flint knapping

I find it is very helpful to me in my work to occasionally go and spend some time working with another craftsman. To learn new unrelated skills often is very inspirational, I guess I am lucky in that after working in the crafts for many years I know many of the best traditional craftspeople in the country. I used to do shows with Phil Harding of time team and loved to sit and watch him knapping flint, I swapped some of my bowls for a pair of earings for Nicola.

It was something I always fancied trying and I have finally booked myself on a day course. So Daniel Carpenter from the Heritage Crafts Association and myself are booked to go and see John Lord for a days knapping. John worked for English Heritage at Grimes Graves for many years before setting up as a full time napper. He has done a lot of work for flint buildings as well as lots of replicas and demonstrations for museums, he also taught a young Ray Mears how to work flint and make primitive tools.

Here is some of John’s work, I don’t expect to come home with anything this good looking but it is always interesting to explore a new material.

And here is his website


and finally an amusing youtube about the effect of bronze on flint knappers.

One Response to flint knapping

  1. Juan April 1, 2009 at 2:00 am #

    I have a book on bow (as in Robin Hood) making. One of the articles in that book describes the adventures of four modern bowyers who went into the woods, armed only with a flint axe (and, I believe, a case of beer– they figured it would take them all day to cut down a tree). They found an 8″ yew (or maybe it was Osage orange, Bois d’arc) and settled down for a long day of chopping. To their amazement, the tree was felled in 11 minutes flat. With a flint axe. Maybe our ancestors knew more than we thought.On a similiar line of thought, I understand that there is a line of modern surgical knives that uses obsidian as the cutting edge. Maybe our ancestors knew better than we do.