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Thread: Finding Flint

  1. #1

    Default Finding Flint

    While many people can tell you how to start a fire, or knap tools/arrowheads from flint, not many seem to cover how to find flint. With my limited experience I am about to attempt to do so.

    First my Disclaimer. I am only familiar with the flint IN MY AREA. I'm sure Canid, or FVR can probably tell you what kind it is, Kentucky Horn Stone or something like that IF I recall correctly.

    This type of flint has a chalky cortex surrounding it. So at first Glance it just looks like a rock, nothing special really. Now In my area we do have rocks that are JUST the "Chalk" and do not contain any flint. There are two MAJOR things I look for when looking for flint. 1) Weight and 2)Sound The rocks that DO have flint inside are much heavier than those that do not have flint. The sound of a rock that does NOT have flint is a dull "Clunk" and those that do have it, have more of a "Clink" sound. To some small degree there is also a slight difference in shape. The surest way to find out if you have a flint type rock, is to break some off. Again, like the sound that which DOES have flint is sharp edged, that which does NOT have flint is dull. Simple Huh?

    I did a video today while looking in a plowed field for flint. Hope this helps.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK1xwglbZe4


    This is what I found......

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  2. #2

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    I just got done watching that before I came here, thanks, great explanation.

  3. #3
    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    Even the rocks that are not true flint have a distinct clink and weight as opposed to the many limestone "chalk" rocks in our area. Weight is a sure way to tell for me as a 5lb chalk rock is HUGE while a 5lb chunk of flint will be significantly smaller.
    Great post and a nice haul to boot!

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Sigh......no rocks here.

    Nice vid Poco.
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    Sigh......no rocks here.

    Nice vid Poco.
    Not quite true Crash, you have all that beautiful fossilized Coral. True, you do have to bake it (Or do you?) yet it still produces sparks when struck with a steel, and tools. For sheer beauty in rocks and the variety it offers, I think you have the best material.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Great addition to the skill set........ Gathering of raw materials.

    We have quite a bit of chert around here,.......Had a bunch of "road bond", softball sized rock to build a road base in the clay loam soil, hauled in at "The Place", so can pretty much just go out into the drive way and pick up a small piece.

    It can also be picked up along the road side where it sticks out of the bank.

    As far a fire starting "flint" there are a lot of rocks that might not be "flint" but will throw a spark, and in some cases be made into tools and points.
    If you are out and about, just carry a "fire steel" that is known to you, as having the ability of throwing a spark.....No, NOT a ferro rod.

    You will be suprised to see how many rocks will throw at least some what of a spark....you do need a sharp edge on what ever rock you try.

    Sugar quartz is found in a north central Wisconsin and has been carried all over the country, being some of the "good stuff".
    http://www.westernartifacts.com/flinttools2.htm.

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  7. #7

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    I totally agree H63. Which, as you mention, is one reason I PREFER my knives to be of a type steel that will throw a spark. It is something I am rarely without.... Unless I'm in the shower as that is about the only place that I don't have a knife.
    When I lived in S Ga. I got some quartz that would spark, not as good as flint, but it sparked nonetheless. Even "Flint" that is too "grainy" for knapping will still work for fire starting purposes. Even Crash's Fossilized Coral, works for sparks and knapping.

    Also want to ask Crash for a favor in the form of a post. Do you think you could put the particulars in here about Baking the Coral? I seem to recall you saying it had to be baked before it could be used. Thanks!
    Last edited by Pocomoonskyeyes3; 05-30-2011 at 02:02 PM.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pocomoonskyeyes3 View Post
    I totally agree H63. Which, as you mention, is one reason I PREFER my knives to be of a type steel that will throw a spark. It is something I am rarely without.... Unless I'm in the shower as that is about the only place that I don't have a knife.
    When I lived in S Ga. I got some quartz that would spark, not as good as flint, but it sparked nonetheless. Even "Flint" that is too "grainy" for knapping will still work for fire starting purposes. Even Crash's Fossilized Coral, works for sparks and knapping.

    Also want to ask Crash for a favor in the form of a post. Do you think you could put the particulars in here about Baking the Coral? I seem to recall you saying it had to be baked before it could be used. Thanks!
    Be happy to. Keep in mind that the coral you saw at both jamborees was baked. It's too soft to knap or throw sparks if it is not. At least that has been my experience. Also - finding it. You will not find any worthwhile material near the shore. The coral that you saw was found in the center of the state, at least 100 miles from the shore (not to be confused with 240 miles from the nearest road) and was estimated to be well over 100,000 years old.

