Monthly Flintknapping Get-Together
The California Knappers, which began in 2010, is a knapping get-together of flintknappers who like to flake stones, learn from each other, trade for materials and meet fellow lithic knappers. The get-together is open to novice, intermediate and advanced knappers. Anyone who is interested in the skill of making stone tools is more than welcome. We will meet one day in every month. Check this webpage for monthly dates.
Knapping is the shaping of flint, jasper, agate, chert, quartzite, obsidian or other conchoidal fracturing stone through the process of lithic reduction to manufacture Stone Age tools.
"The word knap means 'to snap or break by a smart blow'. The word flintknapping was coined to describe the manufacturing of gun flints. Not all stones that can be worked into tools are flints, but the label stuck. In present day, the term is commonly and broadly used to describe the prehistoric skill and ancient craft of making flaked stone points, arrowheads and tools."
Definition by Grog Verbeck
Knapping tip of the month:
Indirect percussion is a technique that is seldom used in modern times, but widely practiced prehistorically. It involves the use of a bone or antler punch and a hammer. The physics of punch use allows more massive flakes to be removed than by using the antler billet or hammerstone as a percussion instrument. The accuracy allowed by the punch is also evident. Since indirect percussion can be so precisely placed, the punch and hammer make it possible to apply a large force to very small platforms of a stone tool than in other methods of flake removal.
Compilation of Knapping Tips
Update on the July 15 knapping get-together:
We only had two knappers attend the July flintknapping get-together. The sunny weather made it an enjoyable day to work on lithic projects and casually socialize. We switched back and forth between modern copper boppers to the more traditional antler billets and hammerstones on our preforms. Notice the Ishi style pressure flaker in the bottom right hand photograph. The metal is made from a soft iron spike that was specifically hand forged.
Information for the NEXT California Knappers Get-together
Date: August 5, 2012 (Sunday)
Time: 10:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Location: Karl Nordvik Park, 5850 Commerce Drive, Fremont, CA 94555
The park is on the corner of Commerce Dr. and Ardenwood Blvd. We will be located across the restrooms, on the far end of the park, near a small pine tree. Look towards the children's playground. Parking is free.
Information: Contact Dino Labiste via e-mail for any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check this webpage the night before the get-together for any last minute changes.
DIRECTIONS TO KARL NORDVIK PARK:
Heading I-880 south, take the Decoto/Dumbarton Bridge/84 exit near Fremont. Turn right onto Highway 84 headed west. Take the Ardenwood Blvd./Newark Blvd. exit. Turn right at the end of the exit. When you get to the cross street called Commerce Dr., turn right (the park is on the corner). Park in the parking lot closest to the restrooms. From the parking lot, look towards the restroom and past the children's playground at the far end of the park. We will be located near a small pine tree. Parking is also available along the street.
Heading I-880 north, take the Decoto Rd. exit near Fremont. Turn left, headed west. Take the Ardenwood Blvd./Newark Blvd. exit. Turn right at the end of the exit. When you get to the cross street called Commerce Dr., turn right (the park is on the corner). Park in the parking lot closest to the restrooms. From the parking lot, look towards the restroom and past the children's playground at the far end of the park. We will be located near a small pine tree. Parking is also available along the street.
Coming from the Dumbarton Bridge, headed towards Fremont, take the Newark Blvd./Ardenwood Blvd. exit. Turn left at the end of the exit. When you get to the cross street called Commerce Dr., turn right (the park is on the corner). Park in the parking lot closest to the restrooms. From the parking lot, look towards the restroom and past the children's playground at the far end of the park. We will be located near a small pine tree. Parking is also available along the street.
WHAT TO BRING:
1. Bring your knapping tools and stones to work on. Also, bring safety gear, like leather gloves, safety goggles or glasses, leather pads, etc.
3. Do not wear shorts. Dress in long pants. Do not wear slippers, thongs, open-toed shoes or sandals. Wear shoes that cover your entire feet. Protect your legs and feet from sharp flakes of obsidian and other fragments of cryptocrystalline stone.
4. Bring a lunch and a water bottle. There are good places to eat nearby, if you decide to go out for lunch.
5. Dress for the weather. In the afternoon, sometimes the wind from the bay breezes through the park creating a bit of a chill in the air. Be prepared.
