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Made an Atlatl today and two darts. (Read 1356 times)
Morphy
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Re: Made an Atlatl today and two darts.
Reply #15 - Nov 25th, 2016 at 1:15pm
 
Bill, do you happen to know if an overbuilt atlatl affects the velocity of the dart?
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Bill Skinner
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Re: Made an Atlatl today and two darts.
Reply #16 - Nov 26th, 2016 at 10:38am
 
I built a replica of an Ozark Bluff Shelter atlatl.  Mine is made of white oak and is as flexible as a pool cue.  It still throws great but I tend to over power my normal length,  really flexible darts.  It works better with shorter, stiffer darts or really long, really flexible, light darts.  And it took some getting used to, to be able to hit anything with it.

I think that there are examples of every type of atlatl from really rigid throwing boards to simple skinny branch or river cane that flex a lot that were used by people.  I think you will have to match the dart to the atlatl.

A general rule of thumb I have found is the more rigid the atlatl, the shorter and more rigid the dart needs to be and the closer you have to get to the target.

Throwing boards are for launching harpoons at close range from a kayak, long graceful White Dog Cave types are for long, light darts and targets a pretty good distance away.
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kicktheotter
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Re: Made an Atlatl today and two darts.
Reply #17 - Nov 26th, 2016 at 11:10am
 
My own atlatl is quite short and stocky compared to most of the examples I've seen. I think it needs a lot more work and a better nocking point (and I've actually worked on it some more since taking these photos but haven't had a chance to take new ones) but my main problem is a lack of darts...
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Parmenion
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Re: Made an Atlatl today and two darts.
Reply #18 - Nov 26th, 2016 at 3:59pm
 
i have some questions...
how do you spine the darts?
have you tried short darts (1m long)?
how do they behave?
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Bill Skinner
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Re: Made an Atlatl today and two darts.
Reply #19 - Nov 27th, 2016 at 12:36pm
 
Shortest darts I have tried were about 5 feet (1.5m or so) and about as thick as my thumb.  With a very stiff atlatl.  I found it throws downwards at close distances pretty good, not so good at level or upwards.  That may be just me, I really haven't fooled with really heavy darts that much.

KTO, have you looked at 12mm or 1/2 inch PVC pipe?  It's cheap, it's straight and it lasts forever.  Plug the base about 6mm in, or 1/4 of an inch in.  Fletching can be duct tape.  You can glue or jam a wooden point in it.  Start long and cut back as needed.  The smaller stuff will work too, but is harder to find.
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kicktheotter
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Re: Made an Atlatl today and two darts.
Reply #20 - Nov 27th, 2016 at 12:44pm
 
Well PVC is cheap but not as cheap as wood found out in the forest Smiley I didn't have much time when I was last at the Summer cottage (out in the middle of woods with trees in all directions) and I now won't be able to go back till next Summer but when I do I'm going to trim down some trees that were cleared this Summer and hopefully get a few darts made. I made one quick one which was just about functional but it was really too heavy, inflexible and short.
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Bill Skinner
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Re: Made an Atlatl today and two darts.
Reply #21 - Nov 28th, 2016 at 12:28pm
 
Well, look for a hardwood shoot your height or a little more for the finished dart.  Base should no larger than about two fingers wide.  And as straight as you can get it.  And as few limbs as you can find.

Never used juniper or spruce, so I can't say how that will work, but I have used maple and willow.  I usually use river cane, it grows wild here.

Strip the bark, use a small fire to straighten the shaft as much as possible.  The more you fiddle with it, the better it will be.  And lighter, as you will evaporate some of the water while heating and straightening.  Then rub down the shaft with an animal or vegetable oil to keep the shaft from checking or cracking.

Once you get it straight, shave down the thick end.  In theory, you want it the same diameter, in reality, the front will be thicker.  That's OK, a little weight forward won't hurt.  You will want the dart to balance towards the center but about 1/3 to 2/5ths from the point is OK.
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