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Obsidian Blades

To: alt.religion.wicca,alt.pagan,alt.magick,alt.religion.druid
From: Crwydryn
Subject: Re: Obsidian Blades (was: "Re: A question...")
Date: 8 Dec 95 05:05:39 GMT

In <4a72pg$> (Ernest Simpson) writes:

>The standard Stone for this is FLINT.  it can also be flaked by pressure 
but >that takes more skill than the water method you described.  

Good flint is extremely hard to come by, though nice to work with.  
Obsidian is actually better in many ways since you can get a better 
blade, better accuracy, and the crystal is more like glass.  Good, 
commercial glass can be used too, but you need a very thick piece, and 
like obsidian is -extremely- sharp when knapped - it's very easy to cut 
yourself badly what with slivers and shards everywhere.  HOWEVER - do not 
try to knap anything unless you have someone experienced to show you or a 
good DIY book.  There are numerous hazards (most of which involve cutting 
yourself badly if you don't do it right).

>DO NOT Try it with Quartz.  The hexagonal Crystals of the quartz will 
>shatter and leave you with a mess that is hard to clean up and, if you get 
>a piece in your skin will leave a festering wound that takes forever to heal.

Actually, quartz works acceptably well, but tends to be filled with flaws 
which  will be favored as shatter lines.  A good knapper (not me) can work a 
nice-looking blade out of it, but it is a bit brittle.  I wouldn't try it 
unless a)you can't get anything else b)you absolutely must have it 
c)you've practiced long and hard and are good at it.

>If you want to make a quartz blade it must be Ground by rubbing the 
>quartz with an abrasive into the shape you want  a loooooooooong and 
>delicate process cause thin quartz breaks very easy.

>>If you wish to flake a stone knife (or arrow head, or axe head) the 
>>traditional way, you will need:
Traditional where?  The water method -is- used, but not often and not 
unless the piece of stone being worked is too small to handle precisely.  
Or unless you have no experience with working stone and you need a sharp 
flake NOW! for whatever it is you need it for.  I can possibly see it 
being used for ritual purposes, where human hand isn't allowed to sully 
the stone with its touch, but surely you imbue the stone with a part of 
yourself when you work it by hand?

In any case, the water method is quite dangerous, and I wouldn't 
recommend it if you can get sizeable chunks of whatever stone you want to 
knap - incidentally, the stone you choose will be easier to work the 
waxier the texture.  And if you can see major inclusions in the stone, 
don't bother - it'll probably just shatter along the flaws around the 

   _/_/_/_/_/            "Listen to the Song of The Stone"
    _/  _/         
   _/  _/                           Crwydryn

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