Saturday, September 27, 2008

Flintknapping 101: Safety

A word on safety. Flintknapping - you will get cuts, probably get a flake in your eye, or jam a chip or flaker into your hand...been there, done that. Take precautions to avoid injury. Wear goggles to protect your eyes. Use leather gloves when handling sharp nodules and spalls. Use a good hand pad. Do not rush as you knap. Put it down if you are tired or mentally unfocused...this is the time when you can get hurt or simply snap the piece you are working on. Work in a well ventilated area. Fracturing silica rock produces dust that is like tiny razor blades. Breathed in, they damage the lungs and produce scar tissue, in extreme cases leading to siliosis. This was the ailment of the workmen who produced strikers for flintlock guns, working long hours in closed up shops with dust filled air.

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