Obsidian Weekend

by dave

On my quest to start trying to figure out how to make good chess sets from rock, I want to try to make a black set from obsidian. I know of a few places to get obsidian, so T and I went out Friday evening to see if we could find pieces large enough to carve chess pieces. When we left, it was cold and windy. We drove through rain, hail, and snow. We got off the highway, and the skies were clear. Springtime is wonderful.

I had never driven to the obsidian pits from I-15 before… I had always come across from the west. But I had my paper maps, and a printout of what Google Maps thought the directions would be, and my maps on my phone. Only the paper maps were accurate. I looked at all 3 at every turn, and it got me close enough that when I was a couple miles away I was able to recognize the hills and just drive us up to the pit. T slept through all the stopping and gazing at maps.

Once we got there, T was pleased to see that I wasn’t kidding. It really was a pit of obsidian. Multiple pits, actually. But very few pieces were big enough to carve. We did find a few. But not enough for a chess set. We grabbed enough to make the pawns, and then drove a few more dirt roads in the area, looking for new places. We got out and explored, and did find more sites with obsidian. But nothing exciting. Places that might be of interest to people who haven’t collected obsidian before, or newer rock-hounders… but not really anything that I’d take the time to go back to.

There were also storms still moving about. We could see them moving around the valley, getting blown mostly south of us, but we did not want to get caught in one, so we decided just to keep driving, and head south to visit family.

Saturday, we decided to try a different site for obsidian. Much nicer day. No storms, not much wind. We drove ┬áback up from the cousins’ house to our collecting area and tried a place I had not been before, which looked to be less picked over. At this site, the rocks were more scattered. It took some wandering and exploring, and the obsidian itself was less interesting. More plain black, very little with any coloration, and much of it didn’t even have much sheen to it. But despite those downsides, there were larger pieces. At first, we just found some fist-sized pieces, which we were happy with, because that was at least big enough to let us make the rest of the chess set. But then we found the piece that made the whole trip worth it…