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Monday, November 28, 2011

Paleo stone micro drill

I was showing some antler needles I made on a forum and one guy asked how I drilled the holes. I told him of a quartz micro drill I made. I can't find it for the life of me and the last I saw it was several years ago. The drill was a long, slender sliver that came off a huge crystal I was taking spalls from. I bought the crystal very cheap because it was dropped and the tip pulverized. I mounted the sliver in a piece of bamboo chop stick after flaking a good edge on both sides. I use a deer antler tine for this kind of flaking because I can keep the tip of the antler ground very small to a wedge shape. I retouch the edge as I work to keep a good clean working tip. The quartz drill was just under 1/4" total length and about 3/16" protruded from the end of the chop stick. The short piece of chop stick with stone tip was mounted into a larger diameter handle and twirled like a fire hand drill.

I made the drill in the photos from a piece of  debitage an archaeologist friend had given me. He collected several bags from the surface of an ancient village site that was being built on. I don't know if the archaeologists ever did anything at this site before all the building took place. He was kind enough to give me several bags. This stuff is wonderful to knap and I wouldn't doubt it was heat treated by the ancient artist who made tools from the rock.

I plan to make a bow drill using this set up. I saw one on BushcraftUK a few years back and the maker did a wonderful job. Its the last picture. I did a screen capture from the original article but I can't find it on the site any longer.

Here's the finished drill. Almost 1/4" long OAL.

The shaft after taking out the notch. I used a very thin flake and made two splits and used a pointed end to cut into the base of the notch section to be removed. Then pinched the stick together and used a bit thicker flake to push the notch out of the side till it broke clean. The indents in the sides are for the sinew to get a good hold. The bamboo chop stick is whittled down to about 3/16" diameter.

Here's the drill mounted and waiting for sinew and hide glue. My hide glue is made of an old elk hoof and a few scraps of rawhide chew toy, I use a piece about the size of a nickel and had plenty left over. I use dried flakes and pieces and reconstitute with hot water.

All finished. The sinew is deer leg sinew and the hide glue is smeared over it as well as in the notch. I left this one full length, about 12" and twirl it like a fire drill. It needs to be cut off and mounted in something a little thicker for better control.
Someone at BushcraftUK made this a few years back. Admirable work and I like his set up for doing antler needle eyes. He uses twigs set in the cracks in the log to hold the antler steady. Great idea!

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