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Phoenix Obsidian Designs
FREQUENTLY ASKED
QUESTIONS


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Below are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions both through e-mail and at shows.   All are answered by our primary flintknapper and the business owner  -  Dr. Susan "Arizona" Gleason.

 

Are these Arrowheads real?

What is Flintknapping?

Why do you make artifacts - Isn't it just easier to find them?

Do you really make all this stuff?

What do you mean by Traditionally Made?

Do you tan the hides or trap for the furs you sell?

Can you make me xxxxxx?

Do you buy or sell artifacts?

Are you really an Archaeologist?

Why does it take so long for me to get what I ordered?

Can you rush fill an order for me?

How can I place an order?

Do You Take Purchase Orders?

Do You Sell Items Wholesale?

Do You Warranty Your Items?

 

Are these Arrowheads Real?

Depends on what you mean by "Real".   This is the question almost every kid asks when looking at my stuff.   My usual answer is "YES ... put the arrowhead on an arrow and it will kill a deer".   This answer usually drives the kids crazy since what they are really asking is if these are old artifacts and not modern ones.   So to answer this question  -  all items sold through this site are made by me and thus are modern items but made in the traditional ancient methods.   They are "real" in every sense except being "old".

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What is Flintknapping?

The Art and Science of Making Stone Tools.   Specifically  -  the process of precisely applying one of several possible reduction techniques to a lithic material in order to produce a desired outcome.   The application of and choice of reduction technique is based upon an intimate knowledge of the materials breakage patterns (like Conchoidal Fracturing) acquired through training and/or experience.   The most recognized desired outcome of flintknapping is the production of stone arrowheads.
You might want to visit our Introduction to Flintknapping page

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Why do you make artifacts?
Isn't it just easier to find them?

I make artifact replicas so that everyone can get the feel of this ancient craft.   Instead of one-of-a-kind museum objects these are items that can be felt and experienced.   These are items that can be passed around a classrom and if they are broken or disappear for some reason they can be easily replaced  -  simply order another.   These replicas can also be used  -  for experimental purposes, education or for reenactments.   They are not used up and discarded examples, like most archaeological objects, but are fresh new and ready to be used tools.   To a large extent, using these modern examples for such purposes is showing respect to the older artifacts as well as keeping the ancient technologies alive today.

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Do you really make all this stuff?

Quite a bit of the stuff I handmake  -  the stone objects, as well as most of the leather working and feather work.   However I do have several other local artisans working with me to do the beadwork, dreamcatcher weaving, etc.   There are a few items I sell that are "Chindian"  -  i.e., made in China.   However, I indicate up front all such items.

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What do you mean by Traditionally Made?

I follow as closely as possible the ancient methods of making the stone tools that I sell.   There are no power tools used for cutting, shaping, drilling, or pounding.   I do however use copper and brass bits for my pressure flaking work instead of the harder to obtain antler.   This isn't quite untraditional since these materials were used where they were found in native form  -  i.e., Near East, MesoAmerica, Northwest and Northeast America.   I also use a metal rock pick instead of a stone chopper in shaping the groundstone unless otherwise requested.   Using the rock pick cuts production time in almost exactly half without noticably altering the appearance or surface consistency.

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Do you tan the hides or trap for the furs you sell?

I've tanned a few hides but from that experience I prefer to buy the hides I use.   Likewise I buy the furs and tails and other such natural items.   Some are farm raised (like the foxes) and others are legally and respectfully trapped.   My philosophy is that if the animal is going to be killed that every part of that animal should be used.   That is simply being respectful to the animal.

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Can you make me xxxxx?

There are many items I can replicate.   I'm always willing to take up a challenge.   Simply send me a picture, provide me with the appropriate raw stone, and I'll give it my best shot.   I can't promise that I'll be successful but I'll get as close as I personally can.   There are several specific flintknapping achievements I have yet to master and I'll let you honestly know if your desire is one of them.

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Do you buy or sell artifacts?

NO.   As a professional archaeologist, I do not condone or wish to participate in such activities.   I'll give you an appraisal of the worth of your item or collection - but simply for insurance purposes.   I do, however, encourage you to keep detailed notes concerning any such object you acquire.   That information is the true worth of an artifact  -  both for a collector and for an archaeologist.

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Are you really an Archaeologist?

Yep.   I've got that fancy degree - a Ph.D. in archaeology.   I've personally gotten dirty while participating in digs in California, Oregon, and Nevada.   Nowadays I do consulting work with a few tribal groups and private individuals.   Most of my current work is simply in the field of education and experimental archaeology.

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Why does it take so long for me to get what I ordered?

Most items are handmade after you order it.   So it takes the time to make it and then the shipping time on top of that.   Meanwhile, I'm the only one involved in filling orders and shipping items  -  so if I get sick or lose internet signal or have another problem ... your order may be delayed.   I do my best to ship out your order as soon as possible but I'm only human.   The calendar shows how busy I am at times and this can interfer with quickly filling your order as well.   If you order a mortar and I'm out of state at a conference, it will have to wait until I'm back in town.   The weather can be a factor as well  -  if it is pouring rain, snowing, or extremely cold that can delay in the making of items that I can only make outside ... like the groundstone or large percussion reduction items.

Please allow manufacturing time  (not including shipping time):
3-4 weeks for Stock Items  (i.e., "Artist's Choice")
4-8 weeks for Custom Items
      (NOTE:  Most simple orders will be shipped in less than 2 to 3 weeks if weather, health, and other factors permit)
1-2 weeks for Flintknapping Supplies and Online Store orders

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Can you rush fill an order for me?

Depends on the particular items you are interested in.   If you want twenty metates the answer would probably be no.   Likewise if if is a couple hundred arrowheads.   However, if it is a simple arrowhead necklace then the answer would be probably yes.   If the item is something I generally have in stock  -  like flintknapping supplies - the answer would also be yes.   If you ask - I'll be honest with you in terms of my ability to fill your order quickly.

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How Can I Place An Order?

I suggest you use the on-line PayPal Shopping Cart System to place and pay for your order.   This option will result in you receiving your order with the least delay.   Phone Ordering is now available through our physical Store location.   Call (530) 477-1957 during store hours  (11 AM to 7 PM, Pacific Time, subject to other commitments)  Monday through Saturday.   If you reach the answering machine, please leave a message and I'll return your call as soon as possible  (I might just be outside flintknapping or might be out of state at a show).   Please have your credit card information including billing zip code and card verification code ready when calling in.

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Do You Take Purchase Orders?

YES.   However, purchase Orders are only accepted from qualified sources like universities.   Please  CONTACT US  before sending your purchase order by mail or fax.

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Do You Sell Items Wholesale?

YES.   There are special wholesale prices on bulk purchases through our Wholesale pages.   Otherwise, you can call for special pricing with a minimum purchase of $300 or twelve of an item.   Discount pricing is graduated based upon total purchase amount.   Please  CONTACT US  for further information.

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Do You Warranty Your Items?

Most of our jewelry and tools come with a limited six month warranty.   To return an item for repair, package it as a return and send it prepaid and insured.   Describe the problem and allow 3-6 weeks after received for repair or replacement.

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Page last Updated -- 03/20/11