Indirect knapping methods.

A forum for discussion by and for knappers who utilize stone, bone, antler, horn, ivory, wood or other natural materials - as our ancestors used.

Indirect knapping methods.

medicine maker
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January 25th, 2018, 4:47 pm #1



Ive recently found a man named Cushing who apparently live with an native tribe and learned many of their knapping techniques. Ive really been liking using the techniques he describes and have found them to help in almost all stages of knapping. I recently used similiar techniques to remove outer cortex from some very hard chert as well as to knap glass arrowheads. You get some really really easy and long flakes. Many are at least to the centerline if not overshots. This video has really helped me understand alot and is a great A to Z video on the techniques. Let me know what yall think. Especially if any of yall use these techniques or a variant of. 
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nogie1717
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January 25th, 2018, 5:11 pm #2

I use antler indirect quite a bit, but the "shaft punch" method that I first saw Marty Rueter using (who I believe based his horizontal punching on Mike Dothager's methods).  I have done some "sandwich" support like Paleomanjim has a video on to increase flake size, but haven't done anything similar to the rigid support a person would get from the back of the knee.

When the weather gets nice, I intend to try to experiment a little with this.  I've smoked myself in the balls a handful of times and this method seems to be just begging for it, so I'm a little hesitant. lol
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medicine maker
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January 25th, 2018, 6:10 pm #3

Im still working on these techniques myself. Ive found it a bit hard to generate the force I need while holding a tine like the vid or a rounded antler punch. but it could be my holding it. I aslso tend to hit my fingers. This produces many types of flakes easily ive found. From rocky chunk cortex reduction flakes, to preform flakes, toeven fine later stage flakes. The rock anvil I find I often need but there is evidence for without the anvil too.
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Hummingbird Point
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January 26th, 2018, 12:12 am #4

I would suggest you google "cushing the arrow".  About 10 pages into "The Arrow" under the heading "The making of arrows" is Cushing's description of the start to finish knapping process.  How Ben got the above from reading Cushing I'm not sure.  He seems to ignore much more of what Cushing says than he follows.  Spending 48 minutes to do...I'm not sure what... with a very late stage preform is insane.  Following Cushing's method from start to finish, with a little practice, a field grade (nothing wrong with it, average) Clovis point like Ben shows is 15, maybe 20 minutes from the crack of the hammerstone taking the spall to finishing by grinding the base. 

Marty Reuter's shaft punch is much easier and faster.  If you want to take the time to very carefully set up platforms and surgically take flakes, you can get the same results in half the time.

His method is as good as any I've seen for fluting, but the value is in the support, not the tool used.
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medicine maker
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January 26th, 2018, 4:02 pm #5

YES. Oh I was hoping someone would know THE ARROW. Thats precisely where I learned all this. 
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medicine maker
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January 26th, 2018, 4:05 pm #6

This comes not only from Cushing but many other quotes.
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medicine maker
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January 26th, 2018, 6:06 pm #7

Plus the point isnt to make a "finished" point using whatever you want. The point is to make it using the methods and order the natives made it in. 
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Hummingbird Point
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January 26th, 2018, 9:27 pm #8

medicine maker wrote: Plus the point isnt to make a "finished" point using whatever you want. The point is to make it using the methods and order the natives made it in. 
I agree.  I follow Cushing's model. The antler tools I use for direct percussion (per Cushing) and indirect percussion (per Reuter) are shown below.  The tine is still in use, the 3 bases have hit reject stage.  Shown here is only the antler portion of the tools, not the whole composite tool.  This is what the archaeologists would find in my chip pile:




Compare with these found in a chip pile at an ancient chert quarry in Illinois:



Also compare with:  http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/harre ... -MB39.html

Along with a hammer stone and tine pressure flaker, I use these tools to very consistently make field grade type fluted points in 15 minutes, 20 if I do too much pressure flaking.  I don't make the big, awesome looking very artistic type points because when God was handing out artistic talent, I got about none!


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medicine maker
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February 3rd, 2018, 1:11 am #9

Here’s just an example of the flakes I took off easily using the Cushing techniques. Ive really been loving the in hand punch technique. Really great , I didn’t think it would love handled such a large square edge so easily. The large flakes were removed with the antler punch. This was also my first time using the antler punch. I really think these are good techniques for beginners and might save some stone.
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medicine maker
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February 3rd, 2018, 1:20 am #10

Well this shows the antler punch since the first set of pictures didn’t load. Also where my thumb is is where a big hump is and he next photo is the flake removal from the punch.
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swataramike
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February 3rd, 2018, 7:39 am #11

same flakes can be taken much easier with a swift accurate whitetail/moose percussion strike....or even more accurate with a antler shaft punch...
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NewbowPA
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February 3rd, 2018, 8:14 pm #12

