Carving "Knapped" Steel Blades
An Adobe PDF format file is also availabe for free download here: Knapped_Steel_Tutorial.pdf
“Knapped” Steel Blade Tutorial, originally posted on The Carving Path Forum, September 19, 2007
The information contained herein originally appeared on www.thecarvingpath.net or www.thecarvingpath.com forums. This compilation is copyrighted by TheCarvingPath.net, and each separate posting and/or image is copyrighted by the original poster. This information may be freely distributed for the purposes of learning these or similar techniques, but may not be sold or otherwise distributed for financial gain in any manner.
Many of the procedures or techniques described herein are dangerous, employ toxic or otherwise hazardous substances, or may produce toxic or hazardous substances in the process of employment, such as dust or other evolved products. This information is not intended for use by beginners or those uninformed about the proper use of the equipment, materials or substances described. For heaven’s sake, do be sensible and safe when using these or similar techniques. If you aren’t absolutely certain you are capable of using this information safely, then ask questions or seek help and guidance by those who are.
I’ve finally managed to get around to making another “knapped” steel blade, and I’ve documented the process I use. First, however, when you’re trying to synthesize the features of something in your art, it’s very important to understand the appearance of that which you’re trying to imitate.
Along that vein, I dug up two examples of knapped stone blades, and also marked out the flake scar shapes and patterns. One example is of a pressure flaked blade, and the other is of a percussion knapped blade. Both of these stone blades are by Dr. J. P. Higgins, a friend of mine and expert knapper.
The first example is of a pressure flaked blade, this one in black obsidian (volcanic glass). Pressure flaking is performed by using a hand held tool with a small point and literally pushing a flake off of the stone with hand force only. Pressure flakes tend to be much smaller than percussion flakes, and appear to be longer (actually only more narrow and more shallow). This example is an “oblique” technique, and the flake scars run across the blade at an angle. “Parallel” flakes run across the blade at 90 degrees. Knappers normally try to make flakes from one side meet up with an opposing flake on the other side.
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Last Updated:Monday March 24, 2008