Introduction: Upcycled Flint-Knapping Set

About: Hello! Im a maker, a hobbyist, and collector. Here are just a few of my interests-- rocks gems and minerals, woodworking, atlatl throwing, altlatl making, flint knapping, beading, mosaics, whittling, robotic…

A friend taught me how to knap, and I took a liking to it, so I set on a search to get my own knapping set. I found out they are a bit expensive, so I decided to make my own from materials that were leftover from other projects.

I like this project because it uses basic tools that almost everyone has.

All of the arrowheads in the main photo were made with this set.


Bench grinder
Rubber block or scrap piece of soft wood

Copper pipe (desired thickness)
Copper wire or copper nail (at least as thick as a wire hanger)
Hardwood (I used red oak from an old couch)
Mineral oil

Step 1:

First, let's start with the shearing tool.
I had some copper pipes left over from another project.

Make two marks on your pipe. The first mark should be 1/2 inch from the bottom. You can make it as high up as you want. Shorter is better for more detailed work. Taller is better for rapid removal.

I have bigger hands, so I made the second mark 5 1/2" from the bottom. But you can adjust the length to where you want.

Step 2:

Cut the pipe at the top mark.
Then place the pipe inside of a vise, just below the line, and squeeze it completely flat.

When you squeeze the pipe, the ends won't line up, so you need to sand them flat. This can be done with a band sander (that's what I used) or a file. After that's done, sand the other end flat, and then round it.

Step 3:

After all this is done, the only thing left for this tool is to sand it on a bench grinder with a wire wheel or with sandpaper. Make sure you wear gloves when working with a wire wheel. And make sure they're the right ones. Some gloves are worse to have on, than to have nothing at all.

Congratulations you have just completed one of the tools for your knapping set!

Step 4:

Now let's start on the second tool: The wire part of the pressure flicker.

You can use copper nails, but they are hard to find, so what I used is a low gauge reclaimed copper wire.

If you're using nails skip to step 6.

To start straightening the wire, you'll need a rubber block of some sort from a tire or something else. If you don't have access to this you can use a soft piece of wood like pine or softer. But rubber works best.

Place the bent wire on the rubber block and gently strike it with a small hammer until it's straight, and then sand it.

Step 5:

Now we need a pointed tip on the end of The wire. You won't want to just file it down, because it will soften the metal. And when you try to use it, it'll bend.
What you want to do, is Hammer the end into a point, and then lightly sand it into its final shape.

Strike the end of the wire while holding it at a angle and turning the wire while hitting it.

When there is a point, lightly sand or file it into the final shape.

Then cut the wire or nail about 2 inches from the other end.

Step 6:

I am using recycled wood from a old couch that I took apart. It turned out to be red oak, but you can use any wood that is very hard like oak.

The piece that I'm using is 1/2" x 7/8" x 5" and I want it to be as square as possible, so I am going to cut off a 1/4" to make it square.

After its cut, sand all of the edges flat.

Take a roller and mark an X from corner to corner to find the center. Then drill a hole in the middle of the X about 1.5" deep

Start with a small drill bit and move your way up in sizes until your hole is a tiny bit smaller than the nail or wire that you're using.

Step 7:

Step 7A:
Now we need to turn the rectangle into a cylinder. To do this, there are three different ways. You could use a router, a table saw/band saw, or a sander.

If you don't have a router go to step 7B.

If you don't have a router or table/bandsaw go to step 7C.

If you do have a router, then I'm using a 3/8" round over bit.
If you don't have this exact size, then it's okay. I used it because it's the biggest one I have.

Setup your router table and router over all four edges.

Step 7B:
You'll want to make your rectangle into an octagon shape so you can sand it into a cylinder.

Set your table or bandsaw at 45° and then cut the four corners off of your block.

Setp 7C:
All you have to do is simply round over all four corners to make your rectangle into a cylinder. This will take a long time.

Step 8:

Now it's time to sand your block of wood. First you'll want to round the sides of it before you shape the ends.

Next, round the bottom (the end without the hole) into a dome shape. You'll want to start at a steeper angle and work your way down to a more shallow angle, while turning your cylinder.

After that, sand the top (the end with the hole). You'll want this to be more of a cone shape.
Hold it on the sander at a very shallow angle, and turn it at the same time.

After you're done with the sander, the rest should be done by hand. Start with a more coarse grit and make your way down to a finer grit to shape it and smooth it.

Step 9:

Now its time to add the copper wire or nail. Place the wood into a vise, and gently hammer the tip of the copper into the wood with your rubber block on the tip of the copper.

If it doesn't go in all the way, you'll have to cut the tip off and re-hammer it. If you try to pull it out you'll either crack the wood or bend the wire/nail.

Even with the rubber block, it will slightly deform the head of the copper tip, so lightly refile or lightly resand it.

Step 10:

This is my favorite part. Now it's time to stain it. I used mineral oil because it is cheap and very simple to use.

Just dab a little on a rag and rub it into the wood. Then, with a dry rag, wipe any access oil.

Apply three or four layers of mineral oil and it will keep the dirt out. Wait about 30 minutes in between layers.

That's it.

Congratulations your knapping set is complete! You now have everything you'll need to make your own arrowheads.

If you are going to make more of these two tools, these photos are some different designs you could try.

To find flint, you could buy it online or at a local rock show.
If you're ever near Ohio, there is a flint knapping festival twice a year that you could buy materials.

I used recycled materials from the folks that knap larger arrowheads. The pieces that they chip off are a nice size for smaller arrowheads, and they usually throw them away. So it goes great with this theme of the project reclaimed and recycled.

Thanks for reading my instructable! If you liked it, send me a comment and/or vote for me. If you've tried it, send me a picture.

If you're looking for some more ideas to try with arrowheads, check out my other project here:

                     THANK YOU!

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