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My species is primitive and they use Stone Age level technology. They wear clothes made out of harvested bark. I know the process of harvesting bark but I don't know if stone scrapers would be good enough to harvest the bark. I don't want them to be too small, flimsy, thin, and or blunt where it would break easily from the outer layer of the bark. I assume the stone scrapers have to be big, strong, sturdy, thick, and sharp like a knife. It needs to be able to make a cut through the outer layer of of the bark successfully.

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    $\begingroup$ The type of tree available is very important Birch bark used for water containers, soup pots, canoes and probably could be used for clothing if processed can be harvested both from live trees (without killing the tree if careful) and dead trees with stone flakes used as knives. The type of stone will determine how many cuts can be made before knapping a new edge or new flake. Availability of the stone type, probably determines what is used, obsidian is easy to knap. But flint or cherts or other fine grained stones are good too. $\endgroup$
    – UVphoton
    Jun 24 at 13:31
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    $\begingroup$ Ah I see. The materials vary. Birch seems like a good candidate. I know prehistoric people used flint and other stuff. I never heard of chert till you mentioned it. I think it it can certainly be useful. $\endgroup$
    – sydw1
    Jun 24 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ Stone can easily have a sharper edge then steel. But stone edges wear faster then steel. $\endgroup$ Jun 24 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ @GaultDrakkor That's a cool fact but it makes sense at stone wears out faster. It's not as durable as steel. $\endgroup$
    – sydw1
    Jun 25 at 0:21
  • $\begingroup$ if they can make stone scrapers they can make stone axes or choppers, the two combined can harvest any bark. remember Neanderthals harvested bark with stone toolshttps://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08106-7. the important thing about stone tools is you can still shape them to fit the job, they will make the tool as thin as they want it to be, $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jun 25 at 1:38

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Look up bark cloth. Polynesians, Melanesians and Micronesians have been harvesting and processing bark for garments for millenia and were stone age until just recently. You strip the bark off a paper mulberry tree or other plant with a stone adze and then process it with wooden or stone tools.

When it's done properly it's a great alternative to cloth and still widely used for wedding dresses and high end garments and wall hangings in the locales where it is traditional.

Melanesian barkcloth, picture from Wikipedia

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  • $\begingroup$ Ooo that sounds super interesting! I think that would definitely be useful for them! Bark cloth could be used for various things. $\endgroup$
    – sydw1
    Jun 24 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ There are endless uses for it, but it's labour intensive to make so highly prized. $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Jun 24 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ So true lol! XD $\endgroup$
    – sydw1
    Jun 24 at 20:15
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, they do. I mean, mostly for cultural events, but they've been re-establishing the old arts as a heritage thing. That said, I can't seem to find a video of it online. So ... your best bet is to visit Alaska as a tourist. $\endgroup$
    – FuzzyChef
    Jun 27 at 2:37
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    $\begingroup$ @FuzzyChef I did look up the haida garments, they were pretty cool, although woven from bark fibres just as you would any fibres rather than our method of making bark cloth which is a very different process. $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Jun 27 at 2:52
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Sure, if you're using flint. Your mileage may vary depending on what stone you picked and what the bark was like. You might, for instance, have no trouble harvesting bark from a cork tree, but you'd have more trouble if you're peeling it off of a silver maple.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yep! I think it just depends on the material. I believe they do use flint which is a good thing. I think they'll use trees with thin bark to harvest from. $\endgroup$
    – sydw1
    Jun 24 at 4:19
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If properly manufactured with the right type of stone, sure, they can.

It also depends on the type of tree from which they are taking the bark: some yield more easily than others.

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  • $\begingroup$ That is true. I'm planning to do a bit more research on different types of trees and flint. $\endgroup$
    – sydw1
    Jun 24 at 4:20
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It depends what kind of bark your species is using for their clothes. Is it a birch-like bark or a thick bark like maple, used for example as armor?

Birch bark could be easily harvested using a thin stone knife, if it's sharp enough to cut through the first layer.

A thicker bark would require a heavier tool, like a stronger stone scraper, to be able to "break" and harvest pieces of the bark.

Also, even in a Stone Age setting, sharp materials like obsidian, which is a natural glass, could be used. But I actually don't really know if it's sharper than a well-chipped stone. And obsidian would break more easily than stone.

In summary I would say it's possible, yes. Best answer is to try it yourself!

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    $\begingroup$ That makes sense! A heavier stone scraper would be a solution to get thicker bark while a lighter scraper would be used to get thinner bark. I don't much about Obsidian but I don't think I trust it too much. He has, I did always wanted to try it for myself! In planning to do that once I have the materials and I'll truly figure it out! $\endgroup$
    – sydw1
    Jun 24 at 4:27
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Stone is fine

Neanderthals harvested birch bark with stone tools, [https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-08106-7][1 and Neanderthals had simpler stone tools than humans. the sharpness of stone tools can actually make some jobs easier. Harvesting bark can use several stone tools including knives, scrapers, and possibly even saws. stone tools come in a huge variety, like any tool people make them for the job, if they are too thin they make them thicker next time.

one that may be particularly useful is a rounded scraper fitted to a handle, seen at the bottom. which should be able to harvest strips of bark very quickly. but this depends a lot on the bark, cedar bark (which is used ot make clothing) is harvested with little in the way of tools, tools are used to start the strip but most of the strip is harvested with just bare hands, you pull the bark like peeling a banana. enter image description here

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Fascinating! I don't want to underestimate stone age tools. I think with stone age tools+hard work it shouldn't be impossible to do. I know the bark will vary but I think it should be feasible with stone tools. $\endgroup$
    – sydw1
    Jun 25 at 16:28

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