The Math and Sciences division hosted a First Friday Lunch and Lecture series Friday. Guest speaker Eddie Vaughan, a flint knapper demonstrated how to shape native stone into arrowheads, points and knives.
Vaughan has more than 40 years of experience creating native tools. He uses different types of stone depending on the project, but says novaculite is what most Native Americans used. “Heat-treated novaculite is local and easy to obtain,” said Vaughn. He noted that obsidian and plate glass are alternative options for someone who wishes to explore the craft.
The stone is heat-treated between 700 to 900 degrees. The purer the stone the less heat treatment it requires. Vaughan uses a pottery kiln to treat his stones, while native artisans used fire. The heat allows the stone to flake and break more cleanly along the ridges.
Vaughan uses aboriginal and modern tools to shape the stone, including round sandstone and copper tools he made by hand. He demonstrated how to strike the stone to get the best result. Once the stone is shaped, it can be placed on a wooden shaft or handle using natural materials such as animal tendon, pine resin, and charcoal.
He said knapping is a learned skill that takes many years of practice to master. He said the work in therapeutic for him because of the level of focus it requires.
Photo: Flint knapper Eddie Vaughan demonstrating how to strike novaculite to produce the flakes needs for creating arrowheads during his presentation at National Park College’s Math and Sciences division First Friday Lunch and Lecture series. Pictured is Vaughan with NPC student, Bianca Rodriguez.