I saw these spear throwers for darts or arrows in the movie Finding Our Own and one night I wanted to make one. so How to make an atlatl ?
Weapons gave the cavemen a very big advantage over other cavemen who only had sticks and clubs for weapons. These spear throwers (English Atlatl) – atlatl-like weapons were found in a cave in France and are said to be between 17,000 and 21,000 years old (paleolithic).
Darts or arrows could fly much farther and be more lethal. So I started drawing the spear thrower on paper. I had to estimate all dimensions by comparing the arms and weapons and organs of the cavemen who used them. Here’s what I did.
Follow next steps if you want to know how to make an atlatl.
Step 1: Draw some design
Use graph paper or just draw a spear thrower as I did during the break during the movie. You can try to check it by placing tracing paper on the TV screen. I have tried to be accurate with measurements in metric and inch systems so that it is convenient for all people. (1″ = 2.54 cm).
The wooden handle is about 21″ long (53.34 cm) The total length is about 30″ (76.2 cm).
Step 2: Choose a tree for the handle
I had a lot of white birches that I had already tried, so I used them. 3″ in diameter and 2 feet long is plenty. You can use a variety of woods – hickory, oak, birch, ash, maple, cherry, and more. (7.62 cm diameter x 60.96 cm length)
Step 3: Take a piece of deer antler
I had many. My brother gave me some. I also found antlers in a field where a buck dropped them at the end of the year or early spring.
Step 4: Wood Handle Shape
I carved a wooden handle on my trusty bandsaw. The best tool I have ever bought. I do a lot of projects on it – it’s worth it. The spear thrower handle measures approximately 21″ (53.34 cm) long.
Step 5: Cut and drill the horn
I cut the whitetail deer antlers to size and then drilled a hole in the end for a wooden handle. I also cut off the tip of the horn on the other end of the atlatl, which holds the end of an arrow or dart. See photos. (* If you don’t have any horns, tree branches can be used here).
Step 6: Clean and Polish the Wood
Step 7: Glue the Horn Pieces to the Wooden Handle
It is best to use cyanoacrylate glue – it sets and dries quickly, holds well, and is water resistant.
Step 8: Coat the Wood with Varnish or Oil
You can paint the wood, oil it, or leave it as is. Your choice. When the wood is still dry, add a piece of leather for the handle and laces for the wrist. Wrap real or fake tendons to give the spear thrower an authentic look. I have tried many primitive tools to do this. Just to get a feel for what it was like to do this 12,000 years ago. I cut off the arrow/javelin feathers with a small sharp stone. I also made a bone needle for sewing a leather handle! The handle is about 6″ (15.24cm).
Step 9: Make some darts or arrows
You can make this from natural tree shoots, reeds, cattails, or long dowels from the store. I chose the reed to preserve the most authentic look of the ancient weapon (the arrow or dart is about 52″ long (132.08 cm) including the tip).
Replacement tip 4″ long (10.16 cm), with a 3/4″ dowel inserted with the cut end (1.905 cm).
Step 10: Add a bracelet!
Adding a bracelet can be a good thing. Some people threw their atlatl out of their hands on the ground when they fired arrows or javelins with maximum energy! You could damage it, and generally, it’s embarrassing. The strap can be a simple piece of thin leather from lacing, about 1/4 inch (0.635 cm) thick. Or like I did 1/2″ x 18″ long (1.27cm x 45.72cm). The thick belt for me. See photo. Simply wrap and tuck around your wrist for a quick release.
Step 11: Grab your spear thrower and shoot!
Have fun, and be careful – these arrows fly far and are very accurate. Shoot in a safe place, no children! Make sure you shoot your targets.
Step 12: New Tip and Its Bamboo Holder
Finally, I found pine resin. The last big storm toppled some really big pine trees in the nearby hills and around the lakes. Out of all these trees, maybe twenty, only one was oozing sap. I took a little of it. Then the resin is heated, and powdered coal, beeswax, and some pine sawdust are added to it. The result is a black, epoxy-like resin. It hardens at room temperature. Ideal for mounting spearhead arrowheads. Here’s the one I just finished.in this article we learnd how to make an atlatl.
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