rock hounding

White petrified wood point

I bought this piece of rock at the maple ridge rock club. It’s a great slab of some even better material. I think it may be opalised wood from Nevada. It’s the only place that I’ve ever seen a stone like that come from. If I had to guess I would say it came from McDermit nevada.

This one’s for sale here, if you’re interested: it’s 35 bucks

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Carved arrowhead

Last summer I worked in the Northwest Territories at a tiny commercial fishing camp called Wool bay. It was located on a small Island about 25 miles south of Yellowknife on the Great Slave Lake. There was nothing in the way of knappable stone except for a few pieces of this dull, reddish purple, limestone. The stone was barely knappable although I did make one point out of the stuff, it looked about 10,000 years old the second it was done.  I did have trouble knapping it but it was quite easy to carve if i soaked it in the lake for a few days. I carved this cute little pendant in my spare time one evening.


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Flintknapping Obsidian.

The formation of obsidian is a highly debated subject. The main issue lacking consensus is the composition of the lava. The average flintknapper believes that obsidian was formed from lava that was over 80 percent “silica” (SiO3) cooling rapidly on the surface. The rate of cooling is correct but geologists say that the lava would have had to cool in an ocean, not the surface, in order for the lava to cool quickly enough. Geologists also say that the composition of Obsidian is chemically identical to that of granite and rhyolite, crystals formed from slow cooling deep within the earth.

This is not the only theory on chemical composition that I have heard, though. Some say that basalt has the same composition as obsidian and granite. We know basalt is a primarily mafic (melted oceanic crust) lava, while granite is formed from felsic (melted continental crust) lava. These parallel contradictory theories, both taught in schools and readily available on the internet, are the root of the confusion we the flintknappers face.

Here’s one of my theories. Obsidian was molten rock… and came up to the surface in a way similar to basalt. The lava had a relatively low silica content (less than 50%) since lavas that have high silica content are much more volatile and tend to make extremely explosive volcanoes. Lava flowed out of the shield volcano underwater, cooling the stone almost instantly without allowing any air to enter the obsidian.

The composition of the lava doesn’t matter because the cooling action would be the same as the process for slag glass. Slag glass formed from the rapid cooling of a molten random rock mixture. If anything molten cools fast enough, you can get it to form a conchiodial fracture. This can be seen whenever a cheaply made cast iron pot is dropped, since they will occasionally chip.

However the stuff is formed, there’s one thing we can all agree on: you can make some awesome stone tools out of it!

Categories: flint knapping, rock hounding, USA | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

a pair of peanut butter points

Howdy everyone. Today I have a couple points made out of my homemade stone called princeton peanutbutter.

Princeton peanut butter was originally an ashflow-cherty-tuff which in essence is basically a pyroclastic flow composed mainly of fine ash particles. The flow, I believe (due to partial grading on the top of the deposit), had a river flowing over it before it was lithified. The bed of ash and plant debris was berried for only a short period of time, with very little heat and pressure, before it was brought back to the surface (perhaps due to isostatic rebound from the receding ice ages.)

The composition of the ash-flow must have been rich in silica and other clay minerals because when I put it in my pottery kiln up to cone 3 the stone vitrifies and changes colour.

It’s my own little homemade stone, I love working it and it makes some of the most interesting points.


This is the first point that i made out of the superheated stone. I  made it the same day after the piece came out of the kiln.

Here’s a whole bunch of paleoplanet threads if you’re interested in reading more on the subject. Please excuse the bad grammar in these paleoplanet threads. haha

and one post form my old teenagecaveman blog


Thanks for dropping by!  my appologies for a late blog post today.. I’ve been swamped with school work for the past two weeks.

Tune in tomorrow for a sweet article on Obsidian.


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Some places in the world are gifted with an abundance of knappable stone, while other areas have nothing but igneous intrusive rock. The fact that a rock can be so common that it is a nuisance in one place while being so scarce and highly sought after in another is amazing. The ancient peoples had a very difficult time, getting their knappable stone if they didn’t live on flint bearing, chalk, bedrock.

Canada is one place where knappable stone is few and far between. The native people often had to settle for knapping tough basalt, or even tougher rhyolites.  Why can a country like France have so much knappable stone while we, in the pacific northwest only have tough cherts jaspers?

oh well I guess I’ll have to suffice with visiting amazing countries like Britain and France. Maybe I can help dispose of their over abundance of flint.

here’s a link to my adventure journal from two years ago when I explored much of Europe with my mom and sister:—teenage-cavemans-adventure—plane—-new-flint?page=1#.T2wzEo5NCYA


and some awesome stone from france.


Thanks for looking! I wish I was there again. haha..

Categories: europe, rock hounding | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

first point of 2012

Like the lithified mud-stone from a few posts back, this rock came from a guy at a knap in who collected the stone in the columbia river gorge. There’s an amazing variety of material that comes out of that river, I just wish there were more easily accessible gravel bars.

I lost this point somewhere..  I’m sure it’ll turn up in one of my pockets, but I sure like the look of this rock. I have two more slabs of the stuff and I’ve been saving it for when I’m itching to make a cool looking point.

I made this point on jan 1, 2012 at about 4 pm.


See you tomorrow!

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king bopper buster’s trophy points!

Back in the fall I held a paleoplanet contest where people posted all of their points made out of the toughest material they had and then people voted on a winner  (click here). We called it the “bopper buster contest 2011”. Micheal won, so I sent him a box full of rocks, most were tough, but some were slick. Here’s what he made out of them yesterday. (click here for the original post on paleoplanet)

if you like Micheal Miller’s work, here’s a link to his gallery.


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Silicified mud-stone

This stuff is sweet. I love it. Apparently it’s a mud-stone that lithified or agatised, after a bit of heat the rock slicks up and works beautifully.

But then again, I’m a sucker for the brown rocks.

This material comes from the Columbia River Gorge..  and a fat lot of good that does anyone trying to find it..  The gorge runs for miles and miles with very few access points. The best way that I can figure for you to explore the area is to get yourself a boat and hug the shoreline looking for river bars that you can search for knappables. I know of knappable stone that comes from the Deschutes area and from Biggs. Other than that i have no idea. I went to the gorge at the access point near George Washington, (the town.. not the guy) and I found a few pieces of different coloured opalites.. but they were few and far between, with the source of the rock potentially anywhere along the cliffs of the gorge. Good luck to any of you trying to find rock. If you find some sources and are willing to help a brother out, let me know! haha.

But i digress..  Here’s my arrowhead

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