Making the Mortar and Pestle

1016 Words3 Pages

Making the Mortar and Pestle
For thousands of years, humans have been creating, designing, and using tools. In the beginning, these tools were simplistic but effective, and made with natural materials such as wood, bone, and stone. From these materials, many different tools, such as hammers, axes, cooking utensils, and many more. For my tool assignment, I decided to make a simple mortar and pestle out of stone. The reason for picking a mortar and pestle is because it is a kitchen apparatus that I have always admired, using my mother's whenever given the chance throughout my childhood.
To begin the tool, I knew I needed to find suitable rocks for both the bowl and pestle. Finding the perfect rock for the bowl proved harder than expected. Searching the Koksilah River, and along the sides of logging roads in the Shawnigan area, I found many naturally smooth river rocks over the course of several weeks. However, many of these rocks were extremely hard and would not chip or even break when thrown at the ground. I decided that some of these rocks would be better suited as hammer or chopper stones, rather than the bowl itself. I needed to find a softer rock, but not too soft that while grinding it would just chip and defeat the purpose.
Now that I had a large collection of very solid rocks and possible hammer stones, I continued to hunt for and test different rocks for the bowl. After explaining these troubles of finding a soft enough rock to a friend, he offered to let me look through a pile of sandstone on his property. Since sandstone is a softer rock, I would be able to chip it into a functional, but still sturdy, bowl. I found a large but suitable in width slab, and threw one of the hard river rocks at it until I broke off a rea...

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...s from all the shock absorption. In addition, all the flakes that came off during the process were surprisingly sharp, and left small scratches and cuts all over my arms. There were also multiple squished fingers from not paying attention or having the hammer stone slip.
However, and despite all the troubles of making my mortar and pestle, the end result was worth it. When I first started making the bowl, I figured I would never have the patience to finish it, but it is amazing what you can create if you just put in some muscle and time. Through the process of creating my tool, I have firsthand knowledge of how difficult, demanding, and time consuming tool-making can be, and my tool was not even complex. Thus, I have gained even more respect and admiration for our ancestors who created all sorts of simple and intricate stone, bone, and other natural material tools.

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