Flintknapping tools, see traditional and modern flintknapping tools
|Traditional Antler Tools|
| There are two types of flintknapping tools you can select to use when knapping. Those two choices are: antler, stone and bone tools, or copper tipped billets (called copper boppers) and copper tipped pressure flakers.
Those flintknappers who choose to only use traditional antler, bone, and stone tools are called abo (stands for aboriginal) knappers. The real hard core stickler abo knappers won't use anything that was not available to the ancient flintknappers. Some of thes abo knappers, like Jim Spears, are quite good and the replicas they make compete and sometimes exceed the quality of those made by knappers using copper billets. While some of these abo knappers are strict conservatives of the knapping community, others who use strictly antlers for percussion will also use modern copper tipped pressure flakers and modern abraiding stones for knapping. Dan Long, Ken Wallace, and D.C. Waldorf are among the few I know that are antler knappers that use copper pressure flakers but are not strictly traditional abo.
Knappers who use copper tools (copper boppers & pressure flakers) are by far the majority within the flintknapping community. Some times you will hear them called, or they will even refer to themselves as "copperheads". I enjoy using copper tools for flintknapping due to their durability, low maintnance, and low cost. I also like the fact that I can put more weight onto smaller platforms, because copper billets are forward weighted with lead inside the copper cap so that they have the "feel" of forward weighted antler billets, but are approximately 1/3 of the diameter. Another plus for copper billets is that I don't have to swing as hard or have nearly as much snap through with them, which saves a lot of wear and tear on my hands and arms. Some antler boys would argue with that, but it is very much a matter of preference.
While there is a slightly different look to the flakes taken off by antler tools and copper tools, the choice of which to use falls into the catagory of whatever works best for the individual knapper. I started out using antler tools, but found that I broke far fewer bifaces when I switched over to copper tools. I currently can use both kinds of tools, and often switch up when I need to. It's good to be able to use both in case you have to do a demonstration for an archaeological society. My advice is to try both out, and then assemble a tool kit that works best for you and your current abilities. If you do that, you can't go wrong.
I buy all my copper tools from Dave and Angela Parker at Red Rock Lithics. They make great quality ergonomic copper billets and make the best Ishi stick on the market. I highly recommend all of their products.
|Top left: White-tailed deer antler billets, Top center: Moose antler billets Top right: Stone billet, Middle: Stone abraiders and flake abratiding tool, Bottom: Antler and deer ulna pressure flakers, Underneath tools: Moose hide leather protective pad for the thigh|
|Modern Copper Tools|
|Top left: 3/4 inch and 1 inch diameter copper billets, Top center: Solid copper spalling billet Top right: 1 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch copper billets, Middle: Stone abraiders, flake abratiding tool, and modern abraiding stone (square), Bottom: Assortment of copper pressure flakers and a horseshoe nail, Underneath tools: Moose hide leather protective pad for the thigh, and small hand pad|
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