6. Please remember to bring a chair, bucket or anything high to sit on. You cannot sit on the tarp due to the shards of volcanic glass and other sharp stone spalls on the tarp.
7. If you have a plastic or canvas tarp that you would like to bring to the knapping session, we can use it to cover the ground. Just be aware that your tarp might acquire small holes and cuts from all the obsidian and sharp stone flakes. I have a large tarp that I will bring for everyone to use.
NOTE: This knapping get-together is not sponsored by any park, organization or individual. This is only a get-together of fellow knappers. It is not a class or a workshop. Every person is responsible for any injuries and liabilities that he or she incur. Cuts and lesions from sharp flakes and tools are possible. You are accountable for your own actions. Be safe when handling obsidian, flint, chert or any sharp edged stone. Knapping tools can also cause injuries, if used improperly. Protect yourself and use common sense.
Beginners who attend the flintknapping get-together for the first time and have no knapping experience will be asked to only watch. Before coming to the flintknapping get-together, I would recommend reviewing the series of YouTube videos on the "Flintknapping Related Links" below to acquaint yourself about this prehistoric lithic skill. Look at: 2. Flintknappers - Beginners (YouTube videos by Jim Winn) and 3. Flintknapping 101 Basics - Copper Boppin' (YouTube videos by Jimmy Williams). If you are still interested in flinknapping, after attending your first knapping get-together, come to your second get-together and we can get you started.
The California Knappers get-together is open to the public. There is no fee to attend. Come and work on your lithic project or practice the art of flintknapping and learn tips from fellow knappers.
If you don't want to receive any California Knappers e-mail notices, let me know and I'll take your e-mail address off the California Knappers list.
Keep on Rockin',
FLINTKNAPPING RELATED LINKS:
1. Flintknapping classes for beginners at Coyote Hills Regional Park in Fremont
2. Flintknappers - Beginners (YouTube videos by Jim Winn): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7
3. Flintknapping 101 Basics - Copper Boppin' (YouTube videos by Jimmy Williams): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7
4. Flintknapping 101 Basics - Pressure Flaking Indian Style (YouTube videos by Jimmy Williams): Part 1, Part 2
5. Flintknapping Tips by Wyatt Knapp
6. "How to" articles on flintknapping (Puget Sound Knappers)
7. From Beer Bottle to Arrowhead (Knappers Anonymous)
8. The Non-Abraded Platform (YouTube video) by Jimmy Williams
9. "Obsidian is Hot Stuff" by Jim Miller
10 . "California Knapping" by Paul D. Campbell
11. The Properties of Stone
12. Flint Knapping: Finding and Treating Knappable Stone
13. Heat Treating by Larry Kinsella
14. Heat Treating Time/Temperature Table by Rich Urata
15. Modern Flintknapping
16. PaleoPlanet (flintknapping forum)
17. "The Art of Flint Knapping" (book) by D.C. Waldorf
18. "Flintknapping: Making and Understanding Stone Tools" (book) by John C. Whittaker
19. "Caught Knapping" and "Lap Knapping" (videos for sale) by Craig Ratzat
20 . Lithics Casting Lab.com (quality casts of Stone Age artifacts)
21. Ishi Stick Pressure Flaking (YouTube video by Jim Winn)
22. Flintknapping Demonstration by Dr. Bruce Bradley (YouTube videos)
PrimitiveWays Home Page
We hope the information on the PrimitiveWays website is both instructional and enjoyable. Understand that no warranty or guarantee is included. We expect adults to act responsibly and children to be supervised by a responsible adult. If you use the information on this site to create your own projects or if you try techniques described on PrimitiveWays, behave in accordance with applicable laws, and think about the sustainability of natural resources. Using tools or techniques described on PrimitiveWays can be dangerous with exposure to heavy, sharp or pointed objects, fire, stone tools and hazards present in outdoor settings. Without proper care and caution, or if done incorrectly, there is a risk of property damage, personal injury or even death. So, be advised: Anyone using any information provided on the PrimitiveWays website assumes responsibility for using proper care and caution to protect property, the life, health and safety of himself or herself and all others. He or she expressly assumes all risk of harm or damage to all persons or property proximately caused by the use of this information.
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