Posts Tagged ‘celt’

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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Since I haven’t posted in a while I thought I’d share a few projects I’m working on.  In my opinion, the whole point of doing primitive (or natural) skills is to do things the way we did them a long time ago.  I think the skills were a part of us for so long that they are imbedded in our hard-wiring and as a result, give us tremendous joy and satisfaction – like remembering what we were meant to do.  Unfortunately, I, like a lot of primitive skills people don’t do the skills totally primitively.  That’s because its really convenient to use metal tools to get the job done faster.  In the past few months I’ve made the commitment to do everything as primitively as I possibly can and in the process it has been a real eye opener.  The things I used to do quickly now take longer and aren’t as pretty BUT they are also about 10 times more fun to do.  Its extremely satisfying making things totally from scratch and figuring out all of the little tricks our ancestors used to get by with out metal for thousands of years.  I realize that this is why I got into primitive skills to begin with – to do things the way we did them a  long time ago.  I wish I hadn’t gotten distracted by the ease and convenience of modern tools for the past 10 years but at least I’m back on track now.

One project that I’m working on is to shoot a deer from nothing.  This means I’ll have to make a bow, bowstring, and arrows from scratch…. which means I’ll have to make an ax and adz from scratch.  So far the ax is coming along nicely.  Once the handle is dry, I’ll finish it and post the final pictures.

To shape an ax head you first “peck” it  with a flint cobble…

…then you grind it on a sand stone slab in a wet slurry of sand and flint flakes.

Next I cut a branch for the handle using a rough hand ax knapped with a hammerstone.

The one on the left is the ax handle, on the right is the mallet that I’ll use to chisel in the hole for the ax head. By far the most useful tool in my abo work is this sandstone slab. (By the way – anyone want to come crack some acorns??)

To chisel the hole I had to make an antler chisel. I cut off this tine using a chert blade that I roughed out with a hammerstone.

In no time I was able to grind an edge on the chisel using the sandstone slab.

Now its just a matter of chiseling out the hole. The antler worked great!

One of the biggest challenges to primitive wood working is keeping the wood from cracking as it dries. I’ve found that coating it in clay does the trick. I also wrapped the ends with wet rawhide which shrinks tight as it dries. I’m going to let the ax handle dry more before I start using it.

Flint knapping without the use of copper has been a challenge but very rewarding.

Banded obsidian.

I found a clay deposit out in the desert that appears to be high quality. I’m going to test it on this little pot before I make bigger ones.

Future ax and adz heads.

This is what it looks like when a branch is cut with a stone ax

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