    On to baking - 500 degrees for 12 hours was the formula for the stuff you saw and played with.
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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pocomoonskyeyes3 View Post
    I totally agree H63. Which, as you mention, is one reason I PREFER my knives to be of a type steel that will throw a spark. It is something I am rarely without.... Unless I'm in the shower as that is about the only place that I don't have a knife.
    When I lived in S Ga. I got some quartz that would spark, not as good as flint, but it sparked nonetheless. Even "Flint" that is too "grainy" for knapping will still work for fire starting purposes. Even Crash's Fossilized Coral, works for sparks and knapping.

    Also want to ask Crash for a favor in the form of a post. Do you think you could put the particulars in here about Baking the Coral? I seem to recall you saying it had to be baked before it could be used. Thanks!
    Be happy to. Keep in mind that the coral you saw at both jamborees was baked. It's too soft to knap or throw sparks if it is not. At least that has been my experience. Also - finding it. You will not find any worthwhile material near the shore. The coral that you saw was found in the center of the state, at least 100 miles from the shore (not to be confused with 240 miles from the nearest road) and was estimated to be well over 100,000 years old.

    On to baking - 500 degrees for 12 hours was the formula for the stuff you saw and played with.
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    naturalist primitive your_comforting_company's Avatar
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    I still have a nice chunk of uncooked coral. I've made arrowheads from both cooked and uncooked. I'll try to get a few pics of both and perhaps touch base with Craig to see exactly where he harvested it, but I think he said it was somewhere around the Apalachicola North of Oceola.

    Not to contradict Crash, but I believe the cooking of flint or coral is more controlled than that. I understand that you have to raise it to 200-210 for so many hours, then step up incrementally to 500 degrees. Since Craig cooks his, I'll ask about that too.

    So far I've only managed to make rocks explode in my flint-cooking efforts, lol.

  11. #11
    Not a Mod finallyME's Avatar
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    In the Texas Hill country, I could always find flint in the limestone stream beds. I haven't found any here in Utah yet. I need to figure out what the best rock for Utah is. I wonder if granite works. There is lots of that stuff.
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  12. #12

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    When I was selling chert,chalcedony,jasper,agate and coral the FL coral was cooked at 600-675 deg F this will get it to around 2.75 lithic. The trick with cooking coral is to let it cool VERY slow. Start by bringing up the temp 100 deg a hr. then heat soak at 600-675 for 24+ hrs.

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    So heavy, chunkier (less smooth) looking lime rocks in river beds (cos that's where rocks gather) are likely to contain flint, yes? i live in south australia..... as far as i'm aware EVERYTHING here is made of lime stone ....i mean we're called the limestone coast :P
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    FinallyME, Granite does not work. I tried it!

    Limestone rocks sometimes have no flint in them. Flint type rocks often have a limestone cortex around the outside, so it might be necessary to break some open to see if it has flint in it. Often you can tell by the weight of the rock in dry beds, but if the limestone is in water it will be heavier than normal (dry) rocks anyway. Hope that helps.

  15. #15
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    Cousin-IT : Yes, flint forms in limestone. That's not to say that all limestone will contain flint. Look for marly or chalk limestone. I have no idea why it forms there but the two are generally associated.

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    We are also using "flint" as a generic term.

    There are many types of close grained sedimentary forms that will produce sparks or fracture and take a desire shape. Even some precious and simiprecious stones will do so. Jasper and jade being two.

    I have also had some heavy limestone with quartz strains spark when struck and I have a chuk of a marble countertop I use as a surface plate in the workshop that will spark.
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    Would you be able to find flint (easilyish) in New South Wales?

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hntrofdmnds View Post
    Would you be able to find flint (easilyish) in New South Wales?
    Not if it doesn't exist. Try looking for chert.
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    Quote Originally Posted by crashdive123 View Post
    Not if it doesn't exist. Try looking for chert.
    Yes, but the blue mountains are a fair while away from where I am, and gravel beds are not as common as rocks in rivers.

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    Not sure why you selected the Blue Mountains or gravel beds out of his response. Try talking to a local geologist, rockhound (rock collector), books on NSW geology or the geology department of your local college or university.

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