Teach Outside
Resources and inspiration for current and aspiring outdoor educators and those interested in a natural learning environment.
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Bone Awl

 
 

bone awl

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  Using a finished awl to split inner plant fibers away for making cordage.

materials

Deer Cannon Bone, Cut in Half Lengthwise and Crosswise

Electric Sander (optional)

Horsetails (Equisetum sp.), Dried

Knife

Toothbrush

methods

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Use a knife to remove some dried soft tissue.

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Fine cleaning with water and a toothbrush.

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Using an electric sander helps get sharpening quickly under way.

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Scrape on a rock to sharpen the bone into a point.

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Rub the dried horsetails onto the awl as the last part of the process. The silica in the fibers acts like sandpaper as the horsetail falls apart.

NOTE: HORSETAIL SILICA CAN BE IRRITATING TO THE LUNGS. USE OUTDOORS, TAKING CARE NOT TO INHALE.

We used our awls to aid in pushing fibers through dried tules for making a doll-size sleeping mat.

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Resources

This was taught to me by Dino Labiste, a Naturalist with the East Bay Regional Parks District in a class entitled, "Ohlone Tools and Games for Your Classroom." While it appears this class is no longer being taught, a resource page can be found on the East Bay Regional Parks website.


Lesson plan adapted by Heather Taylor, teachoutside@gmail.com. You are welcome to share all materials with credit to her.