Is it worth it: Flint Ridge quarry digging?

azmdted
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azmdted
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August 29th, 2018, 12:18 pm #1

Hi folks,

I'm headed to Flint Ridge tomorrow for the knap in and to stock up on rock and supplies for the winter.  My first time.  Question:  from a flint gathering perspective is it worth the time and effort to go to Nether's Farm, or maybe another one there, and try to dig some up on my own?  I know from an experience perspective it would be fun to dig a bit to get a sense of the effort, but from a practical point of view can a guy really take a shovel and some cold chisels and find decent knapping quality and size flint in a couple hours?  If so, any hints as to how and where?

Thanks
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freeze cracked
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freeze cracked
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August 29th, 2018, 1:08 pm #2

hard rock mining on the ridge is extremely arduous work, and you won't achieve much in a couple of hours, and forget thinking a shovel will be a useful tool. 

but it's fun to visit the quarries and ms. nethers is nice.

if you want regular flint ridge material, get with roy miller as soon as you arrive, because the material gets gone through fast. if you want nethers material you might ask ed moreland about it. 

hand-pick all rocks carefully, and ask people to show you how to select the best of each type of material you look at. 
Last edited by freeze cracked on August 29th, 2018, 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
i dream of a better world in which chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.
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azmdted
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August 29th, 2018, 1:10 pm #3

Thanks Freeze, that's pretty much the idea I was getting as I researched it.  
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Colibri
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August 29th, 2018, 11:41 pm #4

i couldn’t believe my luck when i was down in the pits at the Nether’s farm, with my rock bar and shovel making no headway on a big buried boulder, when i heard a faint beeping noise. it gradually got louder and louder until i climbed out of the pit and saw a big backhoe lumbering up through the woods. i hung out with ed moreland for the rest of the day and he taught me a lot about digging flint. we pulled some big boulders out of the ground with that backhoe and i went home with a pile of pieces he tossed in my bucket from time to time. we also unearthed a boulder with some beautiful colors and druzy crystals. that was just a few months ago and now I’m cutting stone on a tile saw and polishing it into jewelry in a rotary tumbler. i also managed to knap my first arrowheads. beautiful material.
i can’t imagine i would have left with much more than blisters and a sore back if ed hadn’t shown up that day.


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azmdted
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August 31st, 2018, 9:48 pm #5

I just returned from 3 hours at Nethers. No problem collecting with just a cold chisel and hand mallet. They opened new holes last week. Now, whether any I got is worth knapping is another story. Lots of cracked rock. But you can't beat $.50 a pound. Plus, it was fun spending time there. I would have paid extra for less humidity though.
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freeze cracked
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August 31st, 2018, 11:30 pm #6

yes, on the ridge, picking the healed material is the major challenge. 
i dream of a better world in which chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.
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WIoutdoorguy
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September 1st, 2018, 1:18 am #7

azmdted wrote: I just returned from 3 hours at Nethers. No problem collecting with just a cold chisel and hand mallet. They opened new holes last week.  Now, whether any I got is worth knapping is another story. Lots of cracked rock. But you can't beat $.50 a pound. Plus, it was fun spending time there. I would have paid extra for less humidity though.
Would love to see some pics if that's possible. I've been thinking about stopping there on my way to Pennsylvania at some point.
Rob
Like you said .50 cents a pound is worth the experience of collecting your own rock.
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azmdted
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September 1st, 2018, 6:57 pm #8

WIoutdoorguy wrote:
azmdted wrote: I just returned from 3 hours at Nethers. No problem collecting with just a cold chisel and hand mallet. They opened new holes last week.  Now, whether any I got is worth knapping is another story. Lots of cracked rock. But you can't beat $.50 a pound. Plus, it was fun spending time there. I would have paid extra for less humidity though.
Would love to see some pics if that's possible. I've been thinking about stopping there on my way to Pennsylvania at some point.
Rob
Like you said .50 cents a pound is worth the experience of collecting your own rock.
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azmdted
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September 1st, 2018, 6:59 pm #9

Here is $60 worth of Nethers Flint. The level is 8" for sizing. Most of the color you see is surface rust.
IMG_20180901_145232092.jpg
IMG_20180901_145227130.jpg
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azmdted
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September 1st, 2018, 7:05 pm #10

This might be duplicate post. Having trouble sending pics from the phone.

