Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

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Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by grendel on Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:10 pm

Deluxe knapping kits for sale and testosterone imbued knappers comparing the size of their kits can be seen all over the WWW giving the impression to begin knapping you must have a wallet the size of Bill Gates. Here I want to discuss what you really need to get knapping and how little it really costs.

To begin Flint knapping you need very few tools. Most knappers have amounted large collections over the years, but really most equipment they have is luxury not essential.

To begin with you really need to know what kind of knapping you want to do

Read post 4 Techniques of Knapping to find out what these are.

http://uk-knapping.forumotion.co.uk/beginners-f2/the-4-techniques-of-knapping-t1.htm

And how you intend to do it: Authentic or Inauthentic tools.


Authentic tools has a wide range of definitions I tend to define it as using the tools that were available at the time. So even though a 4000 year old tool is authentic, if you are going to use it on a 50,000 year old style point you are making, you haven’t done authentic knapping. Inauthentic tools then simply means tools more modern than the piece you are knapping, these could be high tech wonders or simply copper in the stone age.

You will most likely be doing three kinds of knapping, Percussion Flaking, Pressure Flaking, and may be Spalling. Here I will list the essentials.


Here is my knapping kit,

Most speak for themselves, but the specialist knapping tools are,
Top left: Copper Bopper (Soft Percussion)
Bottom Left: Copper Billet (Hard Percussion)
Centre: Pressure Flakers
Top Right: Pads
Bottom Right: Course and Fine Abraders
Under: Leather Leg Protector

The total cost of the equipment there is about £120 but I bought it over many years. However 75% of the items are unnecessary and most that are can be replace with a free object.


Last edited by Grendel on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:32 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by grendel on Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:28 pm



Pressure Flaking

For pressure flaking you will need a
pressure flaker. Generally it needs to be kept pointed by filing. The pressure flaker can be a commercially bought plastic one or as simple as a copper nail in a piece of wood. Alternatively you can use a deer antler or a deer antler inserted into a piece of wood as in the picture above.




Most knappers use a pad to hold the piece they are making when flaking. Leather pads are popular but I have seen knappers use anything that comes to hand, such as folded linen. An alternative to a pad is a channelled rubber pad, these can be bought or made at home.




Abraders are essential, there are three methods to get one. You can buy an abrader from a commercial site, find a piece of rough rock laying around or try this method.
http://www.youtube.com/user/BOHUNTER?blend=2&ob=1#p/u/63/eXc0cI3SShU


Prices
Pressure Flaker £8
Antler £2
Antler in wood 50p
Copper Nail in wood 50p

Leather Pad £3
Rubber Channelled Pad £3
Folded Linen Free

Fine Abrader £2
Find Rock Free

File £1 Shop



Equipment needed
Flaker, Pad, Abrader, file
Price range £1.50 - £14

- - - - - -
I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. cats look down on us but pigs treat us as equals.

Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by grendel on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:05 pm




Percussion Flaking

You will need an abrader as mentioned above preferably rougher. The same options are avialbe for acquiring one.

A hard hammer which can be a large pebble of similarly shaped hard rock. Alternatively you can buy a solid copper billet.

The only thing you really need to buy is a soft hammer. These can be made from moose or large deer antlers. Copper boppers can be made at home.

Leg Protection can be leather or even simple thick material such as an old linen sheet folded thickly.


Prices
1 1/8" Copper Bopper £8
Moose Billet £45
Deer Billet £45

1" Copper Billet £9
Pebble Free

Rough Abrader £4
Rock Free

Leather Leg Pad £11
Linen Free

Equipment Needed
Hard Hammer, Soft Hammer, Abrader
Cost £8 - £65


Last edited by Grendel on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

- - - - - -
I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. cats look down on us but pigs treat us as equals.

Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by grendel on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:12 pm

Spalling

Spalling is when you hit the large flint nodule to create small flakes to work with.

Basically what you use needs to be big and heavy. I used a modern club hammer, but knapping shops sell copper plated steel hammers or all copper hammers. Huge all copper billets can be bought or a large rock found free of charge.

If you are placing the stone on your leg while spalling you will definately need some protection.

Prices
Club Hammer £8
Copper Hammer £60
Copper Billet £30
Rock Free


Last edited by Grendel on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:36 pm; edited 1 time in total

- - - - - -
I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. cats look down on us but pigs treat us as equals.

Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by grendel on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:17 pm

Safety Equipment

Generally there are only two safety tools in knapping: safety glasses and leather gloves.

Glasses should ideally be worn at all times, though many knappers don't use them when pressure flaking, they are a must when spalling.

To glove or not to glove is the knapping dilemma. Many choose not to and if you do not you will get cut. Myself I wear two gloves when spalling, one on the holding hand when percussion flaking (as I free hand percuss) and none when pressure flaking. I get cut regularly. Gloves need to be tough leather, nothing else will stop the sharp edges.

Regularly abrading sharp edges is an advised safety measure.

Having a box of plasters on hand is a good idea as you will need to stop the bleeding.


Prices
Leather Gloves £1 Shop
Safety Glasses £1 Shop
Plasters £1 Shop


Health
Breathing in the dust from knapping is deadly. Knapping should be done outdoors, especially when abrading or spalling and percussing. If you do it inside, stick to pressure flaking and use a fan on yourself blowing the dust away.


