View Full Version : Support your Flint Knapper

30th Jan 2006, 15:32
In another thread, the ever-instructive Dr draper reminds us of the flint-knappers, and I speculate: Is there any other kind of knapper? The dictionary suggests not, and time seems overdue to plan a national -- No! make that international -- campaign to honour these worthy craftsmen, proud men in an ancient trade. How many centuries have passed since there was a strong demand for your flint arrow-head, spear-head, pelt-scraper, and for the luxury trade, your full dress flint sword? It must be twenty or thirty, and yet there they are, the only knappers in the dictionary. How do they manage it?
Many of us, granted, mourn the loss of shipbuilding on Tyne and Clyde, or Henry Ford's chill blast against the horse-shoe trade, but rarely do we spare a thought for the poor knappers, knapping steadily away at the flint, supplies ever more scarce, building up the stocks, generation by generation.
Knap, knap, knap, day by day, knap days to months, knap months to years, and so to millenia, father, grimly, patiently, against his unspoken inner doubts, gamely reassuring son: "Stick with the old trade, lad, our day will come. The flint will rise again."
Yes, there was a short boom with the musket. True, there was the boutique market for cigarette-lighters, but that is scarcely red meat for an honest knapper, and even there the prim anti-smokers push their officious prissy noses into the business, killing yet another outlet.
Search your own conscience. How often in even the past year have you sought out your local knapper, said to him, “What a lovely flint! Bill, gitta loada this!” or “The Missus is thinking of starting flint-ware parties, could you supply a gross of hide scrapers for the pre-chewing phase?” or “Chin up! Old man! Once The Bomb has been dropped trade will go through the roof!”
No, nothing but crazy talk of star wars, intelligent bombs, stealth bombers. How often? Even once, as the poor fellow sits there knapping, knapping, knapping, dreaming of an IPO? Think about it.

Onan the Clumsy
30th Jan 2006, 15:48
well he'd have to be knapping to be dreaming.

30th Jan 2006, 15:53
Davaar, thankyou, an interesting and useful read and therefore inappropriate in the original threrad to which you referred. I looked up :8 knapper in an e-Thesaurus and, although there was nothing else for knapper, it did point out that 'knap' is a synonym for the word 'hump'! Could one therefore deduce that a knapper is also a humper, or that you could have a knapped back whale for instance?;)


tony draper
30th Jan 2006, 15:54
Well Napper or indeed Knapper was slang for head in this neck of the woods in times past, as in
"oooyah!!! av banged me napper"
Not heard it for a while, one shall consult the Rev Brewer,
Buy her indoors a pre chew flint hide scrapper and your on a slippery slope,they be wanting the vote next.
Hmmm strange the good Rev Brewer has little to say on the subject, he only opines that Nap is derived from the middle Dutch knoepper,one suspect that the knap was actually the stone one knapped the flint with, ergo knapper,one who wields a knap,a very skilled trade one is informed
One once had a argument with a Archeologist(sp?)re Aurigan hand axes,one opined that if some cove was smart enough to carve out a shape like that from a solid block of stone he sure was smart enough to carve a handle for same out of wood and fix said hand axe to same ,thereby increasing the force one could deliver with same tenfold, but he would have none of it,very conservative is yer archeologist,besides they would have to alter all the books,and he was not about to do that on the word of a bloke fitting feckin cctv cameras in his museum.

30th Jan 2006, 15:57
Or even, to combine the pensees of Onan and Vitamin, give a new delicate usage: "We're off for a quick knapp".

30th Jan 2006, 16:04
I speculate: Is there any other kind of knapper?kid knapper? ;)

30th Jan 2006, 16:20
Buff Knapper apparently is one wot steals dogs...one wonders if a naked Buff Knapper would be a buff buff knapper?....and then again if he woz a certain shade of brown and naked he would be a buff buff buff knapper....:hmm:

30th Jan 2006, 16:26
Well you can always show solidarity wiv em by becoming one


30th Jan 2006, 23:56
They've abandoned the old trade in the Knappa Valley and become winemakers.