I found a small section with very good reds through the stone. Only baking will tell me what other colors I have.
IMG_20180901_145249211.jpg
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WIoutdoorguy
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September 2nd, 2018, 12:36 am #11

Azmdted, thank you very much for taking the time to post pics. Looks like you have some good solid pieces in that group. I hope you'll follow up and post what becomes of it.
Rob
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Colibri
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September 2nd, 2018, 7:34 pm #12

azmdted wrote:This might be duplicate post. Having trouble sending pics from the phone.

I found a small section with very good reds through the stone. Only baking will tell me what other colors I have.
that is a fantastic haul for only 3 hrs of labor. and some good sized chunks too. very curious if any of it is knappable. so often the large boulders are left behind because someone with a good eye for flintridge flint could tell it was no good for knapping.


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azmdted
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September 2nd, 2018, 7:50 pm #13

That’s the $64,000 question.  I’m confident some of the smaller pieces will be okay. I have no idea about the bigger ones. Half of it is from a vein I followed down so I was the first to see it, the other half was from finds from the backhoe tailings of another hole. I have no experience with the flint there so I have no idea what will happen. 

If I go back again next time I will be wiser for the experience regardless of whether I get usable quantities from this batch or not. Plus, it’s always good to do something yourself so that you can appreciate with your own sweat why Roy and others charge what they do for their pieces.  
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Bill Skinner
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September 14th, 2018, 2:28 pm #14

The first time myself and a couple of knappers went on a rock run, we hauled a couple of pick up truck loads out.  Brutally hard work with the wrong tools.  And the majority of which ended up as low walls for flower beds.  Just about totally worthless for knapping.  

But, the more we went, the better we got at high grading.  And we discovered which tools we actually needed.  Last couple of runs, pretty much everything was knappable.  Still hard work, just not brutally hard.  
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Colibri
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September 14th, 2018, 3:47 pm #15

Bill Skinner wrote:The first time myself and a couple of knappers went on a rock run, we hauled a couple of pick up truck loads out.  Brutally hard work with the wrong tools.  And the majority of which ended up as low walls for flower beds.  Just about totally worthless for knapping.  

But, the more we went, the better we got at high grading.  And we discovered which tools we actually needed.  Last couple of runs, pretty much everything was knappable.  Still hard work, just not brutally hard.  
Bill, could you elaborate a bit on the tools you find helpful and your techniques for hi grading?
thanks!


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Bill Skinner
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September 15th, 2018, 12:49 am #16

An 8 pound sledge hammer.  A short handled 3 pound hammer.  Three or four pieces of 1" bar stock with a flat chisel tip, a round point, a splayed flat tip and a wedge shaped tip.  These are about a foot long and are used to break the rock up.  You generally don't pound on the rocks with the hammers, you hit the soft steel chisels.

Buckets,  Lots of buckets.  Put the crappy buckets in the back of the truck, use the good buckets to haul the rock to the truck.  Dump the rocks in the good buckets into the crappy buckets to keep from chewing up your truck bed.  Depending on how far you have to haul the rocks depends on how full you fill the buckets.  About 1/3 max.  And it's easier to carry two buckets.  Get a roll of duct tape and reinforce all the handles on the buckets before you start.  Gloves.  Good gloves, leather ones.  Jeans, not shorts.  Boots, leather work boots, not Crocs or tennis shoes.   
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Colibri
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September 15th, 2018, 1:09 am #17

thanks Bill. that is very helpful. did u make all those types of chisels yourself or buy them? and what do you use to dig down to find the flint boulders? is a rock bar helpful?


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Bill Skinner
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September 18th, 2018, 2:36 pm #18

I use all the tools mostly for breaking stuff off a ledge.  Sometimes I have to dig a spot or move some dirt off the edge.  So, that's basic shovel work.  Get a sturdy shovel, you end up prying with it a lot.

I made my tools out of 1 inch square stock I bought from Tractor supply.  Use a side grinder to make your tips.  You'll use up a grinding wheel on a bench grinder.  You can use the bench grinder to touch up the tips before you go.  I try to find a natural crack in the rock, put the tip in and whale away.  The whole chunk separates and you reduce it from there.  Or not.  A 4 X 9 cotton tarp ripped in half makes a good pad for your shoulder if you want to carry out some of the larger pieces.  Wrap the rock in it and pick it up on your shoulder.

I have no idea what a rock bar is.
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