Thursday, October 15, 2015

Knapper's Quarterly Journal

You may have noticed that I haven't posted as much on this blog so far this year. This is because I have become the co-editor for the flintknapping journal called Knapper's Quarterly and I have been putting most of my writing efforts towards it.

I highly recommend checking the journal out at

There is an downloadable online copy available as well as a hard copy.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Flat Artifact Piece---was it ground?

A friend of ours dropped by with an unique artifact piece he found in a cache which contained two core pieces weighing around 3 lbs., three spalls, and two worked preforms that are around 4-5 inches long. This piece was around 8 1/2 inches long and 1 inch thick, all the pieces were covered in cortex. One side was fairly flat across for around 6 inches of the face with some flakes removed  around the edges. The other side was completely flat almost across the entire 8 1/2 inch face and had not been flaked. It was so completely flat it looked like a piece would if ran through a rock saw. There appeared to be very small drag marks across the flat side as if it was ground.(unable to show these marks in the picture, actually 3rd picture down you can see marks running long ways the length of the face).

This piece is made of NC Rhyolite which sources of can be found about 30 miles from where this artifact was found.

It is known that Type 1C danish daggers and egyptian gerzean knives were ground. We have speculated in previous articles that the Sweetwater biface was also ground. 

Below are some pictures, so what do think, was this piece ground flat?  If so, was it intended to be a preform? Or what was the intended purpose? Or if it wasn't ground, how did it get this completely flat?

This is a picture of the completely flat side, as you can see from the ruler placed on top of it, it is as flat as the ruler all the way across.

 This is picture of the completely flat side showing the face, as you can see the flatness runs almost entirely the whole length of the piece at around 7 of the 8 1/2 inches total.

Same side without the ruler. 

This is a picture of the face of the other side which had some flakes removed around the edges. It was fairly flat as well across 6 inches of the face, although not completely flat as the other side.

Same side without the ruler.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Edge to Edge Flaking--Platform Angles and Face Bevels

Edge to Edge Flaking--Platforms Angles and Face Bevel

In this article I will try to explain how Bill Earnhardt does his edge to edge flaking. This type of flaking is fairly complex so I hope I can explain it in a way that makes sense.

The biggest challenge with edge to edge flaking is that you are in a constant state of adjustment for the width of the blade. If just one flake comes up short, the whole piece is ruined and you must start all over.

The two main concerns with edge to edge flaking is the platform angle and the degree of bevel on the face side of the blade where the flake is being removed from. The problem is, as I mentioned, is both of these angles are constantly changing as the blade width changes. I will have pictures to accompany this article showing the difference in degrees of the angle for the longest flake at the widest part of the blade to the shortest flake at the narrow part of the blade.

The angles being shown are for obsidian, keep in mind different materials will change these angles so you will be have to adjust accordingly.

I would estimate the angle of platform at between 95-100 degrees for the longest flakes at the widest part of the blade.(picture 1) The degree of the angle decreases to around 85 for the shorter flakes.  (picture 2) So throughout the length of this demonstration piece, we can see a variance in the angle of the platforms by 10-15 degrees. The degree difference could also vary depending on the width and length of the blade, seeing a larger variance with longer wider blades.

The other angle you must adjust is the bevel on the face of the blade where the flake is being removed. For the longest flakes at the widest part of the blade the degree of angle is around 170 degrees.(in relation to the blade being at 180 at straight up). The majority of this angle is formed in the bottom 1/4 of the blade face which corresponds with the end of the flake so you are actually removing less material at that point to keep the flake from stopping short.(picture 3) The bevel angle will increase up to 180 degrees as the blade width narrows and the flakes become shorter.(picture 4). So here again, we are seeing around a 10 degree difference which could also vary depending on the length and width of the blade.

For the flakes in between the widest and shortest widths of the blade, both of these angles for the platform and bevel will be some where in between the degrees given above. I can't give you exact angles for each, because they will change for each individual flake, so it will be up to the flintknapper to adjust for each flake. But atleast in this article, I have given you the parameters to work within.

Picture 5, shows the face of this demo piece and the lengths of flakes as they get longer. This piece is for demostration purposes only, it was not intended to be an actual blade. The last flake was not removed so you could still see the actual angle. 

I hope this article and pictures have helped and it makes some sort of sense of what I am trying to relay to the reader.

I have made a video to accompany this article where I show the angles shown in the pictures and I discuss what I am trying to show  in the pictures. That video can be viewed on our YouTube channel and it titled "Edge to Edge Angles". A direct link to the video is

Or watch it here.


There are also two other videos of Bill doing edge to edge flaking on the YouTube channel at
                                                                    Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

Picture 4

Picture 5

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Measuring Artifact Piece

At this years Flint Ridge knapin I had the pleasure and honor of measuring an actual artifact piece owned by Tony Podkanowicz. The piece is called a Winged Dixon and it was found in 1958 in McLean Co., IL along the Mackinaw River. The point is very thin at .27 inches thick at the thickest point going down to .16 inches thick near the point. It is 3.2 inches wide, which gives it a W/T ratio of 11.85/1! I would like to thank Mr. Podkanowicz for allowing me to measure this fine artifact piece. Below is a picture of the piece.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Thursday, July 4, 2013

New Gallery

Check out our new gallery at

Also, any piece you see pictured on any of our sites(, or here) is for sale, email me for pricing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Modern Flintknapping Grading System

I just realized for some reason I have never posted any information about the Modern Flintknapping Grading System here on the blog. The grading system was one of the first things we developed back when first starting the Modern Flintknapping website. Instead of putting it all here, I will link a page containing information on the grading system here.