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ww
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April 17th, 2018, 3:03 am #42

lol, springtime has arrived here and the cobbles are easy to collect, no torch needed to get them out of the ground!

Talking knapping. these are soft ball sized "pebbles". Probably would not be swinging a hammerstone as hard as a plowtruck, maybe if I was younger.  And how to hold the pebble with a whack  that violent?  Just inquiring if anyone knows of ways of busting into round tough cobbles?
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VirginiaKnapper
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April 17th, 2018, 11:02 am #43

Definitely bipolar percussion, I am NO good source of its use, but I know for sure that it is used to work the round stuff. One rests the material on a flat anvil of hard rock and strikes the top of the material, or put a rock on top of the material and strike that. I will post two diagrams of its use later.

Frank

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"It's about what you learn, not what you make" - Erret Callahan
"Nothing like busting out a Savannah River out of some gnarly shit." - Robert Godshall, 1st annual ThunderRidge knap in.
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freeze cracked
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freeze cracked
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April 17th, 2018, 1:00 pm #44

i wasted a lot of time and caused a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on my physicalities by hitting rock that should have been left laying where it was. wish i hadn't.
i dream of a better world in which chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.
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ww
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ww
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April 17th, 2018, 4:45 pm #45

bipolar percussion, ummm ok  I am a bit new with some of the terms,so will look forward to learning what that is.

freezecracked, not looking for wear and tear either. Maybe if I knew what to to, I could figure out how. Of course if I had better rock around, I wouldn't mess with it. Sure would like to find something local. Right now I depend too much on the post office. Not that that's a bad thing, I just like to replicate what the the original inhabitants worked with in my area. There are a few traditional sources of good stone, and there was an established trade among the indigenous people.  One was 800 miles away in the Aleutian islands. and another 50 miles from the road in a national park. There was also local usage with this lesser stuff.
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Chippintuff
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April 17th, 2018, 7:18 pm #46

Bipolar percussion is splitting a rock that is too rounded to get into without wasting a lot by any usual means. The rock to be split is placed on a stump or on a hard place on the ground, and it is hit with a big rock or hammer on the center of the top crown. The few times I have done it, the hammer stone was at least as big as the rock I was splitting. The split runs in a "flat" plane from the point of impact to the center of the part on the stump/ground. The two halves are then easier to work and provide a chance to get two or more points from the stone.

In my attempts, rock slivers and chunks went in every direction imaginable, and with a lot of force, so be careful. Do NOT use your hand to hold the stone that is to be split. That could lead to a trip to the ER.

WA
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freeze cracked
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freeze cracked
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April 17th, 2018, 7:40 pm #47

big bipolar is one of the more dangerous things you can do. i'd trade the cannonballs for flattened nodules and move on...
i dream of a better world in which chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.
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ww
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ww
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April 17th, 2018, 8:56 pm #48

Thanks guys. Freeze, all these stones are glacial and ones without imperfections are well rounded. Some flatter or more elongated.
By flattened "nodules" do you mean that I should look for a flatter shape rather than cannonball round in this basalt, or is a nodule a different animal altogether?

Chipintuff, I am going to do some research on stone mason techniques. Supposing that I can find flatter round stones or elongated and egg shaped stones, what shape would one prefer and which way would one want to make the split?

The pic shows what I think was an eggshaped stone hit on the end, but I don't know what shape I am looking for to proceed the easiest. a round stone split right in half gives a 90 degree "corner", am I looking for a particular angle to work with?
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freeze cracked
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freeze cracked
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April 18th, 2018, 2:45 pm #49

most basalt isn't going to yield points. in places where there is very fine-grained basalt, it was used a fair amount for tools, but it is tricky to knap well due to its characteristics. it is dense, but doesn't have superior edge quality or flake strength, so everything has to be set up right if you don't want bunches of failed platforms and hinges. the only positives about it is that it is black and looks old after flaking. 

by nodules i meant flint. decent flint allows you to learn what the finest knapping you're capable of will look like. after that you know how much of the result is you and how much of it is the rock. some material doesn't give you a fair chance at a superior result. 

if you're going to work cannonballs using bipolar, at least wrap them in leather all around the sides, and wear shooting glasses or something to protect your eyes. when you hit downward on a natural platform or pinched out area of a rock, it takes far less energy to break it and get things started. when you hit on a round end straight in, if you don't hit hard enough to break it, you'll be putting a huge damage cone in it. when you do hit hard enough to break it, your physicalities are in grave peril if the rock-grenade shrapnel isn't contained.

too hard to learn to knap via text - watch videos and get to knapins if you can.
i dream of a better world in which chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.
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boletus
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April 18th, 2018, 3:59 pm #50

Best thing I ever did was buy some quality stone to start the learning process in the right direction. Many new knappers tend to lean towards wanting to work cheaper stone/lower quality stuff and you're just going to make it really hard on yourself. There will be a lot of frustration and almost no learning going in that direction. What "learning" you may have could end up being completely counterproductive. Unlearning bad habits is a real pain. I'd collect those cobbles and put them in your "when Im better pile". I recommend buying some dacite or heated novaculite to start with.. It will react appropriately to being worked and allow you to change your variables until you start to "get it". I can't stress how important it is to work good stone at first. I wasted a lot of time smacking junk that I picked up.

