help choosing a knapping kit or
Understanding the basic tools of the trade
copper billets:The one inch solid copper
billet is indestructible! As you are learning how to set
striking platforms the billet must be able to hold up
to platforms that are inadvertently
build or ground to strong. They are a good choice for
folks just getting started. The BIG solid copper billets
(1-1/2" to 1-1/4") are designed with the "rock
hunter" in mind. They are essential for thinning
those huge spalls you make at the quarry. I have even
used my sledge hammer on my 1-1/2" solid billet as
a punch to drive off flakes with perfect accuracy!
These will NOT hold up to heavy abuse. However, Solid
Head Copper Boppers are tougher, but a little bit
more expensive than lead filled boppers. The Lead filled
Copper Boppers are designed for precise knapping and may
not be the best choice for the first timer. If the head
of your bopper deforms, then
there is a good chance that your platform is too stout
or your billet is too small for what you are trying to
do. Use the head and side of this billet. Be sure to use
the entire surface of the tool's cap. Use the tip as well
as the sides. I like to "trim" or clean up jagged
edges with the tip and drive long flakes by using the
side of the tool. This is an excellent tool and has revolutionized
modern knapping because of the control that the "weight
forward" design offers. This tool has helped many
a knapper progress thinning to the next level and beyond!
See all billets here.
Sticks vs the smaller "Notchers"
It's all about personal preference. Here is some thoughts
to guide you along in your choice. All of our pressure
flakers feature an adjustable tip. They are double set
screwed for added peace of mind and durability. They have
copper nail (part #N109; aka 20d nail) that can be easily
fed outward as needed. The flaker tools (Ishi or the "notcher")
will be the tool you use for your notching, edge work
and most important for platform building. It will give
you the accuracy you need to create good quality striking
platforms --the heart of good knapping techniques. The
difference between the notcher and the 20" long Ishi
stick is the power and control that can be generated with
the Ishi stick. The flex in
the 3/4 dia. Ishi gives an added "spring" affect,
helping to transfer the energy through the flake detachment
process producing longer flakes. All our 20" Ishi
sticks have the Allen Key tool built right into the handle
for storage. A great new feature!
However, Ishi sticks are not for everyone. Many expert
knappers use only the small 6" flakers with good
results. The advantage of the Ishi stick is the leverage
you can generate with it. Your legs are the driving force
behind this tool and your wrists just guide the force.
Tip; Keep your pressure flakers sharp by pounding the
tip to a point. Then dress it with a file. This will keep
the copper hard and reduce slippage on the edge of your
piece (don't use a bench grinder, it will get the copper
too hot and it will lose it's hardness!) One
must use extreme caution when using these tools. The amount
of force generated must be well controlled! A hand pad
must be used! Improper use of this tool and or absence
of proper hand protection is the responsibility of the
user. Failing to heed this warning could result in serious
injury! As with any sharp tool, proper transportation,
safety gear and technique must be used.. I strongly
advise the book "The Art Of
Flintknapping" for proper care of your tools
and if your unfamiliar with knapping safety and tool care.
The DVD "Flintknapping
Fundamentals" is another highly recommended item.
leather Hand Pads vs the Rubber "channeled"
are most important function is protection! I have always
preferred the leather pig hide pads. They are very durable
and pliable. It gives me a "feel" of the point
in my hand. The pad is folded three ways. Impossible for
a flake to poke through in normal use. They last a long
time. I have had the same one for one year! The rubber
channeled pads are most likely the best to learn with.
The channel gives the detaching flake a "free"
unobstructed path as it detaches, this helps the flake
to feather nicer
than if there was no "channel" on the pad preventing
those "micro hinges" on pressured over points.
Lots of knappers swear by them!
We can class the abraders
into 3 groups coarse 30 grit, medium 60 grit and the fine
120 grits. Each grit serves an exclusive purpose. The
thinner you get, the less aggressive you grit should be.
30 grit is BEST suited for heave percussion work. The
heavy grit can be used to rip, shear and shape the edge
creating large crude heavy duty platforms in seconds.
Keep using the heavy grits on thin preforms and your playing
with fire! Medium
grits are good for "crushing" in "isolations"
and fine abrading for pressure flaking or percussion work.
grits are best suited for very detailed pressure work
*Need help understanding
platforms? For an advanced look at platforms and their
function click here