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Making Arrowheads

Flintknapping is the process of making arrowheads from stone or glass by hitting them at critical points so pieces flake off and leave a sharp edge. My husband enjoys it, so we have a knapping pit on our urban homestead.

How to Set Up a Knapping Pit

A place to practice the skill is important. You want to keep all of the sharp shards in one area so you can still walk barefoot in the yard and so that pets and small children won't be injured later.

  1. Find an isolated area that does not receive a lot of foot traffic.
  2. Clear a bare circle as for a fire pit. Make it larger to allow more people to sit around and use it.
  3. Form a ring of larger stones around the perimeter.

Add some logs for benches, and you're all set!

How to Make Arrowheads

Obsidian and flint are great stones for arrowheads. You can also practice on glass bottle bottoms, which are usually easier to obtain in the urban jungle.

Sitting around and banging rocks may sound like a hobby from the Stone Age, but you never know when you'll be in a situation where you need a sharp edge. And a finely made arrowhead can be quite beautiful! In the video, you'll see an eagle made from glass by using these same techniques.

It takes a lot of practice to become good at this traditional skill, but it's fun to sit around a circle with others and practice together. There are official "knap-ins" held in by primitive skills groups in the area such as MAPS (Mid-Atlantic Primitive Skills).

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