There are 4 knappers on youtube that I idolize the most and I recommend that you watch them religiously. In no particular order of greatness: Paleomanjim, freeze cracked, jackcrafty and flintknappingtips. Paleomanjim has a wonderful series of videos for beginning knappers and I highly recommend you start there. Freeze cracked has the best commentary and explanations for what happens and WHY to the rock your working. Jackcrafty has the best videos on the close up and fine detailed work. Flintknappingtips is the best resource for the knapper who wishes to use natural tools. He approaches godly status in that area. 

Looking forward to seeing your work. Don't give up!
-Jason
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ww
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ww
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April 19th, 2018, 2:38 am #51

so everything has to be set up right if you don't want bunches of failed platforms and hinges.
Freeze, in addition to its lack of suitability and it's toughness, are you saying that one has to be more exacting in technique to work this kind of stone?
There are 4 knappers on youtube that I idolize the most and I recommend that you watch them religiously.
Bolutus, thanks for the reviews, As someone who is hearing impared, I can say that not all videos are as easy to understand as others. I do admit that it's easier to show than write about, and when there is a knap-in within a thousand miles from here, I will probably attend.
Can anyone recommend a good book that explains the whys as well as the hows? Lest anyone think that I am trying the hard way to learn knapping by limiting my self to poor stone, I should say that I recently received a nice box of dacite from Paleosoul,  and he was kind enough to not send just a cobble. Utilizing local rock is a parallel interest to learning with better rock.
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boletus
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April 19th, 2018, 3:00 am #52

I would start with The Art of Flintknapping by DC Waldorf
-Jason
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PaleoSoul
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April 20th, 2018, 2:43 pm #53

The best videos on YouTube to watch are Flintknapping tips (Marty Rueter) and Paleomanjim (Jim Winn). I have been watching there videos for years and still learn new things to improve my knapping ability.
WW.. I'm sending you a medium box of Dacite and Obsidian spalls, flakes and a couple Texas chert preforms free of charge. But you gotta work this material and not let it sit like the last box
Also, your local recycle bin usually has an unlimited supply if glass you can learn on. Old TV glass, tile and even toilet porcelain is knappable and easier to get your hands on.

PaleoSoul

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Last edited by PaleoSoul on April 20th, 2018, 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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freeze cracked
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April 20th, 2018, 3:54 pm #54

ww - in response to your question "Freeze, in addition to its lack of suitability and it's toughness, are you saying that one has to be more exacting in technique to work this kind of stone?" -

yes, that's what i'm saying. on some materials, i can get away with totally disregarding almost everything that are considered by many to be the "rules" or "by the book" percussion and pressure.

but with other materials - and particularly those that are dense but lack platform strength and/or flake tensile strength, you can't cheat much and have to slow down and get things set up right and don't hit or push on them if they're not right.

and on some materials, like say raw keokuk or super-tough texas tough, you cannot get a good result following the textbook techniques at all. but you can get good results, and clean points, if you do what works for tough material, rather than what works on brittle stuff that breaks if you look at it wrong.
i dream of a better world in which chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.
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ww
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ww
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April 20th, 2018, 8:28 pm #55

Found a copy of DC Waldorf, The Art of Flint Knapping, it's in the mail. Any other classics out there?

Freeze, thanks for taking the time to be a bit more specific. I have often read and been told  "it's not knappable, just buy something else". It's nice to know more about what the challenges are. There are finer grain cobbles around (than that piece of basalt), but most every thing around here is glaciallly rounded with many kinds of rock found mixed together at any location.

when you hit on a round end straight in, if you don't hit hard enough to break it, you'll be putting a huge damage cone in it.
can i also assume that if I don't hit it exactly the same way the second or third time, then I will have damaged pieces to work with when it finally splits?
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freeze cracked
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freeze cracked
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April 20th, 2018, 9:28 pm #56

ww - "can i also assume that if I don't hit it exactly the same way the second or third time, then I will have damaged pieces to work with when it finally splits?"

if you hit it hard the first time, and it doesn't go, it doesn't help to hit it exactly the same way after that. you can't improve a damaged area, and the damage tends to act like a "crash barrel" and attenuate the force of subsequent strikes so that any resultant flakes don't run well. if i find a rock with the surface indicators of having a big force cone in it, i don't even take it home.

if i buy spalled material and there's any prominent bulbs on it, i assume the other side of the bulbed area that's still in the rock is highly damaged and work off that end first as i'm reducing the piece. i attack cones from the sides and cut down through them until they're gone. if you're going to work round rocks, then you need to use enough hard mass in the percussor and any anvil to get the split on your first attempt, and unfortunately getting that judgement as to the sufficiency of tools for the task is usually the result of lots of practice. i frequently see the sketchy results of using too low a mass in tools with too fast a force delivery. 
i dream of a better world in which chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.
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ww
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ww
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April 20th, 2018, 11:47 pm #57

need to use enough hard mass in the percussor
Ok, mass trumps striking speed

How big is a huge cone? could the damage be any size if you don't use a big enough stone?. 392.JPG
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quikdraw520
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July 2nd, 2018, 5:40 pm #58

PaleoSoul wrote: 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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