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Secret Stash Flintknapping Rocks Rediscovered

Photo of Expert Flintknapper Mike Cook Doing Flintknapping Lessons in Michigan

Recently i did something that I really refrain from doing unless absolutely necessary. I re-organized my workshop and found one of my secret stash flintknapping rocks. It’s a painful thing to do when you want to be productive, but have to spend a couple of days going through everything and moving it around. Continue reading Secret Stash Flintknapping Rocks Rediscovered

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Indonesian Coral Arrowheads

Recently, I get more questions about Indonesian Coral and the striking and unique arrowheads that can be knapped from high quality material. I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the supply has dried up. In other words, the deposit of this material that was discovered just a few years ago has been mined out. There is still some on the market but the supply will continue to dwindle and the high grade stuff is vanishing even faster.

The good news is that I have a small reserve of high quality coral that I will continue to work from. Naturaly, I will also continue to scour my resources for any good pieces I can yet acquire. Will any more be found in the future? My source tells me it’s possible but not very likely. Let’s hope that is not the case. There is nothing like Indonesian coral and the wild polyp patterns are a wonder of the natural world and of geology. It is also a wonder for a flintknapper to be able to knap into a beautiful creation, and no one wants more to be discovered than me. Maybe I should go on an exploratory expedition to Indonesia. Hmmmmm.

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Exotic Arrowheads Galore

Well, I am back from the Tucson Gem & Mineral show and as always I spent way too much on rocks and opal. The good news is that I am highly motivated to transform this rough material into beautiful arrowheads, flint knives and exquisitely beautiful opal arrowhead jewelry. There is something about gorgeous rock that gets me all geeked up to become a flintknapping monster. So I have been spending lots of time in my knapping cave, creating new and wonderfully unique points and knives. The problem is that I like them too much when done and then I have to look at them for a little while before I can post them. Worry not, I am saying good-bye to some as I write this. Stay tuned.

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Tuscon Gem & Mineral Show

The first two weeks of February is the greatest time of the year for people who love rocks, gems, minerals and fossils. I will be at the Tucson Gem & Mineral show hanging out with other rockheads. I often meet folks at the show, so if you are planning on being there and want to touch bases, just give me a holler. Will I have some opal arrowhead jewelry and gem quality agate and jasper arrowheads with me? I can’t leave home without some.

I am looking forward to seeing new materials that may be at the show and seeing old friends. There really is nothing like the Tucson show, so if you have ever wanted to go perhaps you should just plan on it this year. I can assure you that anything you can think of having to do with rocks, gems, minerals or fossils will be there. Have I ever regretted going to the Tucson show? Heck no, it’s too much fun.

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Opal Arrowhead Availability

Lately I have received questions, comments about the availability of precious opal. Well, there are lots of rumors but the fact is that the availability of opal has diminished in the last year or so. There are two reasons. One is because of the massive flooding in Australia a couple of years ago. It put many Australian Opal miners out of business, thus the supply has greatly diminished. Hopefully, the miners will get back on their feet, resulting in an uptick in the supply coming out of the opal fields.

Another reason is Ethiopia. Ethiopia has become the other major opal supplier to the world but the Ethiopian government recently banned the export of rough opal. The stated reasons are economic but seem more political from the conversations I have had with Ethiopian miners and opal dealers. What long term affect will that have on opal supply? Tough to say right now. Nobody seems to agree on that question. All I can say is that it will not affect the prices of my opal arrowhead jewelry in the near future, as I still have a supply of rough opal.

I am hoping, like many folks who buy and work precious opal, that the supply shortage will be a short term problem and will not cause a serious spike in the price of opal jewelry. When I return from the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show this coming winter I will have a much clearer picture of the situation. I will be sure to give an update then. Stay tuned.

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Flintknapping Porcelain Arrowheads

Porcelain can be flintknapped?  That’s the question that many hobbyist knappers ask.  Yes, porcelain that is properly made has wonderful conchoidal fracture and knaps very much like a good heat-treated agate.  Knapping-quality porcelain is a material that has just recently come on the scene.  Many knappers are familiar with “Johnstone”, porcelain from broken toilet tanks.  It is a material that can be used to learn knapping but has only so-so conchoidal fracture. This new material is far superior in quality.

Steve Keifer has been experimenting with it for a number of years but showed up at the Flint Ridge knap-in with preforms for knappers to sink their teeth into.   Naturally, I had to try it and was quite surprised at just how beautifully it flakes.  Steve will be producing more of this unique material in a variety of colors and patterns to meet the likes of flintknappers.  This porcelain would be suitable for the production of anything from bird points to knife blades.  It has a uniquely elegant flavor that lends itself well to knappers and collectors who love the art of flintknapping.

Where is it available?  You can contact Steve Keifer at 574-546-4767 or e-mail him at [email protected]  If you are like most flintknappers, you just have to try a new material like this that comes along.  I think you will enjoy it.

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Arrowhead Colorama

I am often ask by folks if the colors in my arrowheads and flint knives are real. Yes, yes, yes! It’s a natural question because it is difficult to believe that just a rock can radiate such beauty in color and pattern, naturally. I often share that disbelief when I open up a rock and behold the unbelievable beauty contained within. But it’s true. The colors you see in these flint knapped pieces are completely natural.

Are all rocks like these? No, fact is that rocks this gorgeous are uncommon and usually require considerable effort to locate and procure. Is it worth the effort and cost? It sure is to me. These rocks are like little gifts under the Christmas tree that I get to look forward to opening. Sometimes I am disappointed when rocks don’t meet my expectations, but that makes it more delightful when I do pop one open and it’s a screamer.

It’s like I am fond of saying – rocks are more than just rocks.

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Flint Knapping Classes

As flintknapping becomes more and more known as a modern skill and art, I receive more requests for classes and personal flintknapping instruction. I can offer learning opportunities in an informal class format but because of time constraints it’s difficult to coordinate classes with numerous students. If you would like to take a one-day class or two-day workshop, the best way is to contact me and let me know if you want one on one instruction or would prefer to learn with a number of other students. I offer such classes at my 45 acre farm here in Southern Michigan or you may arrange for me to come and teach at your location. The cost in this case depends on travel distance, etc. Either way, please give me several dates that will make scheduling more possible. When we nail down a date that will work for everyone involved, we will set our sights on having fun while re-discovering one of the oldest skills in the world.

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Arrowhead Personalities

What’s an arrowhead personality? It’s a term I use for something created when I knap a piece of beautiful rock into an arrowhead or spear point of the types used throughout prehistory. A gorgeous piece of flint, jasper or agate is just a pretty rock until you create something from it. Each time I successfully do that (not every time is a success), an arrowhead comes into existence that kind of has it’s own, unique personality. Each one is different. That’s what I call arrowhead personality.

If you think that flintknappers like me sort of have our own language for what we do, you are correct. It’s actually the truth. If you were to sit around with a couple of flintknappers when they are knapping, you would no doubt hear all sorts of unfamiliar terms and expressions. I guess it’s a language that develops among folks who talk to rocks as they coax them into their creations. Is it entertaining to “normal” people? Probably. You might consider attending a knap-in sometime just for your own amusement.