Random Reductions

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

Random Reductions

Forager
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Forager
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Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 11:42 pm

July 14th, 2018, 2:25 am #1

Have scarcely knapped at all since last year for different reasons but have recently found occasion to do so.

Just some of the Madison/Levanna triangles I made as give-aways for a presentation I offered in Spring - 
Free Triangles.JPG
In order to keep this monotonous form interesting, many of these were done with hammerstone percussion and hammerstone pressure using the same tool.  I was pleased to find that stone pressure created a more broad initiation and a far sharper edge than antler.  Between percussion, abrasion and pressure it was all about one tool, the hammerstone.

For the demo I showed a quartzite-on-quartzite spall...
VA Q Spall 1.JPG
...also illustrating how to thin an argillite core with heavy wood -
Initial Thinning.JPG ...leaving a reasonable biface anticipating further effort:
Early Stage Biface.JPG

Enjoying a taste for this stone I played with making some cache blanks -
Preforms.JPG ...and finished one this evening employing wood percussion, punch, and pressure:
Argillite Susquehanna.JPG
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nogie1717
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Joined: April 6th, 2016, 2:43 pm

July 14th, 2018, 2:28 am #2

Great to see and hear from you, Forager! I’m interested in seeing the hammerstone you used for pressure flaking if you get an opportunity. Fantastic work!


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Forager
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Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 11:42 pm

July 14th, 2018, 3:18 am #3

Thanks very much nogie, I'm just glad to be in the game.

Here's some images of the hammerstone pressure flaker and the resulting edge -
Edge-View of Hammerstone Pressure.JPG
Yeah it's undulating, but these were give-aways not PITH points, intended to provide the form and a sharp edge but not meant for business.

Here's the hammer -
Hammer, Pressure tool.JPG ...and how it was oriented in hand -
Pressing Grip.JPG The faceted point of the hammer is the natural result of preferential use as a percussor - turned in hand during use to wear toward a particular (pointed) form.  The hammer's point is pressed against the lightly abraded edge and while pressure is applied the detachment is initiated by rocking/levering the hammer against the centerplane for a flake removal.  The flakes were broad and sufficiently long to grade into the biface for a reasonably clean presentation with a sufficiently sharp edge.  

One may see here a variety of stones employed for these informal experiments: cherts, flints, quartzite, rhyolites and others too pretty or fancy for me to know their names, but they all responded similarly to the hammerstone's pressure.  Interesting, good to know in a pinch, and perhaps bearing some interpretive relevance to the prehistoric record of practice when it bears on the economy of simplicity in utility.  Might this be one possible but very functional reason why we see so few organic pressure flakers preserved in the archaeological record?
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nogie1717
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Joined: April 6th, 2016, 2:43 pm

July 14th, 2018, 3:25 am #4

Thanks for honoring my request.

I think that the use of stones (and wood) in flaking is understated in the archaeological record. Just my own opinion, but antler would not have been nearly as available as the two alluded to above. With garages and basements, our tool kits are deep and not part of a nomadic lifestyle. Making use of what was available was most likely quite common and like you mentioned, perhaps not as recognized as they should be. Thanks again and the pressurestone appears to render a very sharp edge on the points.


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Forager
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Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 11:42 pm

July 14th, 2018, 3:41 am #5

I'll agree with your insightful inference concerning the observable prehistoric record, regardless of what we take for granted in our own knapsacks, the Ancients were often limited to what they could carry as travellers.  This meant knowing how to use what could be found on site as they made their way, implying a far more expansive mental toolkit relative to the environments they passed through.  

What is more basic or elementary than a hammerstone?  What remains is how to become fluent in its applications.  I love seeing how much further the limits of a simple tool can carry me in producing a fairly refined tool form, whether stone, wood, or other materials.  

When we fail to chase these possibilities through experimentation, we cheat ourselves of a share in the far greater ingenuity and economy of our more distant ancestors, and a possible experiential taste of their savvy.
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Hummingbird Point
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July 14th, 2018, 12:59 pm #6

Love it.  So glad to see you knapping!  I've been a bit slumpy myself, lucky to find an hour a week to knap.  One thing that helps is having new stuff to try, like stone pressure flaking.  I need to dig through my hammerstones and find a good one to try that with.  Your pictures are awesome.  I think you have some hidden talent there.  That one of the biface cache is perfectly lit.  I want a poster of that!

