Monday, December 15, 2014

The Dorset Harpoon is drying

The harpoon head is secured to the
line now.
All of the pieces of the Middle Dorset Palaeoeskimo sealing harpoon reproduction are assembled.  They need to dry overnight and then I can trim the stray hairs and sinews to make the whole tool look nice and crisp and clean.  I don't plan to do much in the way of antiquing on this piece.  It will be used in a teaching collection and I think the natural wear and tear that it receives over the years will do a good job of building up the appearance of age.

Harpoon pieces: spruce main shaft, antler harpoon head,
chert endblade, sinew lanyard, whalebone foreshaft,
and sealskin line and lashing
It's the braided sinew and sealskin lashings and line that I'm waiting to dry.  I scraped the hair off the sealskin this morning and then soaked it in water for an hour or two to make it flexible enough to work with. The harpoon line is about ten feet of air dried hooded seal skin.   Three narrower two foot long lengths of sealskin are used to lash various components on to the main shaft.  One lashing is used to attached the wedge of wood that closes the socket where the foreshaft is secured on to the end of the shaft and two strips of skin are used to create an attachment point for the harpoon line part way down the spruce shaft.

This is a toggling harpoon head.  Here you can see how it is designed to pivot or toggle sideways when the line goes taught.  The braided sinew lanyard looks a little fuzzy and messy while it is drying.  The loose ends are the ends of individual strands that I fed into the braid as I was making the cord.  They'll get trimmed off tomorrow.
 Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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