No Tool Build! Caveman Hammer




Introduction: No Tool Build! Caveman Hammer

About: I work in industrial automation and spend any free time making.

Visiting South Maintain Park this past weekend the water was a bit cold to play in the river. So our 4 year old was a bit disenchanted. So I decided to engage him by proposing we make a Caveman Club.
Also this was a good opportunity to brush up on my bushcraft skills.
My last instructable dealt with survival kits and being prepared for unknown situations. With this there is always the possibility that despite your best efforts you will find your self in the wilderness without any of your well prepared survival kits or tools.
This is no need to panic, the cavemen made tools with their bare hands and so can we.

So lets go outside and find some sticks and stones.

Step 1: Plan

First you need to gather your thoughts on what type of tool and handle you want to make. This will determine what materials you gather.
The pics above give 3 basic stone and handle type tool assembly methods. These pics are from an old US army survival
Manual but the ideas are pretty straight forward.

As I did not use any modern tools or equipment I aimed to make the forked handle tool. This will be the easiest to make with foraged woodland material.

Step 2: Hunt for Rocks

The first thing we will need to make a striking tool or hatchet or stone knives is ...

You guessed it Stones!

Rocks with natural features that will lend them to be secured to a handle with little to no shaping are what you hope to find. A slight figure 8 shape/ intention or something with a ledge transition along the profile work well.

In the pics above you'll see I found a nice stone with a slipper profile that should make a good mallet / striking tool.

Step 3: Make Some Stone Tools

Now that you have potential tool heads gathered you will have to start looking for a handle.
But before you get too far into scavenging for branches lets make some tools to help us harvest and shape our handle.
Look for a rock with a jagged edge that can be used for a crude knife or saw tooth.
If you can't find one readily look for stones with layering streaks or veins. Strike these with or on another rock and try to get it to fracture and hopefully you are left with a '"sharp" enough edge to do some primitive cutting. Beware of dangerous debris if you attempt this breaking method. Wear eye protection and be aware of others.
Depending on the quality or stones in your area locate or create several of these cutting stones you may find that with repeated use they may break. ( Generally rocks like other materials that chip easily are hard but brittle.)

Step 4: Find a Handle

Now it's time to locate a handle. For this you need a good green stick I.e. one still growing/attached to a tree or bush. We need a green limb so it will have some flexibly and not snap as we are shaping and or using it.

A good handle for our striking tool will be slighting larger than your thumb width and as long as your forearm.
A limb with a narrow Y end "think sling shot" works well and will be earlier for beginners to make. This is exactly the handle I used for this tool.
Another option is finding a thicker limb that the end can be split and our tooling head nestled between. But since we are using no modern tools at all for this build this method is a bit more difficult.

Once locating the branch I was to use I used my stone "knife" to score around the perimeter or the limb in the areas I wanted to break it free once scored you will find the limb will break off more or less where you scored it. It won't be pretty but it's a cave man tool right.

Step 5: Fitting the Striker Head

We have a tool head and a handle all we have left is combining the two.
Set the stone in the fork of the handle and squeeze the handle tips around the tool stone several times. This will 'train' the handle tips to the curve for your stone and if your handle piece is not suitable it will break at this point.
Hopefully your handle piece is suitable. I broke 2 before finding a really good handle so don't get discouraged.

Step 6: Lashing

Now for the hard part, lashing the tool head to our handle without any rope!

That's right we are going make our lashing from natural materials only what we can find or modify with our bare hands... And some rocks....
This step in the build is arguably the most difficult and most rewarding once you learn the art of it.
You will have to find a small sapling limbs, reeds or weed grass or small roots. The issue is finding a natural material that is small but flexible and has a decent tensile strength that can be pulled tight.

Finding a good lash material will take a lot of testing. Some advice, I've had best luck with small tree or bush roots. Look near a stream bank for exposed roots to pull up. These will be soaked from the stream and very flexible. This is what I used for my build.

For materials to be used for lashing you will want to test it by wrapping it around your tool handle. Make sure the material will not Crack and break. Weaker materials you may have luck ' training ' the lashing by bending it slowly in ever decreasing radius bends and soak in water between bend training.

You will need around 8 inches of root or other lashing material to do one knot.

For the lashing knot I used the simple clove hitch to lock the handle forks together around the stone. This is a very simple fiction knot and will not over stress these wood fiber materials and give us the best chance of success.

Step 7: Closing Notes

The pics above are of another striking tool build made by splitting a branch and lashing above and below with reed material.

The hardest part of either of these builds was not using my pocket knife for working the handle and the lashing material.
In an actual emergency build of one of these striking tools I would definitely use a shoe lace or a scrap of clothes for a better lashing.
All in all this stone aged tool took less than an hour to make.
With some time and experimenting the stone used for the tool head could be chipped away to form a more hatchet like tool.

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8 years ago

Thanks guys. I had so much fun finding river rocks for this build I wondered what could I do WITH tools and whipped out this stone hatchet using a 6" grinder and a few saws.

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