Gill net sinkers from Hilary Stewart Cedar/Indian Fishing books

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Tank

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Aug 10, 2009
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Continuing on from my net project I have been making some gill net sinkers.

IMG_2445-01.jpeg

Willow cordage, cedar roots binding and cedar withie (untwisted) dried into a hoop to suspend a stone weight.

-Books used for reference-
Cedar: Tree of Life to the Northwest Coast Indians
Indian Fishing: Early Methods on the Northwest
both books by - Hillary Stewart

PXL_20210817_184815167.MP-01.jpeg

This was my first attempt but I have made 3 for the net.

I love these books and always find myself drawn to them for inspiration, highly recommended to add to your bookshelf if you don't yet own them.

Tim
 

Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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The same theme from the other side weight. The whole set fron the National museum.
Excellent to see :)

We were just talking about using a pump drill to put a hole through a stone, on another thread.

I have 'pecked' a hole through stones, it's slow and tedious and a few bad miss strikes and you risk shattering the piece, but grinding through it using sand/grit and a wooden spindle is surprisingly effective and neat :)

Good to see those examples of ones in actual use.
 
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Tank

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Aug 10, 2009
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Excellent to see :)

We were just talking about using a pump drill to put a hole through a stone, on another thread.

I have 'pecked' a hole through stones, it's slow and tedious and a few bad miss strikes and you risk shattering the piece, but grinding through it using sand/grit and a wooden spindle is surprisingly effective and neat :)

Good to see those examples of ones in actual use.
Its on the todo list to make a pump drill. Hopefully a future post.
 
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TLM

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Nov 16, 2019
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I have 'pecked' a hole through stones, it's slow and tedious and a few bad miss strikes and you risk shattering the piece, but grinding through it using sand/grit and a wooden spindle is surprisingly effective and neat
Apparently some weights that look like stones are actually pottery but holed stones are known too.
 

Toddy

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I'm kind of surprised about the pottery. It doesn't take being rattled around the way that a stone does.....and it's oft times not as heavy.
I suppose like the glass floats though, it's what's available and when, and is it easier than making.
 

TLM

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 16, 2019
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Soft stone is quite rare here so I can se why pottery was used in the disc shaped ones. Stone weights are often covered in birch bark and then tied from the bark, several examples shown. There is English available in the page but many objects do not have a description available.
 
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Toddy

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So long as your grit is at least as hard as the stone you're trying to put the hole through, the process works.
Basically it just grinds it away, but focused on one spot.

I've put a hole through granite :) Wasn't easy, wasn't quick, but it worked :) It took one of my colleagues, Margaret, three hours to peck a hole through it though. We were 'experimenting' (playing :) )

I admit I wondered at the bark coverings. Bark floats, after all cork is just a chunk of inner bark, and you'd think that would be counter productive.

When it was too slow making the stone weights for the loom, I just bagged up wee stones and tied those bags onto my warps. Eventually I bought bags of bools....kids glass marbles.....and used them. I still have a bucket load of marbles.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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We haven't got much soft stone here in the Pacific Northwest. The glaciation of that last Ice Age, ground everything to dust. You see rocks and pebbles in our mountain rivers = that's the hardest rock there is in the whole region. Find the right sizes and shapes, you will have the most wonderful set of sharpening stones for crooked knives.

Every once in a while, I've found softer stones, must have broken off a cliff face or slurried out of a moraine rock slide. Still, drilling holes is a lost cause. I suspect that pecking an equatorial groove to wrap with cord would be far easier.

Any title at all authored by Hilary Stewart is worth a read. Let's face it: with pen and ink, she's an extraordinary illustrator.
 

Toddy

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Honestly drilling holes in stone is pretty easy.
What you do is either make a tethered bow drill, or a pump drill, and you put something around where you want to burr out the hole. Clay works fine for this. So does a ring of bone. You put grit into the 'cup' you have around where you want the hole to be, and you just start bowing. The softer wooden spindle ends up with grit embedded in it's tip, and it's that grit that grinds away at the stone beneath it.

Pecking with a harder stone in one place on the other works, but it's tedious, the noise gets to you, the constant thumping ends up leaving you with swollen hands, and wrists and elbows feeling achy, and the hole is sort of tapered ...one way we can tell the methodology used....but it works.

An equatorial groove is much longer than you might suspect :) Like measuring around someone. Again it works though.
 

TLM

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Honestly drilling holes in stone is pretty easy.
Got it, now lets say you start to make about 15mm hole; how deep a depression do you get in about one hour? This just to get an idea how long it takes to make a hole let's say 4cm deep/long.
 

Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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A thousand years ago, if our FN people had a 4.5" angle grinder and SiC blades, the stone tooling would have been quicker to build.

We have quite a few outcroppings of really tough sedimentary stone. I cheat and us a t/c drill bit for the holes. Then I countersink/peck a divot on the underside and use the stone as a base for carvings. Sometimes some interesting fossils.

I'll wait another month for the snow pack up top to really tighten up. That will drop river levels and I can go hunting for good stones. I want to try to make a couple of traditional stone mallets. The have flat faces looking almost like double ended mushrooms.
 
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