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How to use the Ladder Style Fluting Jig


The following tutorial comes from Jim Keffer and Jim Smith with help from Barry Bonnell.

This tutorial will cover the components of the Ladder Jig as well as the procedure for using the jig.  It will not cover the knapping of a bi-face suitable for fluting but you can find that information in Woody Blackwell's outstanding article on 'Making Fluted Points with the Sollberger Jig' in another tutorial in this 'How-To Section'.


The Components (see photo 1 & 2)

  1.  Ladder Jig
  2.  Fulcrum Pin
  3.  Copper Shims/Leather Pad
  4.  Lever

photo 1

photo 2

Close Up of Shims & Fulcrum Pin

The Procedures (following photos)

Positioning the Bi-face

The Bi-face should be positioned so that it is centered between the legs of the 'Ladder' and snug up against the face of the Ladder.

The jig has holes for the fulcrum pin spaced 3/4" on center to allow the bi-face height to be adjusted. The Bi-face should be positioned so that when the tip of the Lever is touching the nipple of the bi-face and top of the Lever is touching the underside of the Fulcrum Pin, the Lever is about 90 degrees or perpendicular to the bi-face.  The Lever can be held slightly lower but no lower than 15 degrees below perdendicular.

The knappers then raises up on the Lever with slow steady pressure until the flute detaches.

In the next photo you can see the flute taken from the bi-face shown above. This bi-face was not made witht he idea of fluting but was available and with about 5 minutes of nipple platform preparation Jim Smith was able to take a flute than ran 2/3rds of the length of the bi-face.

A second attempt on a larger bi-face that we made did even better. Below are the before and after photos of the 2nd bi-face Jim Smith fluted. We plan to do a video at some point and will create better bi-faces that will be more suitable for fluting. For now we just wanted to get some instruction for the Jig out. And again, the best tutorial for creating a bi-face or pre-form suitable for fluting is Woody Blackwell's; 'Making Fluted Points with the Sollberger Jig', available on this website on the How-To section.

Just think of what we could have done with a better bi-face!

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