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HomeSurvivalFlintknapping

Some Basic Flint Knapping Techniques

Brian Merrill demonstrating some basic flint knapping techniques
at the Wildwood Trackers meeting in June 2004

 
First of all, PLEASE TAKE NOTE of a couple of very important SAFETY ITEMS that are highlighted in the photo below:
  • Safety Glasses: Flint knapping causes rock or glass fragments to fly off in unforeseen directions. If one hits your eye, you could be blinded.
  • Bucket to catch rock and glass fragments.
  • Onlookers keep your distance: There's no one sitting really close to the flint knapper. Again, stray rock or glass fragments may fly off unexpectedly and hit bystanders.

Here is a well-equipped flint knapping kit. From left to right: A pad for pressure flaking, 3 percussion "whackers", a pressure flaking tool, a chunk of a grinding stone, which has various uses, and the all-important asfety glasses.

 
A basic pressure-flaking tool. It's a large dowel with a piece of round copper stuck in the end.

Pressure flaking is the act of "pressing" (removing) thin flakes off from a piece of stone or glass. It is usually used in making the fine sharp edge of an arrowhead and other similar things. It allows a very fine degree of control over the flintknapping process, much more so than whacking your work with a stone, which is the stereotypical flintknapping activity.

 
Pressure flaking:

This is the proper way to hold your "stone" that you're working on, against the pad in your left hand (if you're right-handed), and the pressure flaker in the other hand.

In this photo Brian is about to press a flake off his "stone" using the tip of the pressure flaking tool.

 

 
In this demonstration Brian is using the bottom of a glass bottle to practice with, as flint is hard to come by. Glass acts in much the same way as flint and obsidian, and is therefore excellent to practice flintknapping.
 
Here you can see where the "flakes" have been pressed off from the piece of glass, using the pressure flaking tool.
 
A first-timer having a go at pressure flaking.