"Ben the Banned".  I remember Ben from when he used to be on PP.  He was never banned as I recall (was he, admins?) but made himself unpopular with a lot of members posting dozens of pictures and saying in a paragraph what two words would have sufficed.  I felt sorry for him and messaged him to suggest ways he could communicate better but he seemed to like the negative feedback; made him feel like a martyr, I guess.  His fixation was that he had discovered the ancient Maya (I think) method of knapping and it was indirect percussion.  He presented indirect percussion like it was a new discovery that only he knew about.  The problem, along with his vociferousness, was that he couldn't knap for beans; he could take flakes but couldn't make anything that didn't look like garbage.  He's only been doing this now for maybe thirty years.  The point in the video is light years ahead of any other point I've ever seen him make, including those in his other YouTube videos (those I've seen).  To the best of my knowledge, he's never lived with any Indians.  It would be informative if we could dig up his old posts.  I tried to locate them a year or so ago but came up empty.  They may have been deleted, but I don't remember his user name and guessing at subject didn't work so I might have missed them.  Admins , got any ideas?  There's nothing wrong with indirect.  It's a very good technique, it's just that Ben isn't the best instructor on the Internet; Marty (flintknapping tips) and freezecracked come to mind.  You can watch all of Ben's videos if you go to his YouTube page:  KnapYucatan  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-w49L ... 4ms6LBJdQQ
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EphraimxGadsby
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February 3rd, 2018, 9:29 pm #13

Thanks for some of the background, Newbow. 

This is a really interesting discussion. It does seem that many accounts of indigenous knapping in the US suggest that at least at that late period, indirect was far more common than it is in our techniques today. 

One note I have is that holding the preform in the 'crook' of the knee, if you will, does not seem to me to be a part of Cushing's account. He does state '...clamping it in a folded pad of buckskin under the knee against a hammerstone...' but his fig. 5 seems to show an individual placing the anvil on the ground, the wrapped preform on the anvil and their kneecap on the wrapped preform.

Have a look here, I'm curious what others think of this:
https://archive.org/details/jstor-658382
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swataramike
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February 4th, 2018, 12:46 am #14

his name was ancientarcher ....i think....but i read the old posts....just seemed like a lot of nonsense if you ask me...never saw a finished point made by the dude..whatever
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medicine maker
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February 4th, 2018, 4:43 pm #15

Yes he states that but he also says directly after “ or else over a pit of stone or notch if a block or log were used and with one hand holding the point of the pitching tool very lightly and slantingly and at a wide angle against of just over the points to be chipped sharply tapping the tool with a maul or with a knapping hammer (fig 5)”

This second half describes figure 5. The first half ,I believe , describes what I did.
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caveman2533
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February 4th, 2018, 8:30 pm #16

swataramike wrote: his name was ancientarcher ....i think....but i read the old posts....just seemed like a lot of nonsense if you ask me...never saw a finished point made by the dude..whatever
ancientarcher was Russ Hill. A good friend of mine passed away  2 years ago.. you are thinking of Ben Eble don't remember what his screen name was anymore. He causing a ruckus on Facebook.. He has been banned from paleoplanet for many years not because of his ideas, but because of the way he treats people.
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caveman2533
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February 4th, 2018, 8:34 pm #17

NewbowPA wrote: "Ben the Banned".  I remember Ben from when he used to be on PP.  He was never banned as I recall (was he, admins?) but made himself unpopular with a lot of members posting dozens of pictures and saying in a paragraph what two words would have sufficed.  I felt sorry for him and messaged him to suggest ways he could communicate better but he seemed to like the negative feedback; made him feel like a martyr, I guess.  His fixation was that he had discovered the ancient Maya (I think) method of knapping and it was indirect percussion.  He presented indirect percussion like it was a new discovery that only he knew about.  The problem, along with his vociferousness, was that he couldn't knap for beans; he could take flakes but couldn't make anything that didn't look like garbage.  He's only been doing this now for maybe thirty years.  The point in the video is light years ahead of any other point I've ever seen him make, including those in his other YouTube videos (those I've seen).  To the best of my knowledge, he's never lived with any Indians.  It would be informative if we could dig up his old posts.  I tried to locate them a year or so ago but came up empty.  They may have been deleted, but I don't remember his user name and guessing at subject didn't work so I might have missed them.  Admins , got any ideas?  There's nothing wrong with indirect.  It's a very good technique, it's just that Ben isn't the best instructor on the Internet; Marty (flintknapping tips) and freezecracked come to mind.  You can watch all of Ben's videos if you go to his YouTube page:  KnapYucatan  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-w49L ... 4ms6LBJdQQ
Ben somehow snuck in a backdoor to Paleplanet and deleted his posts himself and blamed the admins for doing it. He was banned but not for is ideas, but for causing strife with every post. 
Steve Nissly
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Chippintuff
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February 4th, 2018, 8:52 pm #18

I don't have much time for trouble makers or know-it-alls. Ben was both. I doubt he had much interest in knapping except that he could stir up a fuss there. If he had any real interest, he could have learned how to do it. He wanted to be the originator of indirect percussion and the most appropriate instructor on the method for doing it. According to one poster here (may? have been Woody Blackwell) Ben got his first exposure to indirect percussion at the hands of that knapper.

If he would show respect for others and give credit where credit is due, I would be happy to chip with him any day, and I believe most of us here would.

WA
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swataramike
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February 5th, 2018, 6:58 am #19

yeah steve i was not sure of his screen name...but judging by reading his old post i realized there was somthing strange going on upstairs..

hey steve i went to your guys monthly meeting in enola last weekend seems like a good group of guys there...think you will be there this month?..i would like for you to give me some pointers and advice....pretty much anything that will help me..lol
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caveman2533
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February 5th, 2018, 1:12 pm #20

yes I plan on it. I was in Vermont
Steve Nissly
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