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antagonizer

Soapstone

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Here's a thought. I do some soapstone carving.  Usually just little things like Chinese Chops (little stamps if you don't know what they are).  Now I usually have a few good pieces of soapstone laying around, roughly 1-2" square x 4" long.  My question is if there are any good survival uses for soapstone?  It's not that strong, at least not for a narrow blade, or  a hook, but are there any practical applications? Any native applications?  I've seen bowls but I only ever keep small portable sized pieces.

 

Any Ideas?

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Guest adrenjunky

The native applications I have seen are bowls, pipes, and carvings. Soapstone is too soft and fragile to really use for alot of things.

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I was thinking more in the lines of a spear point, which would be nice and wide.  I did come across some stoneage soapstone axeheads, though I doubt they would keep an edge.

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Guest adrenjunky

Soapstone is so soft though I doubt it would be able to hold up. You could make some nice art pieces from it. I would think that using a soapstone point on an arrowhead that it would crumble when it entered the game. You could make a blunt point for small game. Making my last pipe I busted two blanks just working with them in my hand. Traditionally my tribe used soapstone alot in worship pieces; bone, and hard rock for weapons.

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Soapstone is so soft though I doubt it would be able to hold up. You could make some nice art pieces from it. I would think that using a soapstone point on an arrowhead that it would crumble when it entered the game. You could make a blunt point for small game. Making my last pipe I busted two blanks just working with them in my hand. Traditionally my tribe used soapstone alot in worship pieces; bone, and hard rock for weapons.

 

I can see where you're going with this, but I don't use straight talc.  I prefer to use steatite with a 10% fluorite and 2% Ferric Oxide from India.  Makes it a bit harder to carve, but my stamps hold up better without retracing my etched lines. Initially I bought it for it's color, but it's durability is a big plus.  I've done 26 of them so far without so much as a crack.

 

I've started to carve one so we'll see how it turns out. I'll try testing it by stabbing some rotten tomatoes from the garden. LOL!

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Let's say I wanted to carve something in soapstone.  What would I need?  If I can't get soapstone what would be a good substitute? 

 

The simple and easy way is with a dremmel with woodworking bits.

These guys;

http://www.pierfishing.com/resources/images/shimano_charter_special_rebuild/hispctr1.jpg

 

But pretty much anything you can use on wood you can use on soapstone. 

 

Substitute; bone, antler, wood, parafin wax, polymer clay etc

 

Here's a pic of some of the soapstone I use, and a couple I did for my wife and myself.  The 'chop' is just a stylized version of our signatures done in mirror image.  The red you see in the signature is just the ink we use with the stamps.

 

DSCF5338.jpg

 

DSCF5339.jpg

 

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Your a man of many talents agonizer  :P  Nice work  I love working with rocks.  :thumbup:

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That's beautiful work, antagonizer!  Reminds me in a way of Chinese jade pieces except for the stone's color. 

 

It's exactly the same. When I was 18, I was a superintendant in a little building right beside chinatown in Ottawa, Ontario.  I spent alot of time in the craft shops there, watching them.  Mostly the caligraphy, but I loved watching the carvers too.  Alot of traditional carvers use what looks like a large pin to score the soapstone.  Likewise I use a dental pick to do alot of the fine work.

 

Swede, it's not so much talent as ADD.  My wife calls it an addiction, and I guess many of the other artists on the forum would agree.  Whenever I see something there's always that epiphony where I say to myself, "I can do that", then the next day I'm out buying supplies.

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I guess thats it exactly Ant. When I run into something I dont know what it is like a tree or flower or rock I just have to find out what it is.

 

Thats what drove me to become a flint knapper. I said to myself if he can do that than I can do that.

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Guest adrenjunky

Let's say I wanted to carve something in soapstone.  What would I need?  If I can't get soapstone what would be a good substitute? 

There is alot of it in upstate. It is also called pipestone. Shouldn't be too hard to find for you. Most of what I use is files and sandpaper, although I am not making the art that ant. is making. Just basics bowls and pipes.

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Swede, that's why I'm going to impose heavily on you for your ability to knap flint. I can make a basic point, but I'm not winning any points for style.

 

There is alot of it in upstate. It is also called pipestone. Shouldn't be too hard to find for you. Most of what I use is files and sandpaper, although I am not making the art that ant. is making. Just basics bowls and pipes.

 

Don't understate it my friend. I've seen alot of reserve art, and it's bloody brilliant.  Some of the soapstone work I've seen I couldn't dream of duplicating.  Out in the bush I've rather have your skill than mine.

 

You wouldn't be Akwesasne would you?  If so I'm right across the border from you in Cornwall, but my family is from Kahnawake.  Well half is anyway.

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It took me two years of trial and error to make a descent point. Practice Practice Practice. When I finish a good arrow point Im usually soaked in sweat. It takes that much concentration and focus. One wrong move and you've lost everything. Its easy to reduce a good piece of material to chips and dust and end up with nothing.

 

You work with each piece as it was formed by nature and plan each blow or pressure flake. You have to make a bench and abraid it.

 

I know that last statement didnt make sense. Ill get out my tools and post a demo.

 

I laughed when Les broke that piece of glass when he was trying to make a fish hook. No way was he going to succede making a fish hook with the tools he was using. Ill try to show a way without using modern tools. I hope.  :blush:

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Guest adrenjunky

Don't understate it my friend. I've seen alot of reserve art, and it's bloody brilliant.  Some of the soapstone work I've seen I couldn't dream of duplicating.   Out in the bush I've rather have your skill than mine.

 

You wouldn't be Akwesasne would you?  If so I'm right across the border from you in Cornwall, but my family is from Kahnawake.  Well half is anyway.

Alot of it is, just not mine.

 

No I am from the Seneca Nation. Never lived on a res., I live in Michigan.

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I finished making my spear point. Here were the rules I followed;

 

1 - No power tools

2 - No modern tools i.e files, saws, etc

3 - can use a knife

4 - can use stone, wood, etc. anything natural.

5 - Use only 'purest' of soapstone available.  I can't use 'hardened' soapstone with iron oxide or fluorite, as per adrenjunky's idea.

6 - Must be able to survive multiple strikes on target.  Has to be able to be used more than once.

7 - can't re-enforce with any other material.  I have to use soapstone only. I can't build it up with steel or any other hard material.

 

So with the rules I put together, here's what I came up with so far.  It's not up to my usual standards, but it's just a test, and I'm expecting to snap it in two anyway, so I don't want to put alot of work into it.  It's dimensions are 3"x3/4"x1/2.  The barbs are small since they snap easy which may limit it's usability. I'll mount it on a stick and do some tests when I get the chance.

 

DSCF5571.jpg

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For fun, I thought I'd show off a soapstone pipe I made. I'm waiting on a shippment of ebony to finishi it off with a mouth piece.  This piece is based on the Mohawk spirit, 'the whistler'.

 

DSCF583599.jpg

 

 

Also, to show off some knapping skills in an effort to impress Swede, here's an arrow head I just finished.  I was pretty pleased for a first attempt, but I swear, it's pretty stressfull, worrying about making one wrong hit.

 

DSCF5824kj88.jpg

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Those are absolutely beautiful pieces, antagonizer.  What a skilled craftsman you are!  Swede will be so proud of you! :thumbsup:

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