Before you look upon this and think me one of those survivalist nutbars, let me save you the time and say no, I do not anticipate this skill saving my life or even earning me a fresh rabbit any time soon. So why bother learning to knap glass, then? A kind of solidarity with my ancestors, I guess. Here is a craft older than oldness. Its been two million years we’ve been shaping rocks. Yup. Also, the skill is very difficult to learn and the product very beautiful, two temptations for a guy like me.
I’m also a Phd level procrastinator. So while I should be writing music or at the very least, working on the next horn, this delightful set of brand new antler tools came to me by way of my friend, Lorne Gray, local blacksmith and renaissance man. A few weeks ago, in a fit of pique I complained to Lorne that my knapping skills were not progressing on account of my shoddy tools – at the time a pair of rocks (called ‘hammerstones’, but still just a pair of stupid rocks). On the internet are millions* of obviously very successful arrowhead makers with these sexy copper and antler tools called ‘billets’ or ‘boffers’ and I must have woe-is-me’d out loud to Lorne about my lack of antler because he piped up and said, ‘I have antler!’
Yesterday at Lorne’s locker, we fished out the biggest piece of caribou antler I’ve ever held and he said, ‘Just bring me back the leftover bits so I can still make handles for some tools.’ and off I went as happy a man as ever walked through the downtown eastside, my troubles solved by a friend exactly one block away from my home. It is very good to be this kind of rich in a city entirely devoted to the almighty dollar.
*Seriously, like more than twenty.