The Life of a
Snyder's Point Knife
***Last Updated 1/19/09***
Above is a picture of the Snyder's
point I knapped out of Texas
Georgetown Flint.  This was not a
super nice blade, so I decided to put
it to use and sacrifice it for the sake
of this experiment
Above is a picture of the wooden
handle I carved to hold my Snyder's
Point knife blade.  It's a hardwood,
but I'm not sure what type of wood it
is.  Unlike knives I sell, I made this
handle thicker for use.
Above is a picture of the knife blade
glued into the wooden handle with
hide glue.  Below the larger picture
shows the knife finished with the
deer sinew bindings and pine pitch
A Knife is Born

Length:  18.3 cm

Width:  N/A

Thickness:  N/A

Length:  10.8 cm

Width:  3.8 cm

Thickness:  3.7 cm

Length:  7.5 cm

Width:  6.0 cm

Thickness:  1.2 cm
Completed Knife
Above is the finished knife hafted to the wooden handle with deer sinew, and pine pitch
glue.  Since I intend to use this knife to butcher deer, I coated the sinew bindings with a
liberal amount of bees wax so that the blood of the deer will not loosen them.
Since I did not shoot a deer during regular hunting season, the knife did not get much use.  
However, on this date I took it with me to go harvest Red Dogwood arrow shafts along a
river in Cortland County.  The knife was not well suited for this task at all.  It took a lot of
muscle to make significant progress while attempting to harvest the arrow shafts.  It took
about 18 minutes to cut the sapling to a point where it could then be easily snapped off.  The
use did not dull the blade a whole lot, but did take off the higher more brittle sharp edges by
slight crushing and dulling.  For butchering purposes, I will need to resharpen the blade just
to be sure it's plenty sharp.
Use Activity:
Cutting Red Dogwood Saplings for arrow
While the knife did do it's job, it was not efficient in doing so.  I do not believe that
aboriginals used a knife of this design for that task specifically.  I think a bone saw or a
serrated chert blade would have worked better and faster than the knife did.  Could such a
knife have been used for this task?  Probably at some point some aboriginal in North
America used his knife to harvest a wood arrow shaft in a pinch, but probably he used a
more efficient tool to carry out this task.

No significant reduction in blade measurements from cutting the wood shaft.
My parents had an old apple laying around, so while out deer hunting, I thought I would cut
it up and leave it for the deer to eat.  The knife worked surprisingly well for cutting large
sections of the apple off to leave on the ground.  Even with a withered skin, the flint knife
made quick work out of that task.  I had not resharpened the blade since the last entry, so
even with a bit of a dulled blade, the knife performed well above my expectations.  There
was no observable wear from this activity.  The juices obviously coated the blade and were
wiped clean in the grass.
Use Activity:
Cutting up an apple
This wasn't a huge utilization of this knife, but no doubt, an ancient knife like this one would
have been a good tool to process apples.  Since the apple was so soft and I only cut up one,
there really isn't any significant observable use wear to report.  A resharpened blade would
have made the job even easier and quicker, but not needed at this point.  I believe the
ancient ones would have been just as stingy as I'm being when it comes to resharpening the
knife blade.  After all, the more you resharpen the blade, the shorter it's life span will be
and I believe the aboriginals wanted to conserve their knives for as long as possible.

No significant reduction in blade measurements from cutting the apple.
This knife worked flawlessly to take the hide off this deer.  It removed the hide cleanly
leaving very little residual tissue materials or fat.  The knife also worked surprisingly fast to
remove large pieces of meat from the deer for processing into steaks and other cuts.  The
knife had no problem cutting through the hide of the deer and made quick work of whatever
duty it was put to task with.  The only thing it was not suitable for was the cutting of small
thin pieces for jerky or for cutting nice steaks.  I used Onondaga and Esopus Chert flakes
to cut some of the steaks and they worked like a sharp surgical blade.

After the first day of processing, which was mostly removing large pieces of meat and
skinning the deer, there was a need to resharpen the blade.  Though Snyder's points were
not bevel sharpened, I chose to bevel this blade in order to extend it's life.  A single series
of small pressure flakes were removed with an antler presure flaking tool to restore the
blades sharpness.  I do not believe the resharpening would have been needed had I not
dulled the blade edges considerably when I tried to cut arrow shafts with it on 12/17/05.  My
brother has processed several deer with a similiar knife I made him and it does not yet need
resharpening.  I also noticed that when the blade becomes dull or duller, the tiny serrations
in the blade edge start to become caked with meat/fat residue during the butchering
process.  This makes the blade less efficiently.  Cleaning the blade helps, but I think what is
happening is that the pointy part of each serration is worn off from use at this point and is
not razor sharp.  This forces the butcher to press down with more force which in turn shoves
more animal material into those serrations.  Since the sharp part of the blade is no longer
the point of the serration but is now the portion in between the worn points, more force is
needed in order to push the sharp part of the blade into the meat or hide.  I'd say that the
ancient ones knew that it was time to resharpen the blade when they needed to use excess
force to cut.
Use Activity:
Processing a Whitetail deer legally taken during N.Y shotgun season
This was the first real test of this knife, and it worked much more efficiently than a steel
hunting knife.  It did a far superior job of removing the hide as compared to a steel blade.  
I'd have to say that a knife like this one would mainly serve as a dismembering tool and
skinning tool.  Some further meat processing could be done with it on the dismembered
meat materials, but fresh blades and spalls of Onondaga and Esopus chert were much more
effective to cut thin jerky type strips and steaks.  The handle thickness is right on for this
type of work and the bees wax covering over the sinew protected it from the deer blood

Length:  7.2 cm

Ear Width:  5.5 cm

Mid Width:  5.6 cm

Tip Width:  3.8 cm

Mid Thickness:  1.2 cm

Tip Thickness:  0.8 cm
First Resharpening
Tip Width------------------------------
Here's the taxidermist mounted buck that
was processed with this knife and Onondaga
+ Esopus spalls.  It was a 200 lb 8 point
buck.  There was a lot of meat on this big guy
to process but this knife had no problem
doing it.