Monday, March 16, 2009

Emory Coons; Big Blade Maker

Emory Coons; Big Blade Maker : By Ray Harwood

Emory trade mark eagle.

Emory, the young prodigy.
"I told that kid to leave my rocks alone, he would cut himself, he was 5 years old - DARN KID IS STILL BRAKING MY ROCKS!" - DAD

"As of late many knappers are creating ever larger
pieces of lithic art in the form of huge bifaces.
Emery Coons reportedly percussion bifaced a 50 inch
preform and managed a 40 inch finished neofact. I
wrote the Coon's family and requested information and
a photo by received no response.
At the California knap in this year, large the key
Many from other states, such as Coons in Oregon, are
also thinking large and obsidian suppliers are selling
more mega slabs than ever.
Named the Orcutt syndrome after an old time knapper
named Ted Orcutt, whom was known for his massive
biface work. More later..." Ray Harwood Aug. 30. 2000

Emory's work. 2

Emory's work. 3

Emory 4

Two of my first flintknapping buddies were Jim Winn and Barney DeSimone. During the old days they starting going up to Glass Buttes and they would tell me stories of the great biface knappers they had up there. One such knapper was really good at the giant blades and he was just a kid.

His name is Emory Coons and he is one of the few big blade makers in the world. His biggest to date is 41 inches finished (mud sedimentary) and he has a 47 inch (world record) pumpkin blade in the shop waiting to be finished. Emory keeps his blades thicker than Cole’s because he transports them to a lot of shows. He sometimes makes them thinner or even pressure flaked. He has been chipping large blades since the 1990's and most have been 20 to 36 inches. If you are interested in purchasing a large blade he is only limited to what pops out of the ground for color and length. Most large blades are out of silver sheen obsidian, pumpkin or red are harder to find and several out of dacite it's a steel grey color. But you never know what color the next large chunk will be.

Above photo is a 42 inch flake. The 18 lbs billet (The billet he got from Dan Stuber) is sitting above the pit, he used this to strike the rock and remove the monster spall.

One of my favorite stories is when Emory traded a 21 and a 31 inch blade for a Winchester riffle with Leopold scope. To make these giant blades Emory Coons digs a ditch and makes sure there are no rocks left in there that can cause vibration. The 30 lbs billet to the rock then as it gets smaller the 18 lbs billet then the 9 lbs, then, use a 1 inch solid or copper cap to build a lot of platforms to take massive flakes. The first stages involves alternate flaking, driving massive spalls off with a 9 pound copper Billet. For finer work he uses a 2 and a half inch copper bopper to reduce end shock. Barney DeSimone introduced Emory to copper billet technology when Emory was 16 years old and Steve Allely taught his copper platform preparation and use. Brian James was a big influence on horn platforms. Emory was introduced to flintknapping by his father, another great knapper, at the age of five years. Emory met Jim Winn a few years back and Jim began making large blades as well.

Emory makes three to four giant blades a year, this since he was 18 he is now 38. which is about 54 mega-blades to date. Emory is so good at spalling that people nearly kidnap him to reduce giant boulders. He is getting a 43 pound billet and the late Rick Woodram left him a 6 foot drag saw, so who knows what monsters may emerge.

Emory 10, blades

Emory 11. dacite blade

Emory 8. knapping

Emory 9. Face off

Emory 12. dacite blade

Emory 13. blade

Emory with Jim Winn 14

Emory 15

Emory 7 A News Paper

Emory 7 B News Paper

Emory 6, NewsPaper.

Emory 5, in News Paper.

Emory Coons was born in Burns Oregon in 1971 and started flintknapping at the age of five, 33 years ago. He has resided in Burns most of his life and attended Burns Union High School winning awards in the crafts department for jewlery two different years. He has been perfecting his skills as a artist ever since, flintknapping, silversmith, lapidary and teaching his craft to others. He has been on OPB on The Caveman at Glass Buttes and Channel 2 News Boise Idaho about the Nyssa rock and gem show multiple times. Several news paper articles have been written on his art from gem and mineral shows he has attended in Nyssa Oregon, Burns Oregon, Madras Oregon, The Dalles Oregon, Pendleton Oregon, Mission Oregon, Salem Oregon and the Oregonian in Portland Oregon and Golden Dale Washington. The Pendleton Mission papers had a mention for round-up as well as the blades he chipped were built into the Umatilla Veterans’ Memorial. He has taught classes in flintknapping at Indian Lake for the Umatilla tribe four years also the wild horse atl-atl demonstration as well as Pipestone Creek Alberta Canada and in Medicine Hat British Colombia Canada for the Jr. Forest Wardens, at Northern Lights out of Slocan Canada twice, also demonstrated flintknapping along the Oregon Wagon Train in 1993, Baker interruptive center, and Windows to the Past for the BLM and Forest Service. Then there's knapp-ins (arrowhead makers conventions) at Glass Buttes Oregon, Ed Thomas Golden Dale Washington knap-in, Richardson’s rock ranch knap-in and the Brad Boughman- Jim Hopper Knapp-in on the upper North Umqua some of the worlds best knappers come to these events to show there skills and teach. Emory attends gem and mineral shows like the Confederated show in Onterio, Nyssa Thunder Egg Days, Prineville Oregon, Hines Oregon Obsidian Days show his father started and the Madras, Oregon gem and mineral show. At these shows he can find most of the exotic materials from other countries, like fire opal from Australia, Brazilian agate, Condor agate from Central America, or crystals, Idaho star garnets and other gems to make arrowheads or jewlery out of. The Fire Obsidian is one of his favorites to find and work. His work can be seen at Boise University (display), Omsi (display), Great Basin Art in Prairie City, Oards 'War Hawk'(tomahawk heads assembled by Great Basin Art), The Edge Company magazine (War Hawks), or some of the local Burns stores. Most of his work has been sought after by private collectors and as gifts. His friend in The Dalles, Jason Hinkle, has and has put a web page up for Coons Lapidary with pictures and contact information for the selling of his art.

Progression of age pictures are numbers 1,13,10,8,4,9,14,15,11,12,oldest to now, the eagle was made 3 days ago, the first picture, at the top of the article, knapped inbetween snow storms.

11 is silver scheen obsidian, the one pictured with Jim Winn is dacite and
picture 15 is the mud sedamentry.

Emory Coon's axes and Danish Daggers(above).'War Hawk'(tomahawk heads assembled by Great Basin Art)


By Hank Ray

I once new a man named Emory Coons
He lived out in the woods just like- Daniel Boone.
He knew how to live out off the land
Just like Ted Orcutt and Ishi the Indian man.

Emory made giant blades out of obsidian and flint
He stayed out at Glass Buttes in a canvas tent.
He learned how to knap when he was very young
even Errett Callahan couldn't believe what he done.

I once new a man named Emory Coons
He lived out in the woods just like- Daniel Boone.
He knew how to live out off the land
Just like Ted Orcutt and Ishi the Indian man.

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