BACK TO THE STONE AGE - Flint and Obsidian Are Used Today

by Dorothy Hussey

Flintknapping has become an art, producing knives for current use. Stone knives have many advantages over steel ones. An obsidian blade is the sharpest in existence, with a cutting edge of one molecule. The American Medical Association has reported that that is five hundred times sharper than the best steel scalpel. Obsidian scalpels are being used in surgery today. The thin edge cuts tissue cells which are torn by the best of scalpels made of steel.

Flint is only a small bit less sharp than obsidian, but it holds an edge better.

Stone knives are widely used by hunters, trappers, fishermen and farmers. Even the Eskimos who gave up their ancient stone knives for the white man's steel blade, are now re-learning the art of knapping weapons and finding them superior.

Learning to make blades from stones should be taught as a basic survival skill. A handle is not necessary. Even small flakes can be used for cleaning fish or animals. We should have lessons or practice on our own. Protect eyes and lungs when beating on rocks.

No modern weapon can surpass the double edged stone lance point which doubled as a knife. They were mostly flint (including chert) and obsidian. Flint is 99% quartz minus the ordered crystal structure of pure quartz. Thus, all directions are strong and. have no cleavage points which break.

True flint is rare. That in that U.S. is mostly chert - about 90% quartz.

I have found many of these Indian knives in plowed fields after a rain. They were all given to a college. The, next one I will keep and put in the tool chest or give to a surgeon.

Reprinted from Mountain Mineral Monthly, Vol.63 Number 6, June 1994. Used by permission.