Monday, December 22, 2008

Novaculite Chert


You know, I have a really great job. Every year the plant shuts down for a couple weeks over the Christmas and New Years holidays. This has given me a chance to slow down and do some of the things I love...like breaking rock. Lately, I've been knapping some novaculite. Heat-treated it has a nice glossy shine when you flake away the surface. Novaculite is a type of microscopic crystallized quartz found in the Ouachita Mountains (pronounced: Wa-cha-taw) of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Every area seems to have its own distinct type of stone suited to knapping. The color can vary from white to grey-black. Since prehistoric times this stone has been mined to make points and tools, and in historic periods as whetstones for sharpening steel implements. The word novaculite comes from the Latin word 'novacula', which translates as 'razor', or 'sharp knife'. This was a term formerly used in England for certain stones that served as whetstones. Pictured is a knife I just finished today, a novaculite chert blade hafted with sinew and pitch mixture to an elk antler handle.

1 comment:

Mungo Says Bah! said...

That knife is a work of art - absolutely breathtaking. Nice work... I wish I had knappable stone around here in Toronto. I can't for the life of me find any - or even stores that will sell me some!

Cheers and Happy Holiday,

Mungo