Archive for January, 2012

I made an adz today.  Check it out:

A stick and a stone.

I need to cut a few inches off for the all the angles to be right.

I scored the line with a sharp flint knife.

I used my celt to chop it to size.

Now I’ll use an antler chisel to cut a platform for the stone.

First I cut the notch, then I split off the wood.

I’ll use the flint blade to rasp the platform flat and smooth.

I’ll use a strip of deerskin for the lashing. To make a rawhide string strong, you have to soak it, twist it and then make the lashing while it’s still twisted.

When the hide isn’t twisted, it is a flat weird shaped piece of skin with no strength. Twisting it makes all the difference.

The adz works great! Here is an abo boomerang I’m making. The angle of the adz allows me to shape wood much easier than just with an ax or antler chisels.

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I received one of the best Christmas presents ever this year – a moose antler!  I’ve been wanting a moose antler for years so this was very exciting for me.  There are some stages of flint knapping larger stones that are hard to do with a hammerstone or a small deer antler (at least for me).  Having a large moose antler opens up a whole new world of knapping for me.

Most knappers use a rasp and grinding wheel to make their antlers smooth for knapping but I am fascinated by the obscure details of primitive processing that indigenous people used before metal tools so I wanted to see how processing this antler would go using only “abo” techniques.

As you can see, raw moose antlers are rough and bumpy. To make a good knapping tool I'll need to smooth it out. Unfortunately this antler was already sawed off but the techniques I'll use would work just as well if it was whole.

This is the working end and it needs to be ground smooth.

By "pecking" with a small flint stone I was able to smash down some of the bumps.

On the left side here you can see how the bumps were smashed down using the flint stone. After pecking, I ground them smooth on the sandstone slab.

Here you can see how the bumps start to smooth out after grinding.

I'm going to use fire to help shape the larger bumps.

I have to be careful not to burn the antler too much because it becomes very brittle.

When the antler is charred, the pecking becomes much more effective.

Now it is time to shape the handle. I need to take a lot of the weight off of the back of this antler so the balance is more towards the working end.

I coated the lower part of the handle with clay to protect it from the heat.

If I could do it over again I would have tried to keep the handle longer. Live and learn.

When the antler is burnt it basically falls apart and you can hit it on a rock to flake off all the burnt parts.

Now I'm going to peck away the brittle parts and grind the handle smooth.

If you just grind an antler on a stone, the stone will quickly become inundated with bits of antler and it won't grind very well. The solution is sand.

Adding sand keeps the stone gritty and basically creates a giant solid peice of sand paper.

Much smoother.

Some further smoothing on the working end. As I use this antler billet I will regrind it periodically and it will take on a much more uniform shape.

The finished antler.

It works!

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Butterscotch Flint

Check out one of the beautiful flint cobbles I picked up in central TX last week.

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