Knapper in Virginia Looking for Knap-ins and Help – Monty Loving

From Monty

I live in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia near Winchester. I have been flint-knapping for about 10 years, mostly pressure flaking and am basically self-taught using videos and books. I enjoy it very much, but I don't feel like I am making any progress past my current skill level. I would  like to attend a good knap-in where I could watch others knap and purchase stone. I would also like to know if there are other knappers near me that would work with me on an individual level.

Answer from KQ Staff

Co-editor Dwayne from North Carolina recommends that you might want to look into attending the Spring and/or Fall knap-ins at Flint Ridge in Ohio ( or maybe the North Georgia Knap-in & Primitive Arts Festival in April 20-22, 2017 (

Editor and Webmaster John from Los Angeles, California (quite a distance from Virginia), also recommends checking out our
Calendar of Events page here on the KQ site (to be updated as more information becomes available) as well as the Events and FlintKnappers Map pages on As for individual instruction, I can recommend Jack Cresson in New Jersey. Jack offers group workshops (although the 2017 schedule has not been post yet []); however, I believe that he also offers individual lessons too.

As for stone dealers, there are several on internet including some who are on Facebook. We will post this question on our Facebook Knapper’s Quarterly Group to help get you some more answers and resources that are closer to your area. We will update this post as we hear back from some people (of course, direct comments to this post are also welcome).

Heating rocks in a turkey roaster. I just bought one and have no idea for sure how to it - Larry Adcock

Larry Adcock (Q&A from the Knapper’s Quarterly Discussion Group on Facebook):
Heating rocks in a turkey roaster. I just bought one and have no idea for sure how to it

Answer from Curtis Smith:
The problem with trying to give specific temps is it varies greatly depending on the type of stone and quality and what you want out of it. Even for those of us who cook a lot some stone still has to be cooked 2 or 3 times to sneak up on the right temp. I tend to heat my stuff lower cause I want the stone to retain some of its tensile strength for my super thin knapping. But for pressure flaking some people like to take it to the limit to get it as glassy and easy to flake as possible.

How to get my flakes top travel across the material I'm knapping - James Outman

James Outman:
Still being just under a year now I've been knapping and I understand it takes a lot of experience to get the proper technique down. I'm interested in getting my pressure flakes to travel farther than just a few millimeters.

Answer from Bill Earnhardt:

First suggestion, get one type stone and only work with it until you get your flakes running good. I would recommend a softer stone such as Obsidian. Only once you get confident with it would you want to try another stone, because the platforms can be slightly different and by constantly changing and using different materials and it can throw you off.

Probably what is happening is your platforms are "giving away". So you want to "strengthen" your platforms. By strengthen, I mean a flatter platform which creates a stronger platform. But you may have to keep adjusting with the angle of your platform until you find what will work for you and the stone. Which is actually why I called my video on pressure flaking “adjust", it is a constant state of adjusting.

Some pictures and a video to help you to visualize what I am saying on the angle of the platforms can be seen in the following article that my son Dwayne wrote about concerning edge to edge flaking here:

While this article is discussing edge to edge in particular, the part about the platforms is relevant here. The bevel on the face of the blade, which is also discussed in this article can play a role as well, but at this point I wouldn't worry about that too much. And since this does take some time and adjusting, if you run into any problems or have any more questions with this feel free to ask.

Photo 1 below is the "stronger" platform compared to Photo 2.

Photo 1: Strong Platform
Photo 2: Weaker Platform

I was wondering if you could tell me what type of stone to use in Sevier County, Tennessee...we have some stone I was told was chert and to heat treat it before using..another question...what would you recomend as improvised knapping tools? I'm pretty much broke at the i need to improvise. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated - Brian Whorley

Two photos sent in by Brian Whorley of his possible chert as found, heat treated, and broken by a hammerstone. Looks like quartz on the inside to me. Seems a bit brittle as well. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated.thanks for taking the time to answer me:

Pasted GraphicPasted Graphic 1

Type of Stone Answer from Curtis Smith:
The stone in the photos looks like quartzite; when tumbled in rivers they can look like chert on the outside, but when broken open are grainy (John E. Atwood, KQ Editor, concurs). There is the Knox group limestones that contain some high grade black flint, but it is mostly small and highly fractured. It runs from northeast Tennessee all the way down into northern Georgia. Along the Cumberland escarpment there are agates in the limestone. In southeast Tennessee there is Fort Payne, Bangor, stone river group, horse mountain agate. There are some remnants of St. Louis and St. Genevieve hornstone type cherts in parts of eastern Tennessee too.

I have never collected in that area; however, it looks like mostly sandstones and shales. The Knox group and copper ridge dolomite are in that county and contain chert.

From what I have read and been told by other knappers who live in eastern Tennessee it is really hard to find any solid and decent size flint. I have 2 nodules of Knox chert that were given to me by a couple knappers at north Georgia. They were about the size of a ping pong ball. I have personally looked for Fort Payne around Manchester at the old stone fort knap-in. The park has outcrops of Fort Payne and they are all fractured beyond use. I personally collected stone river group chert west of there and most of it was fractured beyond use. I was able to get on some private property that has some good solid cannonball shaped nodules that were solid but was only able to get 20 or 30 pounds. Most were fist size but some were around 6 to 8 inches.

Knox Chert

Stone River Chert

Knapping Tools Answer from Daniel A Pierce:
I'm sure there are hunters in your area and most people are would give small tines away, especially if they knew what it was for. Or even ask around or buy some copper nails or find stones for Percussion. I started using a single nail when I first began. But for sure ask around if people know anybody who has antlers and just ask. I've got a lot that way. Or even recommend they try to flintknapping groups and someone might donate a starting kit. Either for free or trade for their first point. Search for knappers in their own area or upcoming shows.