How to Grind Obsidian to Make Arrowheads

Written by kenrick callwood Google
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How to Grind Obsidian to Make Arrowheads
Obsidian weapons were highly prized possessions in the ancient world. (In a museum image by pioregur from

Obsidian is a volcanic rock that cooled quickly after a magma flow, trapping impurities such as iron inside. Obsidian was a highly priced material for ancient arrowheads because it is relatively easy to shape and creates razor sharp edges. The typical method of making an arrowhead from obsidian is called percussion flaking. This process made use of a bone or antler tool in ancient times, but a copper flaker tool may be used for modern applications.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Large obsidian shard
  • Bone, antler or copper flaking tool
  • Thick leather pad
  • Sharpening stone
  • Safety goggles

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  1. 1

    Put on the safety goggles to avoid injury from flying shards.

  2. 2

    Grip the obsidian in one hand using the leather pad.

  3. 3

    Hold the point of the chosen flaking tool (bone, antler, or copper) against one of the sides of the obsidian shard.

  4. 4

    Apply pressure to the shard with the flaking tool until part of the obsidian flakes off. Pay attention to how much pressure was needed and the direction of the flaking pattern.

  5. 5

    Use the same technique to flake off pieces from all around the shard, simultaneously shaping the obsidian into an arrowhead and creating sharp edges.

  6. 6

    Gently grind the obsidian against a sharpening stone or similar rock to further sharpen the edges.

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