Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Groswater harpoon progress

Un-notched Groswater
I have a few goals in the workshop this week and several orders that I'm trying to fill all at once, but my main focus is to get a Groswater harpoon and assorted Northern Plain's projectile points finished and in the mail by Friday.  The clock is ticking and I need the harpoon to be dry before shipping, so my priority today was working the sealskin so that the lashing can go on to the wood shaft as soon as possible so that it can dry while I work on the other unfinished pieces in the order.

Stretching and drying sealskin for the harpoon line and lashings.
Photo Credit: Tim Rast

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ptarmigan Feathers

I need a few ptarmigan feathers for a set of atlatl darts.  A friend from Labrador managed to find a half dozen wings in his freezer and popped them in the mail for me last week.
Photo Credit: Tim Rast

Friday, May 15, 2015

Start of the long weekend

If I had made it out to the workshop today, I would have finished these Groswater harpoon heads.  But I didn't make it to the workshop today.  I got distracted by office work, photo editing, and the first lunchtime pina coladas of the season.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


 The bilboquets or pin-and-cup games I showed boiling on Monday are dried and ready to ship now.  I discussed it with the client and given the way these toys are intended to be used, we decided to go with braided artificial sinew instead of real sinew.  It looks the same, but it should last a little longer, with less maintenance than real sinew.  The bone targets, pins, and cords range in size and therefore difficulty.  The pins are primarily ribs and the targets are cut from caribou long bones and whale ribs.
Set of nine bilboquets

The different sizes and hole diameters make some of the toys more challenging than others.
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Monday, May 11, 2015

You want what?

Bone pin and cup games, minus the sinew string
that will connect the two parts together.
I learned a new word from this order; bilboquet.  I've made these sort of bone pin-and-cup games before, but I've never come across the French name for them until the Canadian Museum of History requested nine such toys for a hands-on travelling exhibit called "Kids Celebrate".  I spent today roughing out the caribou and whale bone cylinders and pins in the workshop and boiling out the residual grease in them in the kitchen.  It won't take long to add the braided sinew cord to bind the pins to the cups.  I should be able to get them in the mail within the next day or two.

Boiling out the grease and marrow
Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Friday, May 8, 2015

Northern Archaic Reproductions made from Alaskan Obsidian

Obsidian dart point and reference drawing
 I'm working on a series of knapped obsidian and chert dart points for archaeologists in Alaska and the Yukon.  The Alaskan set is made from obsidian from Wiki Peak, which has been a real pleasure to work.  The stone has nice grey and black flow banding, although the grey doesn't really show up in these photos.  Two of the finished projectile points will be hafted in split birch shafts based on ice patch darts from the Yukon.  The other three pieces show the progression of making a dart point from a hard hammered flake, through a soft hammered preform, and on to a pressure flaked complete point.  I wanted to save the corresponding flakes for each stage, which is why I needed to clean up the winter's mess and lay out a fresh tarp in the workshop.

A flintknapping reduction sequence from a hard hammer flake (left) to a soft hammered biface (middle) to a projectile point finished with pressure flaking.

In this photo, the knapped obsidian is resting on the reference photos and drawing used to model the points.  I primarily used the line drawing in the upper right hand corner to guide the size and stem style for the three completed dart points.  Looking at the photo here, I may trim the ears slightly on one or two of the points before I haft them.  There is a fine line between a wide side-notch and an expanding stem and I think my points might have more of a side-notched than stemmed feel to them at the moment.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Spring Cleaning

With the Canadian Archaeological Association conference over and the Ikaahuk artifact reproductions delivered, it is time to take a deep breath and move into the final phase of filling spring orders.  To begin, I desperately needed to clear the winter's dust out of the workshop and lay out a fresh tarp to work on.
 Photo Credits: Tim Rast

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