Last edited by Grendel on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. cats look down on us but pigs treat us as equals.

Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by grendel on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:27 pm

So there it is a complete napping kit from £12.50

Here's a revised version of everything you need.

This lot cost £37, if you use an old linen sheet instead of leather leg protection and make your own pressure flaker, the price drops to £18. If you use a rock abrader and your own pad another £6 comes off.

Authentic Knappers have it even easier


Sandstone abrader and hard hammer pebble
top right, free. Leather pad and antler bottom
Total cost £4.

- - - - - -
I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. cats look down on us but pigs treat us as equals.

Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

grendel
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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by kawasemi on Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:06 pm

Okay, novice question number one - why do you fit a copper nail instead if a steel/iron one please?

Ta

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by grendel on Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:42 pm

Please don't take this as gospel, but I'll have a pop.

One of the the reasons is authenticity, a lot of knapping was done in the Copper and Bronze ages and during that era people used copper to knap with. Another is efficientcy, copper is quite soft and grips the flint extremely well as you apply pressure, whereas iron or steel can be extremely slippery.

However in the UK while there is no evidence of iron being used during the iron age for presure flaking, it was used right up to the 19th century for percussion flaking in the gun flint industry. On the other hand in the US the American Indians adpted the use of iron nails once they discovered them from the settlers (as well as a preference for man made glass).

Also recently people seem to be experimenting more and more with iron in knapping and you hear more about people using it, most knapping stores now seem to sell iron horse nails as well as copper ones, these I believe are a pretty soft kind of iron. Also there are a lot of people who are into fine notching, which is a very arty form of pressure flaking, and there are some modern 'fine notchers' (a kind of pressure flaker) out there for sale, that use iron or steel nails as copper is far too weak when that thin.

- - - - - -
I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. cats look down on us but pigs treat us as equals.

Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

grendel
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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by kawasemi on Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:11 pm

Thanks for the info Grendel. My next mission is to hunt out some copper nails.

ATB

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by skalla on Mon Nov 07, 2011 11:12 pm

i've been doing this on a shoe-string too, the only stuff i paid for were my goggles (a quid from wilko's), and some copper plumbing end-caps from wickes (about 3.50 for 2) for some light boppers.. the rest of my kit is scavenged leather for pads (from old furniture left in skips, and foraged from work), many hammer stones foraged on many a walk, copper bits for flakers (foraged from skips/trash again), and bone for flakers (foraged again). the key for me has just been to keep my eyes peeled and to think like a womble Very Happy

i'll post pics of my kit and a bit more info when it isnt so late!

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by grendel on Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:00 pm

You may have just coined the new phrase for knapping on the cheap, 'Womble Knapping'. I love it, w have to have a post entitled this.

- - - - - -
I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. cats look down on us but pigs treat us as equals.

Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by skalla on Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:55 pm

changing my avatar asap!

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by grendel on Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:43 pm

Here's a couple of vids best described as the Rolls Royce and the Bicycle. Somehow I prefer the bicycle.





Last edited by Grendel on Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:03 pm; edited 1 time in total

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I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. cats look down on us but pigs treat us as equals.

Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by Lumpendoodle on Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:59 pm

You know, I took one look at all those solid copper billets and my first thought was "I wonder what the scrap price of copper is just now" Laughing

My billets are made from bits of an old broom handle, shaped copper end caps, and lead I found while out metal detecting.

The Ishi sticks consist of offcuts from salvaged wooden chimney sweep rods, copper nails, and some copper pipe offcuts.

All together now "Underground, overground......." jocolor

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cheap and effective leg pad

Post by mr.hertzian cone on Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:59 pm

If you're into womble knapping, you'll love this: for my leg pad I use two or three square carpet tiles as padding and a rubber backed doormat used rubber side up! This works beutifully and it beats anything else i've used, I think the carpet tiles where 25p each and I now need a new doormat!

The Lithic Studies Society hold a "knap in" at Butser Iron age village every year and they seggest that that you bring an old towel as a leg pad, not good unless you like bruised legs, and the towel will hold the dust and sharp flakes too...

Bet you will look at your doormat in a new light after reading this!

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by grendel on Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:14 pm

Great advice, I've used heavily folded Jeans in the past, 2 inches of Jeans makes a hell of a good custhon.


Last edited by Grendel on Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:31 pm; edited 1 time in total

- - - - - -
I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. cats look down on us but pigs treat us as equals.

Stupidity got us into this mess, why can't it get us out

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by skalla on Sun Nov 20, 2011 2:30 pm

the carpet tiles and doormat tip is a doozie, and as a skinny chap one could do with extra padding... should be a simple thing to scav too Smile

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by mr.hertzian cone on Tue Nov 22, 2011 7:48 pm

the flakes slide off the rubber and into a tub to my left hand side, so I don't even have to sweep up much! It's not very archaeologically authentic but it works.

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

Post by fl1ntm1n on Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:35 pm

Antler soft hammer. I know it a bit hit and his and you buy in weight but some pet shops do antler dog chews which are suplied by a local game dealer. sometimes you can get some real usefull ones. just have to ask and look before you buy. i got 2 about 30cm for £18.

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Re: Shoestring Guide to Buying Tools

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