Home How-To Interesting Stuff Member Art Galleries Events About Us

Brad 'Big Bad' Baugham's Biography


Puget Sound Knappers - Sharing the Kopwledge
By Brad Baughman

The first time I saw an arrowhead knapped was at Glass Buttes . This was the first time that the knap-in was held in the canyon instead of at Hair Camp. Needless to say, a long time ago.

 My son and I were camped at the old Stauffer ranch house during his spring break. We were driving around exploring the country and looking for Obsidian to cut for jewelry. When we found a large group camped in the canyon we decided to stop and check it out.

 The stop lasted for several hours. Little did I know how much of a difference  it would make in the rest of my life. We watched with great interest as several people made spear points and arrowheads. The two that I remember the most were a scruffy looking guy named Jim Riggs and a scrawny little kid named Emory Coons. Both of which have had a great influence in my knapping career.

 I left that knap-in knowing that I would have no problem going home and whipping out some perfect arrowheads..... many tries and as many failures later I figured out that it might not be as easy as it looked.

 So I went back the next year and watched some more... ahhh.. I have it figured out now! Year 3, I finally swallowed my pride and sat down with a piece of rock in my hand and asked very humbly “ Will you help me?” to the scrawny little kid (Emory). Many broken points later I finally made my first arrowhead. ( I still have it.) I thought it was a true work of art. I still bring it out to show people that I am teaching just how far they can progress with a lot of practice.

 Pressure flaking had me hooked! Percussion flaking? Not so much! About 10 years passed with the crowd at Glass Buttes pestering me to work on percussion flaking. I resisted with a vengeance.

 During that time I did become very adept at flake over grind pressure flaking. I had lots of help from some of the best.... Steve Allely, Stu Murdock, Mick Hill and Dale Duby to name a few.

 Then on an early summer day Emory Coons showed up at my doorstep in Glide with a big truck tool box full of big spalls. He said “ now you are going to learn how to percussion flake. My answer of “ I don't want to” fell on deaf ears. Many crushed platforms later, and several “I told you so's”, I was ready to quit... again. Then Emory said ( for the 10th time), you have to hit it! This time accompanied with a slap to the back of my head! Just to show him what would happen if I really did hit it hard, I really did!.... and off fell a perfect flake. “Do it again” he said.... and my percussion flaking career was started.

 At about that same time I heard that there was a man living a few blocks away that I had heard a lot about. So I went to his home and introduced myself to Jim Hopper... and another lifelong friendship was formed. A year later Jim and I decided to host the only knap-in on the west side of the Oregon Cascade mountains.

 We found the most perfect place to have the Knap-in, Illahee Flats, on the mountain above Dry Creek store and the North Umpqua river. Camping under the big firs at the top of a big meadow and watching the Elk, Deer, Wild Turkeys, Coyotes and all other wildlife, while sitting around a campfire with good friends was very relaxing to all.

 The biggest reward that I found from all of my time spent flintknapping is watching a newcomer succeed in making their first point and seeing them progress to the point that they are teaching others! I know that those that helped my along the way feel the same way.

 Joining the Puget Sound Knappers and participating in numerous activities has been very rewarding. I have put on demonstrations for Boy Scouts, Sutherlin Junior High School and the U S Army Corps of Engineers as well as teaching numerous people that show up at my shop and ask to learn. No one gets turned away... and I get a lot more out of it than they do!

 The people that are the backbone of the Puget Sound Knappers all share the same philosophy. To my way of thinking , pursuit of knowledge is not the point.  To have gained the knowledge and passed it on is the greatest goal.

 I thank all of the people that have so freely given of their time and knowledge to teach me and all of the others the art of flintknapping. The list is too long to write down here, but if you go to the PSK Website you will soon have a good idea of who those people are. From the webmaster, Jim Keffer, to all of the Knap-in Hosts and all of the PSK Elders.... we are working hard to spread the knowledge... and succeeding!