The stone ages were a curious stage of human civilization, where humans were adapting to nature and trying to utilize the best from them. And that required tools and weapons, which they acquired from stones and bones retrieved from animals. Flintstones was one of the popular options for making weapons of the sort; in the Neolithic age in the European region of the globe. The stones were knapped into hammers, axes, spears, and knives, etc.

While it’s hard to obtain an authentic Neolithic flint knife for your collection, you can still put your hands on some of the flint knives knapped from flintstones in the market now. Flint knives are visually pleasing to look at because of it’s glass-like appearance. However, as a weapon, flint knives were as functional as they come. Making agile yet firm advances is the speciality of these knives, but it comes with a cost, as flint knapping takes expertise and hard work. And the rarity of the stones adds more exclusiveness to it. Therefore, flint knives won’t come much cheap for most cases. Follow this post to the end to know more about the exciting world of flintstone weapons.


Overview of Flint Knapped Knives

A flint knife is mostly made of flintstone and accompanied by a sturdy handle usually is made from wood or occasionally bone or ivory, which is more exclusive to ritualistic purposes. Flintstones are aesthetically catching; the textures and color palettes are attractive to both knife and antique collectors.

What makes flint stones sharp and gorgeous too? The secret lies in the formation of the rock; similar to chalk deposits and limestones, flintstone is also formed naturally through geological compression in the form of masses or nodules.

This sedimentary rock is preferred for its ability to be easily given into/ knapped into various shapes, be it arrowhead, spearhead, hammerhead, knife, and axe too. Also, it can manage a sharp edge, both straight and serrated. Due to the recrystallization of many minerals’ buildup, flintstones come with gorgeous layers, which is a treasured trait to many.


Flintknapping Process: Then & Now

To get blades out of these stones, the Neanderthals used this method called flintknapping. It denotes the procedure of shaping flintstones and similar materials into small shards and scrapes, which can later be shaped into blades. This is possible because of the characteristics of the flintstone cores that enable them to break into small flakes to be turned into useful blades later. Modern flintknapping is not very far from the traditional process.

Since the whole process is done by hand, it takes an unimaginable amount of time and hard work to forge one flint knife from the bottom up. This explains the high price too, as you cannot put a price tag on beauty and effort. This is very difficult to master and requires both experience and expertise to be able to execute a knapping job satisfactorily. The process includes systematically breaking flintstone with intention of shaping it into desired size and appearance.

Furthermore, the process itself requires special equipment and tools to give the shards a better and more controlled shape. Thanks to science, the tools have gotten better and much easier to maneuver. Whereas, our prehistoric ancestors used stones, antler tines, or bones to execute this task.

Flaking being the most important step of flint knapping, the knife smiths had found several ways to successfully perform flaking for shaping flintstones. To make different sizes and types of hammers, several flaking techniques were used.

Pressure Flaking: Pressure Flaking is sort of the most used flaking method to forge an edge of the stone. It’s also used to give a finishing touch to the flint knives’ blades. The pressure flaking method indicates shaping and smoothening up the stones. Instead of striking directly, pressure is applied to the edge by antler points, bones, etc., tools for better-controlled action. It requires holding the stone and the pointy tool in a position and forcing the pressure downwards from the core to create a sharp edge.

Percussion Flaking: Percussion flaking is the most preliminary stage of flaking; it involves striking the core of the raw mineral or stone to achieve a flake to shape it in a utilizable blade. A stone or hardwood is used as a hammer to deliver a powerful strike that resonates to the core and separates the flake from the unprocessed stone. Another option entails the use of a softer option, as in tines, bones, etc. Later the achieved flakes are sanded with stones.

Indirect Percussion Flaking: Indirect percussion flaking is an evolved method of the earlier mentioned technique. Unlike the percussion method, both hands are kept free while the stone’s core is attached securely to a device. Using both hands increases efficiency and precision in the flaking process. The rest of the methods are pretty much the same as the percussion flaking.


What to look for in Flint Knives

Size & Weight: Flint knives are knapped from cores of flintstones. The models available in the present market ranges from 7 to 15 inches in length. Tang of the knife may vary depending on the style of the knife smith. Some go for solid tang; some design the blade with various types of handles. Depending on the size of the knife, you’ll find these knives weighing between 1-3 lbs.

Blade Length & Material: The blade’s length varies significantly based on the production version and the customized version. While some come as long as 8-10 inches, a few is also available in a fairly smaller size of 3.25-inches. The edge of the flint knife is smoothened through sandstone or other hard stones. Serrated edges are also observed in a few custom-made flint knives.

Handle: Because of the blade being made from actual flakes of rock, it’s quite heavy than your average steel knife model. So, the handle has to be solid as well to balance out the construction nicely, and to make the weight of the knife more effective and to the users’ advantage.

In the archaic period, the different handle wasn’t always used, they’d just sand the bottom of the flake, and make it blunt and convenient enough to grip. Nowadays, the manufacturers opt for ivory, antler, bones, and wood too. Ensuring proper aesthetics and also optimum balance.


Flint Knives: Uses & Benefits

Flint knives can be extremely sharp, sharper than the regular steel blades we see in the market. These are more durable too, not to mention the sharp edge was long-lasting. This is why in the Neolithic period, flintstones were shaped into an arrowhead, spearhead, and other tools and weapons. As they were reusable for many years before they start to dull. Resources were limited at that time so a durable weapon choice was preferred; to the point that it’s still used by modern men.

Flint knives are a fine camping knife option; it offers admirable strength and agility, so along with cutting and shaping firewood, and chopping up food and meat, this knife can also be used as a weapon like the old times. The slasher edge is suitable to even take on bears. The blade is unaffected by the course of weather; no matter how hot, cold or wet the weather is, the flint knapped knives will deliver the same top-notch performance.

Another thing that high performance depends on is the knife’s workmanship. The edging and flaking have to be on point for the blade to be able to make precise cuts. Bladesmiths of both now and stone age have to spend a sizable amount of time to make the flint knife most efficient.



Q: What can a flint knife be used for?

A: Neanderthals initially used flint knives to size wood, chop meat, and fruits, even skin animals. Flint knives are also great as a close combat weapon.

Q: How do I clean my flint knives?

A: Douse the blade in vinegar or soapy solution for 24hrs, then take a stiff-bristled brush and scrub off the dirt and residues from the flint knife. And wipe the blade dry before storing for display or next usage. Repeat every time your flintstone knapped knife needs to be cleaned.

Q: Can flint knives be used to make a fire?

A: Flintstones are great to use for starting fires. When stroking it against metal, flintstones would inevitably produce heat and sparks. Because of iron coming in contact with nature’s oxygen which is unearthed by striking steel with flints.



Even to the Neanderthals, a flint knife was an interesting choice of weapon. Flintstone is a type of mineral found naturally as flint nodules in the southern part of England, most commonly in Norfolk. Neolithic folks utilized this stone to make pointy weapons unique to that age. Flint knives were more of close combat and regular chores type of knife. The ones that can be bought today also come decently sharp but make sure you aren’t buying them strictly for work, as these are more of a collectible than a utility blade.

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