Monday, January 26, 2009

Obsidian Spear

A couple posts ago, I showed the spear point I finished and talked about the spear shaft I harvested. Over the past weekend I finally put it all together. The shaft dried out nicely with no cracks and the bottom end straightened out like I planned. Pictured below is the finished product.

To prepare the shaft I removed the bark and smoothed the whole thing with a draw knife. I removed wood to make the diameter comfortable for my hand and shaved down knots till they were smooth. I then sanded the whole thing. After cutting out a deep notch I stained the wood with black walnut dye. To add some style I scorched in some black bands using a heat gun. This could have been done with open flame as well but a heat gun makes it easier. I used a piece of soda can to cover the places I didn't want to scorch which gave me pretty nice straight lines. Finally, I rubbed in some rendered fat to moisturize the wood.

Hafting in the point was pretty easy. I used my trusty pitch mixture of 50% pine sap and 50% ground up charcoal to seat the point in firmly. To secure it more I then wrapped it with sinew. Finally, I coated the sinew with hide glue to make it water resistant.

What will I use this for you might ask. Probably nothing. Some day maybe I'll hunt with it. It's also handy in case of a home invasion.

How'd you like that comin atcha!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Buffalo Harvesting Workshop

My brother and I are teaching our first official class with Trackers Northwest on March 21st. We are going to buy a live 1000 lb. Buffalo at a ranch outside of town. For safety and out of respect for the animal we will have the owner dispatch it humanely. After we gut it, we will transport it to The Scout Pit where we will completely process the animal.

In addition to the meat (each student will take home 20 lbs.) we will attempt to make use of as many parts of the animal as possible. The hide will be racked for tanning. We will render fat for future projects. The sinew and bones will also be saved. We are planning to do much of the work using stone flakes and knives like those from my last post.

I believe this will be an amazing experience and am really looking forward to it.

To see the full class description check it out on the website.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Knives

My brother and I have been getting involved with the local Trackers Northwest organization. They offer many different classes including survival, martial arts, homesteading, medicinal plants, and all kinds of other cool stuff. Today we helped teach flintknapping and animal skinning for a free event. About ten people showed up to learn what the organization offered.

I used the opportunity to finish up an obsidian spear point. I'm pretty happy with it, but I wouldn't mind if it were a bit longer.

Brian, one of the instructors, took us down to the park across the street where many trees had been cut down. There I cut a six foot limb from a downed tree to make my spear shaft. I took the bark off it tonight and have it clamped to a shelf to try to straighten a few bends as it seasons. It'll probably be awhile before I can haft in the spear point. I want to make sure the wood dries slowly so it doesn't crack.

I also finished two obsidian knives this weekend. The first is pictured below. The handle is Vine Maple stained with black walnut dye.

This little guy is a different color of obsidian with some brown color in it. The handle is an antler tine. I drilled out the inside of the tine so the haft of the knife is hidden inside. You can see a thin band of pitch between the point and the tine.