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The Knapper's Flintknapping Kit
                                                                       Need help choosing a kit?
* Knapper's Kit

This is an all around versatile kit with a nice selection of 6 basic... yet complete... tools and instructional DVD as listed  below...    
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Contains one of each:
* DVD Flint Knapping Fundamentals
* 1" Solid Head Copper Billet
* 7/8" Solid Head Copper Billet
* Rubber Hand Pad 3/4"x2"x4"
* Coarse Abrader
* Deluxe 6" Pressure Flaker

Item # KT202

Kit price: $59.00

Knapper's Kit

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        I am often asked the question; "What tools do I need"? The simplest way to answer this, is to group the tools into the four essential categories and to break them down into what your personal tool requirements and personal budget.
        Here are the four groups:

 1. You'll need something abrasive to grind the edge of the flint to prepare the platform to be struck.
 2. Your going to need something to hit the rock with, it's what we knappers call a billet
 3. A tool will be needed to do detailed pressure flaking, this tool is for creating platforms, finished edge work and notching.
 4. Finally, a hand pad will be needed to protect yourself while using an Ishi stick or pressure flaker.

       Books and Videos: I want to emphasize teaching media before we get into the tools. The cost of a book and a dvd will quickly pay for itself in flint, time and discouragement. Having a video means having an expert knapper at your service any time of the day or night. DVD's won't wear out and the knapper in the video will never complain when you make him perform that same hit 30 times in a row. The book will help you understand the terms, angles, stategies and so much more. These two things are foundational! Our goal here is to help you learn, advance and enjoy knapping. I still have the memory fresh in my mind of how I struggled because I did not have good tools or anyone to watch. Things are different now! The "Cat is out of the bag!"
        Almost all the tools for flintknapping fall into these four groups. Abrasives, Billets, Pressure flakers, pads and other protective equipment. All the kits have these four basic tools in various degrees. You just need to pick what fits best for you. Factors to consider are:  
1. Will you be hunting your own rock?
2. What size pieces will you be working?
       Answering these questions can determine the array of billets you will need.

       Now, let's take a look at each group of tools and explain them a bit.
      Abrasives: As the process of knapping moves forward towards a finished piece, the edge gets thinner and more delicate. The coarseness of the abrasive should be reduced accordingly. For roughing out preforms, a coarse 30 grit is used. For finishing a medium 60 grit becomes more suitable. Lastly, for special detail, a 120 grit fine abrader can become quite useful. Our abraders have just the right "bond" to shed old grit to retain fresh sharp grit. Consistency is then achieved, producing predictable results throughout the thinning process.
       Billets: There are 5 main variations this tool. These billet types discussed here in this article are on the billets page. The bigger the kit, the more variety in sizes. Why? Flintknapping starts at the quarry where (in some cases) a large rock is broken down into large flakes called "spalls" (see knapping "terms" article). Depending on the size of the spalls, (some can be several pounds) large heavier billets are needed to shape, thin and simply reduce these larger spalls. Using a billet that is too small for the job will dent & damage the tool and will likely not produce satisfactory thinning flakes. So, a simple rule is: "the bigger the rock, the bigger the billet". Therefore the bigger kits have a broader selection of sizes.
     Pressure Flakers: These are used to press off flakes solely by pressure and are not intended for indirect percussion. What do choose? Ishi Sticks or the smaller Flakers or AKA "Notchers". Here is some thoughts to advise you in your choice. It's all about personal preference. Most knappers use the longer Ishi Sticks over the shorter pressure flakers because with the Ishi stick the force is generated primarily with the leg muscles and not just the arm and wrists as with the shorter 6" flakers. Why choose our tools? All of our pressure flakers feature an adjustable copper nail tip. They are double set screwed for added peace of mind and durability. The "Twist-Lock" style flakers have no set screw, they adjust with no tools. Adjustments are made by simply twisting the body tightening or loosening the collet. The nail is (part # KN109; for the Twist-Locks) that can be easily extended 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 -- this is the heart of good knapping technique. The difference between the notcher and the 20" long Ishi stick is the power and control that can be generated with the longer 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 resulting in longer, cleaner flakes. All our 20" Ishi sticks have the Allen Key tool built right into the handle for convenience and storage. A great new feature! Read more about ishi sticks here.
       Pads: There are hand pads and leg pads. The hand pads are to protect your hands during the pressure flaking process only. There are many types available. I prefer the simple leather hand pad. The better more advanced artists prefer the grooved rubber pads. Fancy flake-over-grinders almost all use a notched or grooved pad. There is an advantage to the grooved pads because they allow the flake to detach in "open air". For some reason, this helps keep the flake from creating small finger nail type step fractures. Leg pads are needed to save your pants and leg from cuts and can help to limit bruising if your doing heavy work. I almost always have my leg pad in the active position while knapping. Some knappers do all their percussion work on the leg pad. I tend to hold the preform up in my hand suspended and take swings at it there. Once again, personal preference. Safety glasses, gloves and other items are a must for the expert and novice knapper.

     In summary, there are many variations of tools and they all work. It's just a matter of finding the one that works best for you. The kits are a compilation of tools that have been most popular to the majority of knappers. Experiment, remember cause and effect, have fun, stay out of trouble, be careful, feed the dog, grind before you strike, buy a box of Band-Aids, remain calm, stop reading this and go chip one!

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Florida "Hillsboro" type chipped from Agatized Coral.

Point by: Mark Bracken