Experimental composite tool making

Director Paul Gething did a bit of experimental archaeology this past weekend. Here’s what he has to report.

I did a little experiment to see how quick and easy it would be to make a composite tool. The idea was to make something that could be used to harvest sedge at the Kaims in the summer. I attempted to make something between a saw and a sickle.

I took a few flint flakes that I had as debitage and just general surplus from my patio floor.


I found a length of willow from my woodpile and a larger flint to work with.


I used the retouched saw edge to cut the wood to size. I scored a deep groove all the way around and then snapped the wood cleanly. The wood is 25mm diameter and was harvested in the autumn of 2014. Sawing a 3mm groove all the way around took under 2 minutes.


I used a hooked flake to cut a groove in the willow. Once it was started it was very quick, only taking ten minutes to cut a groove 5 mm deep. (The actual flint used was the hooked flint in the top of the glued final piece photo).


The final step was to glue in the flint debitage I had scrounged up earlier.


The glue was some I had lying around from my other projects. It was made a while ago using wood ash, warm milk and vinegar.

The entire build took 35 minutes. If I had used resin or similar and therefore needed to heat it up, I imagine that would have stretched to 45 minutes.

I will take the finished tool to the Kaims in the summer and see how it performs. I will report back in June.


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