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Stone Age Skills

Hafting a Stone Blade the Old-Fashioned Way
Page 1

There are many ways to attach a handle onto tools. Wanting to expend the least amount of energy possible in stone age endeavors, I use vast amounts of energy experimenting with various techniques. Some work, others would work (if someone else performed them...). Here’s one method that I prefer because, well, I have little command of carpenter-ic common sense, a weak grasp on thinking and planning ahead, and little patience for crafting fine notches that snugly, custom-fit a randomly-contoured stone blade.

It all begins with The Stick. I chose a hank of Big Leaf Maple because it is soft and therefore easier to split with stone age tools.

I’m a big fan of letting nature do the work for me. Rather than chop away with stone tools to reduce the ends of this tool handle, it’s easier to burn them. You might be wondering why I’ve built my fire on top of a chunk o’ wood. Well, this experiment ran concurrently with my first attempts to coal-burn a larger container for Stone Boiling. Notice the flames? Don’t Do That. The greater heat only serves to check and split the future bowl. Effective coal-burning involves coals, not flames...
Gettin’ there!
To smooth the end (I am going to put my hand there, you know) I am using a chunk of quartz, which has a bed of tiny crystals along one side (in the photo you can see an edge-on view of the crystals on the right side of the rock). This tool works great at scraping the ashy residue off the wooden handle.
Time to reduce the other end. Maybe you notice the cracks forming on the lip of the coal-burned bowl. Let that be a lesson to me (but the bowl did hold a gallon of water and I ended up stone-boiling in it a couple dozen times!).
Here’s a nifty sanding invention that utilizes a strip of horsetail (Equisetum hyemale), which I glued to a piece of Yellow Cedar with deer hide glue. This works well at finish sanding.

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