Monday, January 5, 2015

Side-Hafting microblades

The microblades, edge on.
I'm back in the workshop this week and returning to the set of Dorset Palaeoeskimo reproductions for the Parks Canada interpreters to use at Port au Choix.  Here's a look at a batch of side-hafted microblades.  To prepare the blades for this style of handle, I usually trim a couple millimetres off the distal end, give the back edge of each microblade a quick brush with a hammerstone, and do a small amount of retouch around the bulb end of the blade.  Microblades will usually have a slight curve to them, with a more pronounced curve at the distal end where the blade wrapped around the bottom of the blade core.  Trimming off the distal end of the microblade removes that pronounced arc at the end of the blade.   Backing the blade dulls, straightens, and strengthens the edge inserted into the handle. The retouch on the bulb end dulls and thins the part of the microblade that is in contact with the brace piece.

For this set, I'm using a variety of wooden handles and some of the brace pieces are wood, while two are bone.  I prefer working with the wooden braces and handles over the bone, because the stone bites into the wood and seems to create a more secure bond.  However, bone and ivory handles and brace pieces show up archaeologically, so it's good to include some.

The blade needs to fit fairly snugly into the slot in the handle on its own.  The brace is there to lock it into place. 

These aren't quite ready to lash together.  I'll made a few notches and maybe some holes through the handles and braces to illustrate some of the variability seen in Dorset Palaeoeskimo microblade handles.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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