Keith
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Forager
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Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 11:42 pm

July 14th, 2018, 6:00 pm #7

Thanks for the kind remarks Keith.  I should mention the grade of stone I used for pressure.  If we described a scale of hardness for stone hammers which ran from the softest sandstone at 1 up to the hardest quartzite at 10, my pressure hammer would be between 6 and 7.  You can see that it is reasonably fine-grained and dense but easily shaped through the attrition of use.  I don't know geology but I can say that I collected it from the bed of the Upper Delaware river.

As to the lighting of the biface cache photo, credit is due to Old Sol late in the afternoon.
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Forager
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Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 11:42 pm

July 14th, 2018, 6:21 pm #8

Now I don't like the indoor lighting on the point I finished, so here's one where the sun shows more of the flaking and steps and the stubborn little knot on the right shoulder (I think it's the flip side of the night photo) -
Susquehanna in Argillite.JPG

Good.  Much better definition.
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quikdraw520
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Joined: May 3rd, 2018, 9:45 pm

July 16th, 2018, 6:25 am #9

Forager wrote:great work! I'jm  beginner, and am interested in any classes, knap ins, etc.... any ideas?

Have scarcely knapped at all since last year for different reasons but have recently found occasion to do so.

Just some of the Madison/Levanna triangles I made as give-aways for a presentation I offered in Spring - 
Free Triangles.JPG
In order to keep this monotonous form interesting, many of these were done with hammerstone percussion and hammerstone pressure using the same tool.  I was pleased to find that stone pressure created a more broad initiation and a far sharper edge than antler.  Between percussion, abrasion and pressure it was all about one tool, the hammerstone.

For the demo I showed a quartzite-on-quartzite spall...
VA Q Spall 1.JPG
...also illustrating how to thin an argillite core with heavy wood -
Initial Thinning.JPG...leaving a reasonable biface anticipating further effort:
Early Stage Biface.JPG

Enjoying a taste for this stone I played with making some cache blanks -
Preforms.JPG...and finished one this evening employing wood percussion, punch, and pressure:
Argillite Susquehanna.JPG
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Woodland Roamer
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Joined: November 9th, 2005, 3:34 am

July 16th, 2018, 9:47 am #10

Excellent work as always. Performs like are my favorite stage of reduction so I love the cache.
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freeze cracked
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Joined: October 30th, 2012, 2:24 am

July 16th, 2018, 12:54 pm #11

forager person -

i always consider it a great gift to the woild when you do a topic or post cuz yer just way on up there with your brain cogitations, your manuel dexterity, and your artistic genessee qwah. plus i love your broadspears, which is something i never thought i'd say, and am now wondering if i share too much.

but anyway, this time around, when i read the topic, i couldn't help but have the thought that "hey, what if this guy really just has a pet snapping turtle and is sticking flakes in front of it to get easy mass production of those guitar picks he's crankin' out?"

then i felt bad about thinking that and figured if i confessed it here maybe i can start sleeping better again. 

<looking around>

whut?
i dream of a better world in which chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.
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Forager
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Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 11:42 pm

July 17th, 2018, 2:24 am #12

Thanks for the thoughtful remarks, friends.

quikdraw I like your idea about finding a knap-in in your area.  It is a great advantage to see the craft being done in person and to be able to ask questions.  Because the majority of knappers are generous and encouraging, this would be the first line to pursue.  Until this becomes possible, many videos have been made available on YouTube, among the most informative and useful would be those crafted by our esteemed fellow PaleoPlanet member freeze cracked.  Another highly recommended video resource would be Marty of Flintknappingtips, a master of old-tool style knapping.  Both of these guys have done a great deal to improve the knapping of many through explaining their insights and showing their methods.  They represent the best in the medium.  You should also feel welcome to post your efforts and questions in our knapping forums, there are a number of knowledgeable and experienced folks here who will provide all of the help and support they can.

Alan like you I strongly favor preforms.  They represent the graduated transformation of a rock into a thin, regular blank - a valuable product in itself... why else would they have been traded and cached over many thousands of years?  Part of the raw charm I perceive in the preform is its sheer promise of becoming something more refined and absolutely defined.  However, I am more drawn to the promise than its fulfilled conclusion.

fc I feel honored and glad that you've come to appreciate the hardstone Broadspear... it makes up for your having let the turtle out of the bag (or would that be 'snapsack'?).
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freeze cracked
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July 17th, 2018, 3:31 am #13

What the heck’s a snapsack?  Ohhh wait, I see what you did there...   was that a susqkwawanna pun?
i dream of a better world in which chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.
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Forager
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Joined: October 22nd, 2010, 11:42 pm

July 17th, 2018, 11:51 pm #14

Whether pun or portmanteau, I'll acknowledge it wasn't at all beeverly but it did carry a little bite.
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