Flintknapping with the Puget Sound Knappers
By Toby Trigger


      The thought of breaking rocks may conjure up images of chain-gangs and sledge hammers for many but for me it means making stone points with the Puget Sound Knappers!

I was recently invited by the Puget Sound Knappers Association to join a local Bitterroot Valley  group in learning about the ancient art of turning rocks into useable stone tools like arrowheads and spear points. First we used Billets to break the rocks and make usable spalls.

Knappers use billets to break rock.

Then some of the better skilled students used pressure flakers to sharpen the edges.

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I showed up with very little knowledge of flint knapping and left with two stone points.  One made from obsidian by my mentor Richard Urata and one that I made myself from Dacite, an igneous volcanic rock found in the western US (sources of rock are well kept secrets).  The third part of flintknapping is to laugh at your mistakes because you’ll make a lot of them.

A relaxed atmosphere and enjoyable learning environment are found at mini-knapp-ins hosted by area members.

The final aspect of knapping is to learn and share.  It was another great way to spend the afternoon outdoors and I have a feeling I’ll be back for more!

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For more information on the Puget Sound Knappers Bitterroot Chapter visit www.pugetsoundknappers.com .

 

 






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