31st Jan 2006, 01:55
It's alright for them of you in Perth, UK and other civilised places to take the p*ss but out here we still rely on the erstwhile flint knapping trade. Without hide scrapers and hand axes we be fecked I tell you. Mind you the boys in the trade are a bit worried about the recent introduction of the pack horse service between here and Perth.

31st Jan 2006, 08:00
Hoyin a chunk of flint into a fire produces lots of useful bits as it expands and shatters (explosively). Stand WELL back.:uhoh:

31st Jan 2006, 08:16
I believe it was my post on TRABB which prompted the interest in knapping. (My dad keeps finding beuatifully knapped flint arrowheads in his garden).

The arrowheads are awesome to look at. You can see the care which the maker has put into them. The thought they were made so long ago gives them a sort of mystique that is difficult to describe. Dad has also found a couple of knives/scrapers. The one he's given me still does the business with cloth, although I've not attempted a shave with it.

I think our neolithic (??) friends used the scraper not also for hide but also to hack away at bedraggled beards. This would not give them a 'baby's bum' type of shave, but would stop them falling over their beards as they went about their daily chores (I think).

Farmer 1
31st Jan 2006, 08:26
knapp'er noun someone who breaks stones, especially flint-flakes for gun-flints.

knapp'ing-hammer (Scottish) a hammer for breaking stones.
[Dutch knappen to crack or crush]

The Chambers Dictionary. Copyright © 1994 by Chambers Harrap Publishers, Ltd. All rights reserved.

31st Jan 2006, 08:42
Neolithic babies suffered dreadfully from knappy rash.

tony draper
31st Jan 2006, 09:08
Read somewhere that a fresh flint flake was twenty times sharper than surgical steel,one assumes by surgical steel they mean scalpels and such,so one might get a better shave with flint flake that with some of these disposable razors..
Come to think with the price some razor blades cost now we might go back to shaving with flint.
Another interesting snippet,the scallywags have taken to hijacking waggons full of razor blades now because they are more valuable than ciggies or plonk.
PS,one has had a swift shufty on Ebay there are a few flint arrow heads listed ,they do not seem to make much,two advertized as neolithic up to 18 quid at the mo ,one shall watch em.
Hmmm prolly a bit to time consuming to knock up a few in ones shed,

31st Jan 2006, 09:29
18 quid fer an arrowhead? hmm, I have a neolithic axe-hammer, 7lbs in weight and looks like it was made by a machine.
Wonder what i'd get for that.
Loathe to part with it though because its wonderful to keep ones squaws in order, a quick twirl around the head accompanied by a threatening growl and domestic bliss is soon restored.

31st Jan 2006, 09:40
Hmm, wizard wheeze Herr Drapes. Dad's got bowlfulls of them.

However, despite the temptation of pecuniary advantage, one will firstly be checking with people to see if dad's find is actually archeoligically significant. If not, then e-bay seems to be an idea.

31st Jan 2006, 09:56
Prolly get a lot more fer em in Oz, Angels, they never reached the flint stage.:E

31st Jan 2006, 10:18
I heard that, Gainesy. :suspect:

tony draper
31st Jan 2006, 10:24
Flint was the equivulent of Plutonium in neolithic times,one can imagine a group of worried proto Englishmen gathered around Stonehenge,
"Well chaps those feckers across the channel say they are only developing flint to make beads with,one believes that about as far as one could throw a wooly rhinocerous,lets gerrem chaps"

31st Jan 2006, 10:25
But didn't deny it, Bluey;)

31st Jan 2006, 10:53
Would rather cart some flint to Stonehenge than a blue stone.

Napping an arrow head out of flint is an art - somewhat like being able to pour a Guiness properly.

Capn Notarious
31st Jan 2006, 11:13
Prolly get a lot more fer em in Oz, Angels, they never reached the flint stage

I heard that, Gainesy.

And she did it without Broad,Band-Aid may be required for the less skilful who cut themselves.

Farmer 1
31st Jan 2006, 13:05
Would rather cart some flint to Stonehenge than a blue stone.

Just pity the poor sod who has to knap a blue stone.

31st Jan 2006, 14:07
So WHAT did a knapper do with a knapsack?