Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Knapping Blanks

Will the seal grease ever dry?
I'm still working on filling wholesale orders.  The hafted Beothuk necklaces turned out to be really popular at the wholesale show, so almost everything that I have to make until the middle of May are corner-notched Recent Indian points.

Recent Indian arrowhead blanks
I have about 100 Recent Indian points to make in total - most of them will be made into hafted Beothuk necklaces, but some will be used on arrows and others will be used on necklaces, earrings, and tie tacks.  On big bunches of points like this, I like to work in an assembly line.  I spent a few hours making a big pile of flakes to knap into blanks.

A big pile of flakes to work through
I'll work on blanks for the rest of the day.  Blanks are roughly formed tools that could be finished in a number of different ways.  In this case, the blanks I want are small triangular bifaces to be corner-notched into Recent Indian arrowheads.  Tomorrow, I'll finish and notch all of the blanks that I have prepared by the end of the day and then on Friday I'll assemble the hafted arrowhead necklaces.  I should be able to get enough made to fill the first two or three orders on my schedule.

A bit of company
Its pretty repetitive, mind-numbing work.  I have a dusty little radio to help pass the time.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast


  1. Sounds like my dream job! What kind of stone are you using? And where does it come from?

  2. When I make reproductions, I always use local stone. In this case, most of the stone is chert that I've collected from a gravel quarry near Botwood in central Newfoundland. Most of the really good chert in Newfoundland comes from the central and western part of the island.

    Are you a knapper? I could use someone to make blanks.

  3. repetition indeed- yellow got printed yesterday in my assembly line of orders, and today is a yellow red rainbow roll- orange too if i'm really well behaved.

    all us wholesalers are listening to our dusty little radios together...

  4. I'm at the very beginning of a knapping passion. I took an experimental archaeology class at UNB this past fall, and I've been hooked ever since. But I'm nowhere near good enough to knap blanks yet! I'm happy if I can make anything that even resembles a blank!

    Do you do any bone-knapping? If so, what do you use?

  5. I haven't really done much bone knapping. Long bones can be chipped with some degree of control, but they don't really have a predictable conchoidal fracture like chert. Its more like roughing out a slate blank before you start grinding it. If you are cautious and lowerer your expectations, then you can take a few chips off of bone without too much risk. But to really shape it you are better off cutting and grinding it into shape.


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