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How to Make an Obsidian Arrowhead for Hunting

obsidian arrowhead

Shawn Woods is knapping an obsidian arrowhead for the upcoming archery season. Follow his instruction and you can make stone arrowheads too.

The archery season is approaching in Oregon and Shawn Woods is making arrows and getting his gear ready. Here he knaps an obsidian arrowhead, following the 7/8 inch minimum broadhead width required by Oregon.

He would prefer a smaller arrowhead, so check with your own state’s regulations if you plan on duplicating Woods efforts. You may be able to adjust the dimensions a bit.

Woods has killed deer with these arrowheads before. The last deer he took, the arrow went right through the deer, sheared a rib in half and maintained its sharpness in doing so. “Incredibly deadly and a proven design,” he declares.

His tools are a river stone hammerstone, two antler boppers (one small and one slightly larger) for removing flakes, and an antler tine pressure flaker.

First he removes a spall from a large obsidian rock with the hammerstone. It’s a good sized piece of beautiful stone. Then he gets to work on creating a biface with a centerline running the edge. He grinds the edge using the hammerstone, and bops flakes from the circumference of the piece.

The biface is wide and thin. “Start out wide with the arrowhead, because I want to get it nice and thin wide, and work my way in and put on the finished edge,” he says. “So the next step is to really grind the edges good. Set up platforms and try to drive the flakes over halfway through the piece to really get it nice and thin.”

He continues to work the obsidian, removing flakes and reducing the size of the biface.

Woods uses percussion with the bopper until he’s got it as close to an arrowhead as he can get with those tools. Now it’s time to switch to pressure flaking.

He pressure flakes the the entire piece, refining it, before putting the notches in as a final step, and says, “So here’s the finished point that we made, just using antler and hammerstone. This thing’s ready to be put on an arrow. It is razor sharp. Deadly. It will go right through a deer.”

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.


NEXT: Flintknap a Toilet: How to Make an Arrowhead from a Crapper

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How to Make an Obsidian Arrowhead for Hunting