Sunday, July 21, 2013

30 in 30 by 30: Making Bone Knives

This is the thirteenth in my 30 in 30 by 30 series, wherein I undertake 30 adventures in 30 days before I turn 30 years old on Aug. 6.

Saturday, I totally carved a knife out of a bone!

Wanna bone?

Nearby Big Bone Lick State Park has been a spot of historical import for centuries due to the salt lick onsite.

To showcase the plethora of prehistoric connections found on the grounds, ranger and historian Todd Young showed me, Quincy and a group of other curious classmates how Native Americans would have constructed knives out of animal bones.

Quincy, holding bone

Femur impersonator

It turns out that my coworker Daniel was also in attendance. He let me talk his ear off all afternoon. Thanks, man!


The process for transforming your metatarsal into a shiv in the paleolithic fashion includes using a hunk of flint to score a line down each side...


...Then hitting it with a rock until it breaks in two.


You wrap your handle in deer hide and you're good to gash.

My bone knife needed a lot more sanding (on hunks of sandstone!) and sharpening, but after 4 hours in a sweltering grove, I was ready to crawl into some A/C and scarf some lunch.

I was incredibly impressed with Todd's depth of knowledge, patience with the class and generosity - He let us take home chunks of sandstone and flint so that we could perfect our points in private! And he answered endless questions about primitive life and naturalistic living.

He's the kind of guy that gets really excited by the prospect of crafting his own hammock from native vines. He's awesome.

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