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Thread: Going to do Flintknapping Demostration

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    Senior Member JoJoGunn's Avatar
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    Going to do Flintknapping Demostration

    I know some basic flintknapping skills, not an expert, but can make usable items such as arrowheads and knife/cutting tools.

    My wife does a lot of Cub Scout / Boy Scout training and such, so I am going to do a demonstration for them out at our local Scout camp.

    This is the one thing that makes all of humanity equal in the fact that all of our ancestors wherever they be in the world made and used stone tools at some point in history.

    I am hoping that my demonstration goes well, sometimes kids have a short attention span or they simply cannot grasp the notion that these tools and weapons are effective.
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    PDF Owner 1MoreGoodGuy's Avatar
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    That's a cool skill to have. Good luck with your demonstration.
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    Unrepentant chocoholic ShooterGranny's Avatar
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    Knowing nothing at all about flint napping, is there a way you can show them a little bit and then get a "volunteer" kid to come up and try it, and then go on to the next step? When kids are involved in a project they can have a very long attention span - sometimes.
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    Senior Member msgt/ret's Avatar
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    When I was stationed at Travis I saw examples of knives and arrow heads made by the natives using obsidian, unbelievable how sharp they were.
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    Senior Member JoJoGunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShooterGranny View Post
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    Knowing nothing at all about flint napping, is there a way you can show them a little bit and then get a "volunteer" kid to come up and try it, and then go on to the next step? When kids are involved in a project they can have a very long attention span - sometimes.
    They will get some hands on experience in some of the technique. I have plenty of tools to use to make arrowheads and some good quality flint. It takes a long time to learn the skill totally, this will just be a brief introduction. I doubt if any of them will actually make an arrowhead, but they will understand how they are manufactured.

    Stone arrow points are small, very small, in fact, they have erroneously been called "bird points" but the Native people did not use them to hunt birds, these small triangular very thin points were used to take down large game animals, such as White Tailed Deer and even Elk.

    I have a photo of a piece of bone, probably a vertebrae of some type with a small triangle arrow point embedded into it. The guy who showed it to me found it in his back yard, and it is extremely rare. Most bone from a thousand years ago or longer does not last, especially if the soil is acidic. You would only find the arrow point if the bone has gone. This animal survived the initial shot and when it died, the bone that the arrow point was in somehow survived intact.

    All Native American stone tools are called "arrowheads" but that is a general term, there were tools used as knives, spear points, dart points, scrapers, and yes, arrowheads. They are now called "Projectile Points" because most of them were used for hunting and also for warfare.

    I have had demonstrations before with other groups of children and it is amazing to see the look on their faces when they try to flint knap.
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    Senior Member JoJoGunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
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    When I was stationed at Travis I saw examples of knives and arrow heads made by the natives using obsidian, unbelievable how sharp they were.
    Obsidian is essentially volcanic glass. It is indeed one of the sharpest pieces of stone around. It is so sharp, that it cuts on the molecular level, it can be 10 times sharper than surgical steel. The Natives in what became Mexico used it to do "trepanning" and that is cutting holes into the skull to relieve pressure around the brain. Skulls have been found that had holes cut in it and the individual actually survived the operation and lived a bit longer.

    The Aztecs had a weapon called a Macuahuitl. It was a wooden board like paddle with obsidian chips embedded on the side. It was a nasty slashing weapon that in the hands of an expert, could nearly cut a human in half. I get the willies just thinking about if I ever had to face one.
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    Senior Member JoJoGunn's Avatar
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    UPDATE

    The demonstration was a success. I had four groups of Scouts and they were the best, attentive and really wanting to learn some technique. I had some modern pressure flaking tools and some flint pieces for them to work with and when it was time, they eagerly joined in. Even some of the adult Leaders tried their hand at the technique.

    I also showed them how an arrow point was attached to a shaft and also had a photo of a bone vertebrae from some animal that had a triangle flint point embedded in it. An extremely rare thing, but it illustrated that even though these were stone points, they were still effective.

    The boys all earned their points for the participation, and many of them did not want to leave to go to their next place, they wanted to continue. It was a great success, and I'm certain I will be asked to demonstrate it again.
    Duct Tape. It's like The Force. It has a Light Side and a Dark Side and it binds The Universe together.
    Age and treachery will overcome youth and skill every time!

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    Unrepentant chocoholic ShooterGranny's Avatar
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    That is terrific, JoJo !!!

    I figured it would go really well because you put your whole heart into everything you do. (And what boy wouldn't want to make a weapon?....but don't tell the leaders I said THAT!)
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    That is pretty awesome!

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