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Why Pressure Flakes fall short

There are several things to consider when your flakes fall short of your targer or don't run as far as you want. All these tips below are complimentary to each other. They all pieces to the puzzle, they are all importaint.

1. The first is your flake path. What I mean is that you have to choose proper places on the bi-face that lend themselves to longer flakes. These gennerally are the highest places on the surface of the bi-face or preform. You must be sure that your choosing ridges and or humps to "guide" the flakes down.

2. The second thing is that you have to grind or buff up the edge with your abrading stone just enough to support the pressure your applying to the edge. Too much and it will take excessive force to generate a flake leaving you with a broken preform or a sprained wrist. If you do not grind enough, the edge can crush or create a small chip.

3. The third is that there is quite a bit of "body English" or follow through with the pressure flaker's or Ishi stick's use. What I mean is that when you peel a potato with a peeler, you follow the contour of the potato. This is because you want to create a shaving that is all one piece. THis saves time and effort. So, with using the pressure flaker it is no different. You must guide the flaker in the same way. Place the flaker on the edge and slowly build up pressure, then as the flake begins to detach, with a "peeling" action guide the tool tip with a following through action.

4. The fourth thing is that flakes will travel farther if they are pushed in a oblique manner. (remember this critical rule...do not chip flakes down a surface that is concaved. It must have some amount of convexity.) If you can... try not to push them strait into the piece. (or a 90 degree angle from the edge) Fakes will rarely cross the center line on the piece.

5. The fifth thing is to work in a row. Like shelling corn of a corn cob. Start at the base or tip (depending on the way your holding it) and chip the flakes off in a row. Each flake following the other's scar. Sometimes you will need to skip an area because there is not a good path for the flake to travel on. With each pass down the preform it will become more uniform with less and less high spots.

6. Keep your flaker sharp! Your flaker tip can be a number of different types, paddle, flat, chisel, Pounded round to a point, or pounded round to a point with four square edges. The key thing here is that your contact area must be at a minimum. You can't do good pressure work with a dull flaker point. Remember to pound your copper tips NOT grind them. They will stay nice and hard. It's common for it to be necessary to re sharpen a flaker tip many times before the piece is finished.

Hope this helps ya!
Mark Bracken

pictures comming soon!