Friday, November 7, 2008

Rocks and the Great Spirit

The UPS truck stopped out front with a couple of packages... wheeee! They were full of hand-sized spalls of novaculite chert and keokuk burlington. One of the knapping suppliers had written a tantalizing advertisement for their rock... "Knaps like butter, Chips to a Glossy Finish!" A month later, and $100 poorer I was the proud owner of a couple dozen spalls of quality knapping stone.
I know this sounds funny to many to spend a hundred dollars for stone. (I've spent much more at times.) This was an adjustment for my wife. But, business-wise, all I need to do is make 2 or 3 items and sell them at an event and the cost is covered. Despite the cool, no cold, weather I was anxious to break some rock. One spall spoke to me and revealed that it would like to be a tomahawk blade...and so it became. You know that is one thing I have learned to trust while knapping...my instincts, or inner voice. Particularly as you are doing some delicate work the voice will tell you, "Put it down, you are going to break it with your next strike." It's just a whisper. If I ignore it, sure enough, I suffer the consequenses. After awhile you learn to trust in that still small voice...the Great Spirit?

4 comments:

barnislavia said...

Is there any good rock in our area that can be napped. I have found some good sized pieces that I beat up my Mora with. But never anything I think to be workable (as if I would know).

Mark said...

Our area would be a source for Nehawka flint, a bluish grey rock. Some describe it as looking like rice in it by the mottling. I've hammered it out of the large limestone nodule around Lake Manawa in Council Bluffs, IA. Also, across the road from the quarry just west of Cresent, IA. A fellow knapper is currently tracking it down near Nehawka, NE. I've seen it in many parking lots where they have laid crushed limestone. I haven't made alot with it. It needs to be heat treated to knap better. Another fellow knapper did that in his oven taking it up to 500-degree, changes the crystalline structure to knap easier. I've small flakes under the camp fire, in a layer of sand, with favorable results. For survival tools it works well making choppers, cutting flakes, scrapers..on the spot, but never made any fine blades with it. (MILA IF YOUR READING THIS, ANY INPUT?)

barnislavia said...

I have some of this flint. Like I said I only use it for making sparks. I does get sharp though.

Mark said...

Every area has its own rock to offer, and around here it is the Nehawka. I am not real familiar what Iowa has to offer going into the middle of the state. Nebraska has large expanses that have no decent rock for tools. Other than that you would probably find some obsidian at a rock shop, or check out the knapping suppliers online.