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Rock Recipes for Knapping


In the knapping community there are several ways to heat treat stone. The following is a brief description of three of these cooking methods: abo techniques, use of a kiln, and use of a conventional roaster oven. Following this brief outline is a listing of various materials, as well as their cook and hold times.

Abo Style



The Abo way is in a pit, burying the spalls, bifaces and flakes under sand or dirt, from several to about six inches deep. A campfire is built. The next day the coals are scraped away from the surface and  dried out soil is removed.  The spalls or bifaces are layered in and the soil is replaced. Then the coals are placed back over and more fuel is added so that the coals remain for up to twelve hours. After a day or two the stone is dug up and checked to see if it has been heat treated to satisfaction. Temperatures range depending on stone thickness. A  good place to start is that a 1" biface buried 1" gets about to 600 - 650 degrees. For each 1/2" deeper temperature drops 50 degrees. Thicker stone needs less heat, thinner stone needs more to reach the same 600 - 650 degree results. Don't discount the use of charcoal. It makes a great abo fire!

Kiln Cooking



Kiln cooking rock is the most predictable method, especially if you have a computerized control device as you have the most control. Ramp times vary depending on material. A general rule of thumb is to dry your rock out at 200 for 8 hours, then ramp-up in 50 increments (spalls and smaller stone) until you reach the desired temperature, then hold for the desired "soak" time. For larger stone reduce this ramp-up and down times as larger stone does not absorb the heat as quickly as smaller sizes. Additionally, there are several varieties of stone that should also be ramped-up a bit slower: Harper, TX tabs, Rootbeer, Knife River , and Mozarkite(20-30 per hour). Frisco, Perdinales amoebas and some of the darker rocks should only be approached at 5 per hour. And it appears that ramp-down times are just as crucial as ramp-up times. In most cases 30 per hour is a good measure. A full kiln will ramp down slower than a half empty kiln. Also, one should test their rock to see if it cooks better in whole or slabs. Frisco , Montana agate, and Perdinales amoebas can only be cooked as THIN spalls or as slabs up to about 5/16 inch, while Burlington , Flint Ridge, Mozarkite, Knife River, and Kay County can easily be cooked whole. Care should be taken to assure yourself that there are not any enhydros (water pockets) in your rock as disastrous results can be obtained. Some recommend ramping all rock up 5 degrees per hour and down 30 degrees per hour, except for Burlington , Flint Ridge, and Kay County .

Roaster Oven Cooking



The roaster oven is a good middle ground when it comes to cooking. It is less expensive than a computerized kiln (much!) yet gives more control than a fire pit in your back yard. obviously less expensive than a kiln, but also provides a bit of control. The negative is that some roasters don't reach higher temps. The inner liner should be removed to allow higher temperatures. Many use a sand or vermiculite "bath". This is done by place spalls or slabs upright standing upright, not touching one another. The heat on roasters varies as well, with hotter temps being generated in the corners and bottom
of the pan.

Rock Recipes



Kay County Flint ( Kay County , OK)

250 for 6 hrs then 50 per hr to 500 for 6 hours.


Mook Jasper ( Mook Station , Australia )

250 for 8 hrs then 50 per hr to 525 for 5 hours.

Kaolin (Union Co. Ill. )

250F for 2 hrs then 50F/Hr to 350F for higher grades, up to 600F for coarser grades. Hold at peak 6 hrs

Knife River Flint (ND)

I have had success with flakes and THIN spalls with 25F/Hr to 350F, when 350F is reached, bring down temp. 25F/Hr. Lower grades cook better than high grade.


Brazilian Agates

A maximum of 450F should do fine for the Moss agate. 50F per hour/holding at 450 for an hour or two. Don't overdue it! Try going to 400 as a test first.

Montana Agate

I tried cooking it first in the nodule. Many fine cracks occurred. I cook it in slabs at 500F. Works like obsidian and very glassy.

India Agate (bloodstone)

Treat right at 500.Some of the more transparent is better off at 450-480.

Flint Ridge Chalcedony

The best grades can be worked raw. The light blue varieties are a bit tougher and require 200 for 2 hours then bring up the temp 100 degrees an hour till it reaches 480 degrees. Hold for two hours, shut down and allow it to cool. Tougher varieties can be taken up to 500 for 36 to 48 hrs.

Flint River Flint

Heat at 250 degrees for 2-3 hours. Increase heat 50 degrees per hour until top temp of 375 -450. Soak at top temp for 8 hours. Turn the device off after the soak time and let cool.

Sunset Jasper ( Richardson Ranch, Oregon )

Heat-treat at 400-425 (it gets brittle at 450+). Don't go over 500. I have found that it's not necessary to soak it, just bring it up slow and shut the kiln down. The yellow stone will be orange to dark red, but this beauty is only skin deep. Some sunset has whites to purplish colors in it. There is a sub-specie of sunset that is yellow and appears to be coarser in grain, though it heat-treats fine. The main difference is that the color will penetrate all the way through. 400 = yellow, 425 = orange, 450-475 = dark red.


Other Materials

On the following materials, dry out at 200 for 8 hours, then ramp up 50 per hour
temp indicated. Hold for 8 hours. Ramp back down at 30-50 per hour.

  Burlington 600-650

  Mozarkite 550

  Kay County 500-600

 Ft. Hood 400-550

  Edward's Flat 400-550

  Coral 425-650

  Novaculite 775-900

  Tequovas 425

  Alibates 425-500

  Montana Agate 550

  Chalcedony 300-350

  Gray Boone 650

  Peoria 550-650

  Mexican Agate 500

  Jaspers 350

  Petrified Wood 300-480

  Georgetown 425-450

  Grimes Grave 400-475

  Bulls Eye 450-plus

  Coastal Plains 400-450

  Flint Ridge 500-600

  Sunset Jasper 450-475

  Castroville/Uvalde cobbles 425 whole, 500 slabs

  Perdinales 400-450

  Brazilian Agate 500-600








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