Why Pressure Flakes fall
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
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!