Native Way Weapons and Flintknapping Supply

Billet Information

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Leg Sinew

What's new and What's Sinew? - Sinew is tendon and was used to tie, sew and for a few other uses. Sinew must be pounded to release the fibers as in the leg sinew above, or twisted and pulled apart if it is backstrap sinew like that below.
Backstrap sinew Click photo for a larger view. Or you can click here and go to our supply page. Use leg sinew for bow backing and backstrap sinew for making arrows and hafting points.

Arrow Making for Scout Awards and decorator items is a fun activity that builds skills. See our full line of supplies, kits and instruction. more...

Flintknapping is a fast-growing hobby that can produce some beautiful work and hours of fun. Learn with our Instructional DVD more...

Educators and Schools - Native Way has supplied teaching projects for over 25 years and can tailor a selection for your needs. more info...

Fire Kit

Fascinate your students -- burn something! It amazes most people the first time they see a fire made with flint and steel. You can get someone's attention easily if you are the one who does it....more info...

Arkansas novaculite -- not all novaculite is created equal -- grading and mining information from the leaders in novaculite mining for flintknapping. more...

ARROWHEAD HUNTER'S PRIMER - learn strategies and cautions for an exciting hobby. full story...

Small Antler Billets

What Billet is best for flint knapping?

There are 3 major types of billet in common use among modern flint knappers. Most traditional is the time tested antler billet, made from the base of an antler of deer, moose or elk.

There are also metal billets that are simply rods of metal, usually softer than steel. Copper is the most common type of metal billet, followed by aluminum .

Last is the composite billet -- a modern thing usually a mix of copper, aluminum, lead, glue and wood. The most common form of composite billet is called the copper bopper.Aluminum Billet

Antler is the best choice for traditionalists, anthropology and archaeology students. It bites into the stone and delivers a soft blow. You have to swing it pretty hard, unless you use an especially heavy one. Antler billets wear away slowly and must be re-faced back into a dome as when the face becomes flat irt does not work well. You need the billet contacting the stone in a single point to be accurate, and that happens best with a domed surface.

Solid metal billets are work horses. They tend to be practically indestructible, some -- the aluminum ones -- are inexpensive, and they will process a ton of material. By contrast an antler billet will need resurfacing after chipping only 20 or 30 pounds of material. Copper and aluminum billets resurface themselves.

Copper bopper

The composites and copper boppers are not so durable, but they are easy to use and easy to learn with, and some of the fancier ones are repairable. A typical copper bopper is a copper plumbing cap that has been hammered into a dome and filled with lead. The cap is then glued to a dowel. Once you wear through the copper cap, the billet tends to degrade quickly.

If you want your work to look like Native Americans made it, choose antler. The flake scars tend to be flat like you see on artifact examples. Copper boppers are next in simulation of natural flaking patterns, and the metal billets -- copper and aluminum have a slightly different character to their flake scars, and tend to leave a little deeper flake. With antler it is important to prepare a very good platform to strike, with metal billets it is less needed.

Antler billets come in different sizes, and they can best be used for different types of work. Moose billets are usually up to about 2 pounds, and shear large flat flakes from large preforms. Deer antler billets are usually from about 12 ounces maximum to about 6 ounces for the smallest. Deer antler billets can actually do most types of work on blades less than 6 inches. Use a small billet if you want to do small, controlled work.

Finished novaculite point


The other task in flintknapping is pressure flaking. There, we find metal tools with copper or steel tips, and traditional antler tools such as antler tines and bone punches. The primary difference in pressure flaking tools is that metal lasts much longer than antler tools. It can ruin an antler tool's tip to make even two or three points, and any work at all usually requires resharpening.

 

 

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