Monday, March 2, 2015

Labrador Straits Historical Development Corporation Order

This is the first of six pre-scheduled blog posts.  Late last week I put an order in the mail to Forteau, Labrador.  This jewellery will be for sale through the Labrador Straits Historical Development Corporation.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Friday, February 27, 2015

Open Minds

Student ulus
I'm putting the blog on auto-pilot for the next couple of weeks with pre-scheduled posts.  I've been wrapping up a few small Elfshot jobs this week, including one last Open Minds workshop at The Rooms.  I'll be back in later in March to work with another class of students making ground stone ulus.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ikaahuk awl in progress

At this point, I'm shaving off millimetres from the Ikaahuk artifact reproductions to match the originals. I have a few other projects and contracts on the go and I'm also preparing to head somewhere warm for a few days, so Ikaahuk progress will come to a standstill until I'm able to return to the workshop a little later in March.   I'm going to set up a few pre-scheduled blog posts to keep the Monday, Wednesday, Friday publishing cycle going on while I'm away.  I suspect that a portion of the scheduled posts will be photos of the Ikaahuk artifacts and reproductions that I took today.   This is the awl handle.  I've been splashing the metal part of the offset awl with muriatic acid for the past few days so that it will rust to match the original. 
Photo Credit: Tim Rast

Monday, February 23, 2015

MUNArch Flintknapping 2015

Obsidian and
chert arrowheads
MUNArch, the archaeology student association at Memorial University of Newfoundland, is once again sponsoring a flintknapping workshop this March.  The event will be held over 3 evenings, March 16, 19, and 23rd in the Great Hall at Queen's College on the MUN campus in St. John's.

March 16: Introduction to Percussion Knapping

In this class, students will learn the basics of using hammerstones and antler billets to strike flakes from cores. By the end of the evening, you will have produced your own hard hammer and soft hammer flakes, a uniface and a biface.

Percussion knapping using hammerstones and antler billets

March 19: Introduction to Pressure Flaking

Learn how to use copper and antler tools to turn flakes into arrowheads and other stone tools by pushing off small, precise flakes.

A copper-tipped pressure flaker, obsidian arrowheads, and a hammerstone

March 23: Special Projects 

Put your new skills to use to make a complete stone tool.  Work with sinew, wood, and natural glues to haft your knapped work.

Hafted stone tools

Start time is 6:30 PM on each evening.

The workshops are open to anyone over age 16 - you do not need to be a MUN student to attend:

Prices: $50 for all three nights, $40 for two, or $25 for one.
Space is limited, so please register early to reserve your spot.  Please contact MUNArch: to register.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Friday, February 20, 2015

And then there are those days...

Yesterday, the quartzite scraper was finished, I just needed to compare it with the original Pre-Dorset artifact one last time before I declared it "done".  I was walking across the parking lot at The Rooms on the way to visit the Ikaahuk collection, when I dropped the box containing the reproductions. The scraper I was making snapped in two when it hit the asphalt.  Usually when I break stuff, its in the workshop as I'm building it.  This is just humiliating.  
Other pieces are slowly taking shape.  On this Thule harpoon head, I need to intentionally break off three of the four barbs in order to match the original.  Hopefully those breaks can happen with a little bit more control than the scraper break.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Did I mention the progress was slow?

I'm visiting the Ikaahuk artifacts in The Rooms every other day and using the days in between to make progress on the reproductions in the workshop.  On reproductions like this the first step is to build the replica and match it to the dimensions of the original artifact.  Then I antique the reproduction to match the look of the original.  In a couple cases I'm nearly ready to move on to the antiquing phase, like the offset awl above.  The handle still needs a bit of carving, but once I confirm that the awl is the right size by comparing it to the original artifact tomorrow, then I can begin rusting it with a muriatic acid wash.

The little bola ball made from antler was cut from a caribou antler beam and then further ground and polished down.  I'm in the process of doing the same with the reproduction on the left.  From talking to Charles Arnold, the archaeologist who found the artifacts shown here on Banks Island, the bolas would have been made several at a time by scoring and then snapping off segments of an antler.  Once the tough cortical exterior of the antler is cut or chopped through, then the spongey interior is relatively easy to snap off.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Monday, February 16, 2015

Old Stone Bridge, Bowring Park

A good weekend to get out and snowshoe.
Photo Credit: Tim Rast
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