Nov 02 2007

Opening a Leg Bone

Published by at 2:00 pm under Foods

The leg bone (cannon bone) is an excellent resource, with it you can make large and straigth bone tools. You can make the blanks in several ways, some will be more time consuming than the other. There are occations where you would want the entire bone to retain most of it’s structure, but in this case, we are going for long and straight pieces for arrowheads, spearheads, knives etc…

Put either end of the bone into a fire, I suspended it from the pothanger on this occation. You want it to char quite a bit in that end, but not have the flames travel further up the bone. Heat makes bone brittle. Which is why we are doing this. After you have done one end, do the other.


Heat gently over the middle also, just to tighten up the membranes resting on the bone.


Pad a stone with buckskin and strike the rounded end of the bone off with a hammerstone.


Take a wedge shaped stone anvil and rest the bone at the depression where the large tendons have been removed. Tap it gently with on top with the hammerstone, from one end to another, moving the wedge so it sits directly underneath the blow of the hammerstone. When you think you have weakened it sufficiently, do a heavy blow to the bone close to where the rounded end was. This will more than likely make the bone crack all the way from one end to another, probably also breaking to the side on a few places. Still, you can expect at least one large side from each bone. The rest will be long strips of bone, suitable for all sorts of purposes.


If you want to have slightly more reliable results, groove the bone on both sides first.


The marrow will be mostly raw, but slightly cooked close to the ends. Eat it all as long as the bone is fresh. Yummy!


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3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Opening a Leg Bone”

  1. Marcon 02 Nov 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Hi Torjus,

    nice article; I assume these fragments and strips make excellent arrowpoints, spearheads and cutting tools.
    From the hardness of teh material would you prefer bone over antler? And do you recommend bones from one animal over soem from others? For example it is common knowledge I assume that lambsbones are way stronger then chickenbones. How about moose and elk and so on?

    Thanks for – again – several informatve and helpfull articles!


  2. adminon 02 Nov 2007 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Marc

    The reason why chicken bones are so weak is because they are fed really bad food. In wild animals, bones are way stronger. Some are harder than others though, Beaver is very hard and so is hare. Ungulates like moose are also quite hard, but more flexible. When it comes to preference I feel they all have different use, antlers are softer, but withstand more blows and bending.

    Hard is good because it makes for a sharper, stronger edge.


  3. […] eating a hunter/gatherer diet, making his own tools, etc. I particularly liked his tutorial on how to crack an animal’s a leg bone so you can make tools out of […]

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